As a pre & postnatal fitness specialist, I know the science behind breastfeeding & weight loss. I’ve worked with thousands of new moms worldwide to help them get into the best shape of their lives postpartum while still maintaining a healthy milk supply.
But when I had my first baby, despite all of the research and evidence I had seen firsthand,I was still worried that my training/diet would affect my breast milk supply. I promised myself that if I noticed a decrease in breast milk production, that I would stop immediately and save my postpartum weight loss goal for another time! It just wasn’t as important as a healthy child.
But do you want to know what’s awesome?!
I figured out a nutrition plan that allowed me to accomplish BOTH goals:
1. I was able to exclusively breastfeed my baby.
2. I was able to lose weight & get in the best shape of my life
Not only was there no decrease in my breastmilk supply, but I was actually able to get in the best shape of my life while exclusively breastfeeding AND pumping extra to freeze (In fact, I STILL had breast milk stored in my freezer that we hadn’t used when my first son was 16 months old and I became pregnant with my second baby).
Some moms may feel selfish saying that they want to lose weight postpartum. (But let’s be real, what new mom ISN’T trying to lose her baby fat?)
And they are worried that trying to get back in shape may affect their breast milk supply.
I get it. I’ve been there, done that!
But I’ve come to tell you today that it CAN be done.
Those goals are NOT mutually exclusive.
There is a TON of conflicting information out there about how to lose baby weight. If you’re not an expert, it’s really difficult to know where to start. Especially when you’re sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and already have so much else on your plate!
If you don’t know where to start (or if sifting through postpartum fitness programs makes your head spin), you’re not alone. But getting back your pre-baby body doesn’t have to be complicated…
IF you’re wondering about how to lose weight postpartum (or anytime) — ditch the crash diets, pills, and endless cardio and focus on what actually get results!
Here are the top 3 things you need to know about weight loss while breastfeeding:
1. Don't Diet
When it comes to weight loss while breastfeeding, 60% (or more) of your weight loss will come from ensuring you’re following a proper nutrition plan — pay attention to both the quality and quantity of the food you eat.
You heard all about “eating for two” while you were pregnant, but what about now? When you’re a new mother, your body needs maximum nutrition, so immediately dropping your caloric intake to an unreasonable level isn’t healthy, and may actually cause you to gain weight or do some long term damage to your metabolism. You certainly don’t have to count calories (in fact, I prefer to focus on quality over quantity).
To give you an idea of what you need to sustain your baby while you are breastfeeding and safely lose fat, the National Women’s Health Information Center advises consuming at least 1,800 calories per day. You are a primary food source for your baby, and your body will need about 300-500 calories a day JUST FOR MILK PRODUCTION. If you dip TOO low in calories while you nurse, your milk supply can be affected, and you can start becoming malnourished as well! For a healthy baby AND momma, concentrate on well-balanced, healthy food choices that include foods rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and folate. Remember to focus on foods that keep your hunger, energy and cravings balanced. If you do that, the caloric intake will take care of itself.
2. Movement Matters
Building lean muscle is the key to boosting your metabolism. Strength training helps with weight loss by increasing the after-burn after exercise, and by increasing lean muscle mass, thereby increasing the number of calories we burn at rest. Put simply; to maximize calorie burn (burn fat) you need muscle. But what do you do when you are so busy you barely have time to scarf down a meal, let alone get a workout in? Since having my babies, “just do something” has become my motto. Really, it comes down to either doing something or nothing . . . it’s your choice.
It’s ok if you can’t commit to a full workout today. In fact, with a new baby, some days finding just 30 minutes in a row might be impossible. That’s ok! I suggest breaking up the time into 10-minute increments–then work your way up to 20 or 30-minute sessions as you can. The key is to do SOMETHING…
Here’s an example:
- 10 body weight squats
- 10 squat jumps
- 10 lunges
- 10 push ups
Beyond helping you burn the baby fat, exercise provides additional hormonal benefits to a new mom. In addition to lowering stress hormones and stimulating fat burning hormones like HGH, exercise releases endorphins that will help ease the postpartum blues that almost every new mom encounters. Not only does it help with depression, but I also found just 10 minutes of exercise to help me sleep better, and it is a huge help in relieving stress (as wonderful as it is, having a new baby in the house is stressful). Even if you don’t have the time or energy to get back into a full training schedule, you can take advantage of those feel good hormones by squeezing in short 10- to 20-minute walks as soon (and as often) as possible.
3. Understand The Hormones
Calories in vs. calories out is NOT the whole picture when it comes to fat loss–especially postpartum. You know that the key to sustainable fat loss comes in both a caloric deficit (that is, burning more calories than you consume) AND balanced metabolic hormones. But for new moms who are breastfeeding and can’t sustain a significant caloric deficit, the hormonal balance becomes even more important.
Another complete blog post could be done on postpartum hormones, but here’s the deal in a nutshell . . . . prolactin, the master hormone responsible for lactation, affects a large number of systems throughout the body. It stimulates the production and secretion of milk, depresses fat production in the liver and stimulates the delivery of glucose and lactate to the mammary gland for enhanced fat production. Research shows that there’s actually a suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis at this point, which is responsible for the release of the stress hormones. This may dampen the responses to exercise in terms of having increased energy and fat burning, and many women experience a slight lowering of their basal metabolic rate (the calories you burn at rest), as well as an increase in water and weight retention.
To balance hormones postpartum, proper nutrition and proper training (see above) are key. After that, focus on lifestyle factors like sleep and stress management. Too little sleep or too much stress triggers an increase in cortisol. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours. (Translation: You’re more likely to hang on to extra weight — especially around the belly).
Breastfeeding & Weight Loss: Realistic Goals
When it comes time to get serious about your weight loss while breastfeeding, make sure you keep your expectations in check. It’s tempting to set unrealistic goals and then be frustrated when we aren’t where we “should” be. Although every new mom is eager to look like our old selves again, one of the most important things to remember is to be patient with yourself.
Give yourself some grace and remember, it CAN be done . . . but it’s going to take time to get your body back. How much time?
The National Women’s Health Information Center advises that about one pound per week is a safe amount of weight to lose postpartum, and will not affect your milk supply or the baby’s growth. With the average woman gaining about 30 pounds during pregnancy, and typically losing around 18 to 20 in the first month, that final 10 pounds will push your postpartum fat loss goal to several months after the baby makes an arrival.
FREE NEW MOM SURVIVAL GUIDE
Don’t sabotage your postpartum fat-loss. Let me help you jumpstart your postpartum fat-loss safely and effectively without lowering your milk supply.
New moms have a lot to think about: when to feed the baby, what to do if they cry… and how to get rid of those extra pounds packed on during pregnancy.
There is a TON of conflicting information out there about how to lose baby weight. If you’re not an expert, it’s really difficult to know where to start, especially when you’re sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and already have so much on your plate!
If you don’t know where to start (or if sifting through fat loss programs makes your head spin), you’re not alone. Getting back your pre-baby body doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.
That’s why I’ve compiled a FREE New Mom Survival Guide to help you get started successfully (and make things a little easier).
I’ll be sharing with you some of my personal favorites and most frequently asked questions…
- New Mom Nutrition Guide: Learn How to Lose Fat and Increase Your Breast Milk Supply
- How to Know If You have Diastasis Recti a.k.a Abdominal Separation
- Postpartum Hormones: What you need to know
- C-Section Recovery Guide
- AND Lots of Bonuses!
Grab the FREE New Mom Survival Guide now!
TIP: If you’re an expecting mom, grab this BEFORE the baby comes while you have time to read through everything and get prepared! If you have a friend or relative that’s expecting, what a great present to share!
Want more information? Need a reliable, REAL LIFE Postpartum Fat-Loss System that will give you results you can see and feel in just a few hours a week? Check out Beyond Baby!
Don’t waste any more time on yet another diet which fails you.
I’m here to help you unlock the BREAKTHROUGH SOLUTION you’ve been searching for.
C.P.T. & B.S. Exercise Physiology, is a health & fitness professional with over a decade of experience working in the health and fitness industry.
Specializing in prenatal & postnatal fitness as well as female fat loss, Kate has worked with thousands of women worldwide through her online fitness programs designed specifically for women using research, science, and proven techniques.
As a Pre & Postnatal Fitness Expert as well as Certified ME-NC Nutrition Coach, Kate’s research, programs and protocols have been recognized by fitness organizations across the globe.
Kate is a wife & mom who is passionate about helping women live healthy, happy and balanced lives.
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