The extra nourishment alongside inactivity leads to the buildup of weight during pregnancy.
After delivery, losing weight is the next biggest priority by many women.
But as many mothers will testify, shedding the extra weight during the lactating period is rarely simple.
Undoubtedly, shedding weight while breastfeeding is challenging, considering you`ve to juggle between taking care of your baby as well as maintaining your health.
Weight loss menace during lactation is further underlined by the notion that breastfeeding can result in women cutting back on their weight.
It`s true that your body uses roughly 500 calories a day (from food or stored fat) to make milk. Still, sitting back and letting your baby suck off those weight-causing calories will not cut it.
Again, the amount of calories burned as a result of nursing varies considerably from person to person, so you should never at one-time count breastfeeding as you “secret” weapon against weight.
More importantly, a report by Medical News Today asserts that at times, breastfeeding can have the opposite of what you hoped for when it comes to losing weight.
According to the study, breastfeeding triggers the production of prolactin, which is necessary to make milk. In effect, however, prolactin alters your body`s metabolism and essentially causes your body to cling to the last little bit of baby weight. What it does is that it sends signals that your body is running out of nutrition or starving, and so it keeps the fat stores.
Nutrition, Breastfeeding & Weight Loss
The biggest hurdle, however, comes to nutrition.
See, nutrition plays an integral role in weight loss, whether you`re breastfeeding or not. The choice of foods will determine how many calories you consume or how many easily they`re broken by your body.
However, when breastfeeding, the mother`s milk happens to be the only source of nutrition to the baby. This is to mean that your dietary options should also consider the well-being of the baby.
In any case, during the first few weeks, dieting should not be an option. It`s essential that every mother continues to eat nutritious foods, and ensure they lose weight healthily without compromising on milk supply.
Is It Safe to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?
Yes, having a planned weight loss is safe even when breastfeeding.
On the other hand, having a sudden drop in weight can have severe implications on your health.
Ideally, you should have a gradual, and phased out decrease on your weight.
The best weight loss strategy for breastfeeding mothers is to follow a healthy lifestyle, a moderate exercising routine and feed a low-fat food diet.
When to Start Losing Weight When Breast Feeding
Immediately after delivery, managing your baby should be your top priority and you should worry about your weight the least.
The first six weeks should be a time to create a bond between the baby and the mother and also a period to the new lifestyle changes.
Remember that the excess weight that you have has accumulated throughout nine to ten months, and should give at least that much time to shed those extra pounds away.
Ideally, you should wait for at least two months after you deliver to kick-start your weight loss program.
Different Ways to Lose Weight When Breastfeeding
As we have seen, losing weight when breastfeeding should be handled in a systemic and planned way.
Let`s look at some of the tips you can use to lose weight during this period;
Adopt a Moderate Exercise Routine
I know a lot of people who have lost weight without having to exercise.
However, remember that exercising is a “game” of calories in, calories out.
If you`re a fitness aficionado or finding other weight loss methods not working, moderate exercises should get you started.
Here, you`ll need to adopt a workout plan with exercises that are not too taxing and heavy on the body.
You don`t necessarily have to lift heavy weights or run for kilometers.
You can start with basic and simple exercises such as light walking for 20 to 30 minutes along with your baby.
With time, increase the intensity of your activity.
However, exercises are known to burn a lot of calories, and you should, therefore, tread with moderation not to overdo it.
Drink Plenty of Water
The importance of drinking water, regardless of your breastfeeding status cannot be understated.
Drinking plenty of water is a superb way to keep tabs on your weight.
For a start, water helps in digestion and flushing the toxins and excess water.
Most importantly, drinking water before a meal makes you feel fuller, thus keeping you away from over-indulgence.
Staying hydrated is crucial for successful lactating, and it`s essential for a healthy weight loss.
For your body to make milk, it needs to use calories, so breastfeeding on demand is an excellent way to expend calories from your body.
It`s crucial that you particularly breastfeed as you start exercising as this sends signals to the body that through your fat stores might be disappearing, your body still needs to produce milk.
Healthy Diet for Weight Loss
Making post dietary pregnancy changes will ensure that you keep your weight in tabs and at the same time ensuring that your young one is not deprived of any essential nutrition.
Let`s look at some of the dietary elements to adhere to during this period.
Eat Nutritious Foods
Having a healthy mix of food items in your diet will ensure that you have the necessary nutritional elements for your baby and at the same time ensure that you don`t compromise on your weight.
Fruits and veggies, in particular, should form the bulk of your diet. A good way to make this happen is to ensure that you kick-start your day with a veggie plus fruit smoothie.
Alongside the fruits and veggies, ensure that you have a generous intake of lean protein, low-fat carbs, and healthy fats.
Prefer Small Meals
Yes, having small meals frequently and at regular intervals not only keeps your tummy fuller, but it helps you avoid unnecessary craving during intervals between meals.
As a rule of thumb, ensure your meals are highly nutritious, and most importantly, avoid snacking junk, friend and processed foods completely.
Consume Vitamins and Supplements
Vitamins are essential to the body as they allow optimal calcium absorption. Additionally, vitamins help the body reduce the risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and blood pressure. This is beside boosting your body`s immunity against seasonal infections such a cold and cough.
Foods to Avoid
Various foods are a big no during breastfeeding and weight loss.
Some of the foods to avoid include;
- Junk food with trans and saturated fats
- Spicy foods
- Processed foods
- Caffeinated and carbonated drinks
Avoid Stress and Get Enough Sleep
Time and again, scientists have linked stress and lack of sufficient sleep to weight gain. This is not different for the breastfeeding moms.
Sleep disruptions or insufficient sleep stimulates the release of ghrelin, which in turn stimulates appetite and hence weight gain.
On the other hand, stress is known to trigger overeating as a coping mechanism, which again results to an increased weight gain.
Losing weight after delivery is challenging at the very least.
It requires commitment, dietary cuts, exercising self-control, and most importantly patience.
When breastfeeding, it`s not safe and healthy to go on a crash diet and try to lose weight instantly.
Instead, follow the above tips in a phased and gradual process.