Let’s face it, even though you’re proud of your body for bringing your new baby into the world, I’m sure that holding onto those extra pregnancy pounds is not really what you had it mind for your new life. While it is absolutely possible to lose weight postpartum, you have to do it carefully if you don’t want to lose your breast milk supply in the process.
Postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding doesn’t have to be a huge lifestyle change, you have enough of that going on right now with a new baby to deal with. There are some simple and easy adjustments that you can make to your every day life that will help you shed the baby weight while still maintaining your milk supply.
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Why is Postpartum Weight Loss Hard?
Losing the baby weight is a bit harder than losing regular weight, because your body isn’t as focused on dealing with the extra weight. It is focused on making milk.
Making breast milk requires a lot of energy to produce. Each ounce of breast milk requires about 20 calories to produce. That’s awesome because it means that your body is already burning more calories than normal just to keep up with your milk production. The downside to that is that your body doesn’t want to get rid of all of the extra fat from pregnancy because it is using that to help produce the milk. That’s why you gain so much weight during pregnancy anyway. It’s for milk production.
The trick it to get your body to start actually feeding off of those fat stores rather than just holding on to them for a rainy day.
Eat the Right Calories
Remember when I said that each ounce of breast milk requires 20 calories to produce? That means that if you were to produce 30 ounces of milk a day, you would be burning an extra 600 calories just making milk.
That sounds awesome, right?! There is a catch though. Not all calories are created equal. You need enough calories to keep up with your milk supply, but eating an extra 600 calories of cheesecake a day isn’t going to help your waistline.
You also want to be careful with just cutting calories. If you start cutting calories to lose weight, the first thing you’ll lose is your milk supply. Isn’t being a mom fun?
The best way to lose weight while breastfeeding isn’t to cut calories, but to eat the right kinds of calories instead. Eating well-balanced, low-carb, high-fat meals will make sure that you are getting enough calories to keep up your milk supply while at the same time getting rid of some of that extra baby weight.
Think healthy carbs and fats.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
If you really want to go deeper into it, I would suggest checking out Whole 30. I really suck at self-control (but I’m working on it) so I haven’t completed a full round, but I was still able to lose 10 pounds in 15 days following this plan. I also felt AMAZING! It does require a bit of effort and meal planning is a must, but the results speak for themselves.
I also didn’t lose any ounces of breast milk when I was following the Whole 30, so that’s a HUGE plus.
If you’re considering it, I would strongly suggest reading the book It Starts with Food before beginning. There is so much excellent information in there. It really helped me to look at food differently so that I was better able to make the right choices to fuel my body rather than to just feed it.
If you don’t want to bother with that much prep work (I totally get it), Ultimate Bundles is having a Meal Prep and Planning Bundle on sale RIGHT NOW for a steal for only $47. This is a $1,000 value complete with over 200 recipes to make meal planning so much easier! And who couldn’t use a little easy every now and then?
If you have read any of my breastfeeding posts, you know that I am an advocate for drinking enough water. Your body needs water to survive. You need even more water to breastfeed. And you need even more than that if you are planning on doing any kind of exercising.
I shoot for a gallon a day when I’m breastfeeding just to be on the safe side.
Grab a water bottle and keep it with you always. I personally LOVE my Hydroflask. I carry it with me everywhere. You should too. You’re more likely to actually drink the water if it’s with you.
Drink your water!
I’m not saying that you have to go out and join a gym, or start an intense exercise routine. You’re busy figuring out how to take care of your newborn, I get it. It’s also exhausting with all of the sleep deprivation and night-time feedings messing with things.
You would be surprised though at how good you will feel just getting up and taking a walk around the block.
Load your baby up in the stroller, grab some music, and your water bottle, and get going. It doesn’t have to be a fast walk. Just something to get you out of the house and get your muscles moving.
Not only will your body thank you for the movement, but your mind will thank you for the change of scenery. Cabin fever during maternity leave can really suck. Help yourself out by just getting out and going.
Don’t do any physical activity without checking with your doctor first if you’re still in your first six weeks postpartum. If you had a rough delivery then you may have some extra healing that needs to be done. Walking is typically accepted and suggested, but it’s always a good idea to double check first.
Get Enough Sleep
I know, I know, you have a newborn and trying to get your newborn to sleep is a massive undertaking. I get it. You need your sleep too though.
Your body went through a lot of effort to bring your baby into this world. It needs to heal. One of the best ways to help your body heal is to get enough sleep.
Have your partner, a family member, or a good friend help you take care of the baby so that you can get some sleep. Night time will probably be the worst for a while since your baby is trying to figure out his nights and days, but having an extra hand will make a huge difference in your quality of life.
Related: Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep
Postpartum Weight Loss Takes Time
Remember, it took you nine months to put on all of that extra weight. It will take time to get it off again. You may not have the same body after pregnancy, but that’s okay. Your body brought your baby into this world.
You may need to get different jeans and you may have to wear a better supporting bra, but isn’t your baby worth it?
Don’t put any other added pressure on yourself to lose the baby weight. Lose the weight for you because you want to be healthy and happy, not because you feel like you have to. Being healthy and loving who you are is more important to your baby than being skinny. Besides, skinny isn’t always healthy, but loving yourself is.
Are you struggling with postpartum weight loss? Leave me a comment below.
Until next time!