Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

Does Breastfeeding Help with Weight Loss?

Some women dread getting pregnant because they fear of how their bodies would look like after delivery. Little do they know that they could actually lose weight after pregnancy.

There have been numerous claims by lactating mothers regarding their ability to lose weight while breastfeeding.

They are right. Yes, you heard it. Breastfeeding actually does help you get rid of unwanted post pregnancy weight – approximately 850 calories per day! Surprised? Don’t be.

While breastfeeding may help burn extra body fat, a few factors must be put into consideration.

First, every woman is different. There are some who gain and lose weight fast while there are others who gain and lost weight slow. Activities of daily living must also be put into consideration since there are some people who work too hard that they tend to skip eating meals or even get very little rest and sleep. All of these factors affect a woman’s ability to gain and lose weight.

During pregnancy, it is beneficial to gain weight not for you but for your baby. Around 5 to 12 pounds of the weight you gained during pregnancy goes as maternal stores or extra fat that you can use for energy for later use. If you gained too much during pregnancy, your maternal stores
also increase, affecting your ability to lose weight after giving birth.

Maternal or fat stores are consumed when the body is in dire need of energy, especially when it recognizes that food isn’t immediately available. Eating less or even starving yourself during those times when your body requires more energy than usual (i.e. pregnancy and breastfeeding), slows your metabolism or your body’s ability to break down energy, as a way of coping with the loss of caloric intake. This causes the body to gain much more weight by storing fat.

How to Lose Weight when Breastfeeding

Some mothers experience weight loss after breastfeeding. There are some points to remember when you intend to lose weight while breastfeeding. Let’s aim to have your maternal stores consumed by your body if you want to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. However, this should be done gradually.

Your body functions to produce milk to feed your baby. Maternal stores is your body’s food reserve for breast milk especially when your baby needs it. Breastfeeding demands more energy and usually needs 750 calories a day, more than your body needs for you to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

To induce the process of gradually utilizing your maternal stores, lactating mom need to increase their caloric intake to 500 calories during the first months. This allows the body to burn about 250 calories a day, about the same amount as when doing 30 minutes of mild to moderate cardio.

It may require a lot of patience on your part but it would soon pay off once you see the results. Although you may feel you are consuming too much more than your body needs, bear in mind that you are not only eating for one but two.

Why Am I Not Losing Weight?

(Is this a breastfeeding weight loss myth)?

The reason behind seeing the scale not moving an inch down is because of the fact that you consume less or inadequate calories. Breastfeeding as discussed earlier requires a lot of energy from the body. If you consume fewer calories, your body recognizes it as starvation. Your body automatically slows down your metabolism, prompting it to conserve as much maternal stores you have for future use.

Remember, you need to gain weight slowly to lose weight slowly. You need not to rush things to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. You may want to establish a “healthy breastfeeding and weight loss diet plan” which includes balanced meals, in-between snacks, water and exercise.