January 18th, 2013 • Comments: 0 • by Hillary • Breast is BestHealth & Wellness

Reaching Weight-loss Goals While Breastfeeding

January is a time for resolutions and losing weight seems to be top priority for many women. Nursing mothers need not exclude themselves from dieting if they wish to tackle a weight-loss goal; however, care must be taken to ensure that a mother's milk supply is not negatively affected. A woman's milk supply can take six to twelve weeks to be fully established; dieting should wait until after this has occurred.

Breastfeeding burns (on average) 200 - 500 calories per day, which means that even without a reduced-calorie diet or exercise, if you choose to breastfeed your baby you are burning extra calories.A dieting nursing mother's goal should be to consume enough calories to maintain an adequate milk supply. Drastically (or suddenly) cutting calories can decrease milk supply.

A nursing mother is still eating for two, especially when baby is being exclusively breastfed. Fortunately, there are Pumpkin Oatmealmany lactogenic foods (foods that support lactation) that can aid in weight loss. Oatmeal is at the top of the list. Oatmeal is low in calories, low in fat, and its soluble fiber makes you feel fuller longer. Though not scientifically proven to boost milk supply, oatmeal has traditionally been touted as a galactagogue (a substance that promotes lactation.) This pumpkin oatmeal recipe is an excellent way for nursing mothers to introduce oatmeal into their weight-loss diet.

Self-care is important when undertaking a weight-loss plan. There can be a lot of pressure on mothers to lose the "baby weight" but the last thing your baby cares about is how much you weigh. Keep your goals within reach and celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem. Losing weight should be a gradual, gentle process to ensure that your milk supply isn't upset. Most importantly, losing weight should be your goal, not society's goal for you. This article on Postpartum Body Image and Weight Loss provides an enlightening look at the physical and emotional changes women may experience in the months after their baby is born.

What are your post-baby weight loss goals or tips?

{Photo Credit: Amy Estes}


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