One of the many ways that breastfeeding can benefit mom is that it can help you to lose weight. Because it takes an extra 500 calories to make breast milk, you have a 500 calorie head start on moms who are formula feeding.
It is recommended that you don’t make a conscious effort to lose weight during the first two months of your baby’s life. During this time, your body is still recovering from childbirth and working to make the right amount of milk for your baby. Many women find that by maintaining a well-balanced diet and eating to hunger they do lose a few pounds during this time.
Once your baby is two months old and your milk supply is established, you may want to take some steps toward losing some of that extra weight. Slow weight loss is best; no more than a pound and a half a week (six pounds a month). Fad diets are not a good plan. While you are breastfeeding you don’t want to eliminate carbohydrates, fats, or any other food group from your diet. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is especially important while nursing. In addition to being unhealthy for your body, losing weight quickly can release toxins that were stored in your fat into your breast milk! Even when dieting, a nursing mom should not eat less than 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day. It is also a good idea to take a breastfeeding supplement to be sure you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby need.
Remember to set realistic goals. Allow yourself up to eight months to lose your pregnancy weight. By combining a balanced diet with an exercise program, persistence and patience, you can get down to your pre-pregnancy weight.