Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: Does Breastfeeding Help With Postpartum Weight loss?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Does Breastfeeding Help With Postpartum Weight loss?

One of the first things I try to tell newly expectant moms when they mention breastfeeding and weight loss is...it might not work. I know, big bubble I just burst for so many of you. But...for me. I have had 3 babies now. Breastfed all 3 of them. Never pumped. Never supplemented with bottle. We are talking 24/7 boobs on call type of breastfeeding. And I did not lose 1 single pound because of breastfeeding. The only weight I lost was the first big drop after having the baby, and only about 13 pounds. After that 0. From breastfeeding. What I learned about 10 months in after having Mason is, in order for my body to lose weight, I have to buckle down with diet like, get really serious and cut the crap from my eating. I started working with a nutritionist when Mason was 10 months old and from that point on for the next 6 months, I lost 40 pounds. With Collin, again, it wasn't until I cleaned up my diet that I started to lose weight. So I knew, with Elyse. I would have to just start out ASAP after I had her, eating better and making better choices in the kitchen! So glad I did because I am currently sitting at 21 pounds weight loss since I had her. And half of that weight is from me working hard to work it off.

For some women though, yes they lose weight while nursing. My sister in law did with all 5 of her babies. And before I had my babies I would often joke that it didn't matter how much I gained while pregnant. I was just going to be part of the Allen Weight loss Plan of breastfeeding.
Here are some reasons why breastfeeding can be so beneficial to you and your baby.

1) You do burn 300-500 calories a day breastfeeding and producing milk. But remember because you are breastfeeding you might feel more hungry. Make sure you are snacking on healthy snacks and stay away from processed foods or junk foods. Even when they are calling to you! If you are following a Beachbody Program and the color coded containers system, I recommend that you bump up into the next higher calorie bracket since you are burning an additional 300-500 calories a day. I also, if I have to have it, will add an additional yellow container into my allotment to give me that fast burning calories that my body is requesting for.

2) Be sure to use both breasts each time you feed. to keep up a good milk supply you want to stimulate both breasts to make more milk. It's a good idea, even as the babies get older and they show a preference to a breast, that you still try to nurse on both breasts. Also starting on the opposite breast you started with last time. With all 3 babies my right breast is what I call my milker. That sucker produced like nothing else. But my left one not as well. But I still try to get a feeding done on both each and every time.
3) Stress and craziness around you will not make your milk supply low. There are plenty of women with stressful lives and even with poor nutrition that produce perfect amounts of milk for their babies. Low milk supply is generally caused by poor breastfeeding management (not feeding often enough) poor latch, or hormone issues with mom. If you have any concerns about the amount of milk your baby is getting be sure to talk to your babies pediatrician.

4) Exercise won't affect your milk supply. I tell moms getting back into exercise to listen to their body, when they are getting back into exercise. It is a change and often what causes a reduced supply is that the mom is not getting enough food and/or water to compensate what is being burned during your workout. This is where the tricky part is. You do not want to reduce your caloric intake. Again, you burn 300-500 extra calories making milk. If you are burning too many calories then your milk supply will dip. As long as you are eating enough calories you will be just fine! Combine that with a healthy diet and you will safely lose weight.

5) Slow and steady wins the race. Don't expect to drop 20 pounds in 1 or 2 months while breastfeeding. Keeping that balance of eating right and exercising is a fine line. I am aiming for 1-2 pounds a week of weight loss to keep my milk supply at its best.
While nursing really isn't the "quick fix"  to get back to your pre-baby body like some of us had hoped, it does burn calories and pairing it with a healthy lifestyle and balanced nutrition plan, it can help you slim down to your pre-pregnancy weight more quickly, than if you didn't. Remember it is quality of calories that counts. So ditch the junk food, processed foods and sweets and treats.

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