If you struggle with losing weight while breastfeeding, you’re not alone!
After my first baby was born, I had this expectation that the extra weight I gained during pregnancy would just “melt off” from breastfeeding.
I was definitely misinformed!
Yes, some moms are able to shed the pounds more quickly than others while nursing.
However, the weight didn’t just “fall off” like I was told. At least not right away and without putting in some extra effort.
While breastfeeding does burn approximately 425-700 EXTRA calories per day (source), this alone may not be enough to give you the rapid weight loss you were hoping for.
As a matter of fact, some women may have a hard time losing weight until they finish nursing. This is due to those lovely female hormones that can make fat loss a little tricky.
I think plenty of moms desire to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. I know I sure did.
Here are some of my favorite tips to lose weight while breastfeeding.
But first, let’s take a moment to discuss the things that can prevent you from reaching your postpartum weight loss goals while breastfeeding.
1. Increased appetite
Breastfeeding can leave us feeling constantly starving due to the extra calories being used to produce milk.
I felt much hungrier while I was breastfeeding than pregnant.
The caloric deficit needed for weight loss can be difficult to maintain because breastfeeding mamas are typically hungrier than normal.
2. Sleep Deprivation
Lack of sleep is a very significant factor in weight loss, regardless of breastfeeding or not.
Not getting enough sleep can cause spikes in our appetite due to hormonal fluctuations.
Hungry, sleep deprived moms tend to reach for snacks that are quick and easily accessible. However, these snacks tend to be higher in sugar and calories which is not optimal for weight loss.
3. Decreased activity level
This is a given, right?
We would rather sleep or cuddle our squishy, delicious smelling newborn rather than get outside for a walk to burn some calories.
Reduced activity with an increase in appetite and calories can be a big hurdle to reaching your weight loss goals.
So, what are some ways to still lose weight while breastfeeding? Here is what helped me lose weight after all three of my pregnancies.
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
1. Make Savvy Food Choices
Breastfeeding is an excellent time to focus on developing healthier eating habits because what we feed our body, we feed our baby.
Sticking to healthy options instead of reaching for quick, sugary or processed foods will help keep your appetite at bay while also providing healthy nutrients for your baby.
Here is an example of what I eat
2. Add Extra Protein
Protein is the building block for our entire body. I have read that a breastfeeding mama should get around 65-75 grams a day.
If you are working out, you may even need more.
Another benefit of getting enough protein is that it will help keep you feeling fuller, longer. Therefore preventing you from eating more calories than your body is burning which can lead to weight gain or prevent weight loss.
I make a protein shake almost every single day, breastfeeding or not.
I find protein shakes to be much quicker, healthier and more convenient when you’re busy tending to a newborn.
What I love about protein shakes is that I can add breastmilk boosting foods like oatmeal, brewers yeast or avocados.
Here is my favorite Lactation Smoothie:
½ of a banana
2. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is extremely important in not only maintaining your milk supply but also aiding in weight loss.
Because breastmilk is primarily composed of water, a dip in supply could mean you’re dehydrated.
I always tell my clients that our bodies can have a difficult time distinguishing between thirst and hunger.
This often causes us to reach for snacks instead of quenching our thirst.
If you are trying to lose weight and notice a dip in your supply, ALWAYS try drinking more water or calorie free fluids before grabbing something to eat.
Carrying an insulated water jug with you at all times can help you stay hydrated.
If you struggle with drinking plain water, I highly recommend using an infused water bottle. I LOVE mine.
3. Try Electrolyte Drinks
I drink one G2 or Powerade Zero every single day when I am breastfeeding. Especially when I’m working out.
We can lose a lot of electrolytes through our sweat. The theory behind electrolyte drinks like Gatorade is that dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance can lower your breastmilk supply.
When I’m feeling a dip in my supply from working out, I immediately drink more water and G2.
4. Squeeze in Exercise Whenever and Wherever you Can
Finding time, energy and motivation to exercise with a newborn can feel impossible, especially if you have other kids around.
I know how hard it is to find time to brush our teeth let alone exercise. But even just 10 minutes a day can help you lose weight and reshape your body.
For example, when the weather is nice, take the baby for a walk. Throw in some lunges and squats on the walk and you’ve just upped your calorie burn for the day!
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If you like more structured workouts, I put together an entire workout program called Tone in 10.
It is designed to help you maximize your workouts and results when your short on time.
Several 10 minute workouts spread throughout the day can add up to huge results!
Not only that, being a mom can be extremely stressful. Adding in a few workouts can help you burn off some stress, boost mood and increase your energy to help keep up with the demanding mommy tasks!
5. Don’t Give Up!
I know, I know, this is way easier said than done. Especially if you’re not seeing results as quickly as you hoped.
It is very hard not to get discouraged when you feel insecure in your postpartum body and frustrated that you are unable to reach your goals as quickly as you hoped.
But keep in mind, breastfeeding can either help with weight loss or prevent you from losing those last few pounds.
However, it is important to remember that everyone experiences weight loss differently. The most important thing you can do is focus on your own goals and not compare your progress to others.
If you stay consistent, your hard work and dedication will inevitably pay off!
The struggle to create and maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle as a brand new mom or mama of multiples is tough. With a little creativity, dedication, consistency and support, I promise you can reach your goals!