Can You Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

Can You Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

Last update: 10 February, 2018

Studies show we can actually lose weight while breastfeeding due to the production of breast milk.

As such, there’s no reason for nursing to prevent us from losing the weight we gained naturally during pregnancy.

Some women easily lose weight while breastfeeding. There may be additional factors at play to cause them to drop the pounds so quickly, such as certain habits or natural characteristics.

However, there are things we can do to speed up the process. Even if we struggle a bit more to lose weight, by  correctly planning our routines, we can reach our weight loss goals.

In this article, we’ll show you that weight loss while breastfeeding is possible and how to achieve it.

Can You Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

How can mothers lose weight while breastfeeding?

Losing weight while breastfeeding is possible, but the rate of weight loss depends on each mother.

Some women opt to use weight loss pills, but this is not the method recommended by specialists. These substances pass chemically to the baby through the mother.

A breastfeeding diet, in general, is the most helpful tool for mothers to attain their goal.

Although there are not many off-limits foods in this process, sometimes certain foods can cause problems to the baby and the mother. Strict diets are not recommended.

On the other hand, it’s a fact that while breastfeeding, mothers are always hungrier. They are particularly attracted to high-calorie foods, which can consequentially produce undesired weight gain.

Thus, if we don’t establish a weight loss goal in a timely manner, the nutritional needs of breastfeeding can work against us.

Exercise is always a very helpful tool to lose weight. After giving birth, exercise is recommended in moderation.

In order to do physical activity, it is important to have energy. However, we may have lost this energy from breastfeeding.

The winning strategy involves a balance of exercise with the consumption of foods that provide energy for breastfeeding.

Can you lose weight just by breastfeeding? Experts believe that 600 calories are expended per day by producing breast milk. So if we complement breastfeeding with exercise and good nutrition, we can reach our weight loss goals.

Can You Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

How to lose weight while breastfeeding

The calories expended while breastfeeding are equal to several hours of aerobic exercise. That’s why prolonging the period of breastfeeding can result in weight loss.

According to experts, this is the primary reason why some women attribute their quick weight loss to breastfeeding, but it all depends on the individual.

On the other hand, we should also keep in mind that losing this amount of calories can cause weakness, tiredness, mineral and nutrient deficiency, as well as muscle loss.

However, there is no doubt that the process itself has certain advantages for weight loss.

Some studies indicate that the effects can be prolonged, therefore mothers that have breastfed may have less risk of becoming obese in the following 30 years.

Let’s be clear. The studies found that a breastfeeding woman, according to her morphology, loses at least two pounds every six months.

We know that doesn’t seem like much, but it is constant and helps to prevent other health problems from appearing (like obesity).

To complement the natural weight loss from breastfeeding, we can do the following:

  • Do physical activity for 45 to 60 minutes a day. Activities like dancing, walking, jumping rope or riding a bike can help to burn between 300 and 500 calories.
  • Increase your consumption of liquids as long as they aren’t sugary.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables, preferably raw. If we can eat their peels, even better.
  • Prioritize eating lean meats like turkey and chicken. Alternatives include lean fish like trout, sardines, salmon, and tuna.
  • Consume low-fat dairy products that are rich in calcium.
  • Opt for whole grains

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ferrari N., Graf C., Recommendations for physical actvity during and after pregnancy. Gesundheitswesen, 2017. 79: 36-39.
  • Ki EY., Han KD., Park YG., Relationship between duration of breast feeding and obesity in korean women: the korea national health and nutrition examination survey (KHANES) 2010-2012. Maturitas, 2017. 102: 41-45.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.