For most moms, there was that single moment after giving birth when walking past a mirror, you suddenly go back and see your postpartum body in all its bulbous, stretched-out glory and stifle a cry.
You probably want your pre-pregnancy, beach-worthy figure as soon as possible. However, dropping those postpartum pounds— particularly while breastfeeding— can make you crave and feel like you can devour a whole elephant all the time.
Although it is not an easy feat and should never be rushed, once you are past the first few weeks after delivery, getting back to shape is possible.
Check out these tips on how to lose weight without impacting your little one’s milk supply.
7 Tips to Safely Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
1. Drink Water, A Lot!
Drinking plenty of water daily is probably the best thing you can do in order to have overall good health. And it is particularly important for breastfeeding moms who want to lose weight.
Water can help shed unwanted pounds naturally. How?
- Aids your kidneys and keeping your body free of toxins.
- Keeps your muscles working at 100 percent.
- Encourage regular body functioning like digesting, circulation, transporting of nutrients, regulating body temperatures and milk production.
- Prevent overeating by making you feel fuller for longer.
- Combines with skin oils and creating a protective barrier against UV rays and other toxins from the environment.
For breastfeeding moms, we recommend that you take at least 8 cups of water daily. Too much for you?
Try this routine:
- Start your morning with 2 cups of water first.
- Drink 2 cups— before and after— lunch and dinner. So, that’s 4.
- The last 2 cups you can get by filling up a water bottle and drink on it throughout the day.
2. Sleep As Much As You Can
Are you kidding me?
I know, I know!
Sleep seems like out of line when you have a baby with unpredictable sleeping patterns.
However, sleep is more important than ever!
Since you just went into a 9-month expansion and the pain of overworked and swelling muscles after delivery, you will need to give your body time to repair itself and return to a much healthier state.
How do you do that?
As you sleep, your blood supply to muscles and organs increases, it helps return blood pressure to normal, growth hormones are released, your muscles relaxed, and your heart rate and breathing stabilize— all contributing to the healing of your body.
If you’re not convinced, then this might:
Studies revealed that weight gain is associated with a lack of sleep. Not only that, sleep-deprived new moms are always hungry and tend to satisfy their cravings with simple carbs, adding more on their weight.
For this reason, it is recommended that you get at least 7 hours every night. And if your little one won’t let you, then try to get a nap when he naps. This should still give your body enough time to recover.
3. Quality Foods Only, Please!
So how do you lose weight while breastfeeding?
Don’t go on a diet or count calories. Eating less can impact your milk supply. So, instead, you need to be mindful of the food quality you’re eating. Make your meals extra nutritious and healthy and at least a bit bigger than your normal servings.
Grabbing the nearest bag of cookies or chips in between feedings or when you are exhausted might be convenient, however, a handful of almonds, a slice of cheese or crackers spread with peanut butter are much better choices.
Consider stocking up on these foods to help your body back on track while maintaining a steady supply of nutritious milk:
Rice, pasta, beans, winter squash, and rice can help provide the necessary energy for your body to produce milk.
Grains, veggies, and Fruits
Whole foods like faro, millet, quinoa, wheat, and rye provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for a healthier body.
Your diet does not influence how much fat will end up in your milk, however, it does impact the type. Nuts, avocados, cheese, olive oil, eggs, and seeds provide a good amount of omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids which are essential for your little one’s brain development.
Protein, as we all know, helps in the development and healing of body tissues. Thus, you need to fill up with healthy, lean protein like nuts, fish, and meat in order to repair your damaged postpartum muscles.
Meanwhile, here are some of the foods that you should avoid in order to lose weight while breastfeeding:
- Alcohol hinders your baby’s development when consumed through breast milk.
- Sugary foods contribute to inflammation.
- Snackfoods with empty calories such as soda, candy, and chips are unhealthy and promote weight gain.
4. Working Out Safely
Being mindful of what you want can help jump start your metabolism. However, postpartum workouts should also be a part of your routine too.
Not only can it help increase your energy, but doing light workout movements can help stretch out your muscles back into shape. Remember to talk with your doctor when it is the perfect time for exercising.
Once your doctor cleared you to work out, slowly ease back and focus on postpartum-safe workouts such as yoga. In addition, some of the natural weight-lifting workout— pushing the stroller, going on walks with your little one, lifting your newborn or walking up and down the stairs— should be enough to get you started in the first 2 – 3 weeks.
After that, you can start working 20 – 30 minutes daily and work at least 150 minutes of moderate work out weekly.
Other ways to help tone those muscles and lose weight while breastfeeding include:
- Gentle stretching with a resistance band in order to work body parts strained by breastfeeding including the chest, back, and shoulders.
- Doing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles faster.
- Pulling in your stomach to help toughen up muscles.
- Post-partum Pilates moves.
Whatever you do, try to breastfeed your little one first before working out in order to avoid engorgement.
5. Toning and Firming Product Are Your Best Friends
Part of the process of getting back in shape is toning and firming your skin.
In order to deliver a baby, your whole body expands— your ribcage expands, your hips expand. And it took at least 9 months to put that weight on.
After you give birth, you’ll end up with ugly, sagging skin.
And while exercise can aid in toning up from the inside, you can also help your body from the outside by using toning and firming products throughout the day.
From firming gel to stretch mark recovery serums, these products are specially formulated to help reshape your contours after delivery by:
- Stimulating collagen production
- Reinforcing skin elasticity
- Reliving tight, dry and sensitive skin
- Firming and toning the skin from within
- Reduce ugly stretch marks
6. Ignore The Advertised Quick Fixes
In this ever-conscious world, there are a plethora of new dieting trends that keep popping out from nowhere. And looking down on your voluminous belly, it is hard not to get sucked in. Still, you need to think about your milk supply.
Most of these fancy diet trends can have a huge impact on your breast milk production. When you lose weight too quickly, your milk supply also decreases, so you need to be cautious when you see an opportunity for quick-fix diets.
Remember, the weight will come off eventually. Just prioritize your little one for now. And remember, take it slow.
7. Consult An Expert
Lastly, if you don’t seem to lose weight even after all your efforts, it is best that you meet a nutritionist and ask for some advice to lose weight while breastfeeding.
These experts are highly specialized in the area of nutrition and dieting, so they can help you faster. You need to tell your nutritionist what your specific goals are then you two can sit down and build a plan especially for you.
So, try to seek out professional help for guidance in nutrition and dieting if you need to.
In addition, if you are still struggling with postpartum weight loss and everything from above seems to fail, then it may be time to see your doctor. It is not that the methods above are not working, but perhaps there’s a medical reason behind your difficulty in losing weight. This can range from depression or stress to underactive thyroid or other hormone imbalances.
Once the underlying issues have been treated, then you might be able to lose your postpartum weight more quickly.