How To Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
I remember the day so clearly, I was sitting in the dressing room on the floor in Target… sobbing. Holding my precious 3-month-old, who I made from scratch with my own body, my mind was filled with ugly thoughts. I hated my body after giving her life. My mom edged her way into the dressing room and held me. She let me have my “moment.” The real reason for this breakdown? I had officially hit plus sized clothes.
When you get pregnant you make promises to yourself, I swore that I was going to be a fit, happy, and sexy mom. My pre-mom brain reasoned with me, that there were so many perks to breastfeeding as a mom, and women have been doing it for thousands of years, right?
Spoiler alert, there is nothing sexy about breastfeeding. It’s hard work, sleepless nights, and constantly breaking up your day to sit down and nurse. To make it worse, my daughter didn’t make it easy on me, she wanted to do anything BUT nurse. My already emotional brain had reached its limit.
Little did I know that over the next 12 years… (yes, 12 years) It would be one fad diet after the next. I sought out (and tried) all the solutions getting one frustrating result after the other. So you may be asking…
How Can a Nursing Mother Lose Weight?
While my story was filled with ups and downs and I never truly mastered the weight-loss after the baby while I was breastfeeding, there is hope for nursing moms. However, I wanted to take a moment and introduce you to my friend, Laura, a fellow breastfeeding mama!
*Side note: I am more healthy today than I have been in 12 years and you can read all about that journey on my blog, The Hipster Mommy.
Laura is a mom of 2 littles and she has lost over 70 lbs in 6 months while nursing her now 11-month-old son. She followed a calorically balanced diet of about 1500 – 1800 calories a day while focusing on her ” magical macros”, as I like to call them.
Laura took time, enjoyed her beautiful growing family, and she made smart and measurable steps towards growing her overall health. So what is her secret?
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding The Right Way
Breastfeeding Weight Loss Hack #1- Drink Lots of Water
I know you are probably rolling your eyes. Everyone THINKS they drink enough water but according to this awesome article on hydrating while breastfeeding you should aim to get at least 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce per pound that you weigh when you ARE NOT nursing. Now, keep in mind that hydrating yourself correctly is extremely important, however, overhydration will harm your milk supply as well so make sure you are not drinking too much. The moral of the story, drink water when you are thirsty and have a maintainable goal you reach each day.
*mom hack: I track my water intake with a health app on my iPhone called MyPlate. Its one simple swipe to track it and it makes remembering how much water you have had so easy!
Breastfeeding Weight Loss Hack #2- Go Fresh with Your Food
In general, it can become really easy to focus on how to lose weight while breastfeeding, but forget that it is essential to put healthy, milk supply fortifying, vitamins and nutrients into your system. Without the nutrition intake, your body can go into starvation mode, causing your weight-loss to stall or stop altogether. Not only will eating more fresh, nutrient dense, veggies and fruits feed your new tiny human really well from the start, but it will fuel you to be more energetic and enjoy your nursing times more as well.
Breastfeeding Weight Loss Hack #3- Eat in Evenly Spaced Intervals
Ever heard the saying “sleep when your baby sleeps”? Well, as a rule of thumb eating works the same. Snacking on small and evenly spaced meals throughout the day will help you feel full for longer. Did you know that on average you are burning about 300 to 600 calories each time to breastfeed your baby? That’s a lot of calories. Your body needs fuel to replace the lost nutrients it’s busy giving to your tiny person. A good way to balance snacking is to try and have a healthy 100 calorie high protein snack each time you feed baby throughout the day. This will keep you feeling satisfied as well and help you have a more productive day.
Breastfeeding Weight Loss Hack #4- Be Prepared
I can almost hear the lion king references starting now, but Scar wasn’t wrong. Preparation is the key to success in any situation. There are lots of tips out there to be prepared, but here are the ones that work for me (and Laura). Try putting leftovers into “small meal friendly” containers the night before so you can simply grab them when it’s time for a quick meal. Cut up veggies the day you get them and put them in a small ziplock baggie on top of a single serve guacamole or hummus cup. You can also try to set a timer on your phone for when you are supposed to eat so that you don’t forget, as most moms do!
Breastfeeding Weight Loss Hack #5- Sleep Often
Now I know, with a newborn in the home, sleep isn’t a luxury you feel like you can afford most days. Let me just encourage you, you CAN afford sleep. It is the one thing I wish I had listened to my mother about. OK, maybe there are more than just that one thing… #liveandlearn right? What I didn’t know then was, when you do not sleep enough at night your cortisol levels ( the stress hormone in your brain) raises significantly. So, when you do not get enough sleep you are more prone to the craving of sugary and refined foods. Your body thinks it needs them to use as quickly burnable fuel. Moral of the story? Sleep when the baby is sleeping and leave the laundry for later, I promise it will be there tomorrow.
Breastfeeding Weight Loss Hack #6- Be Kind to Yourself
It took you nine months to grow and birth this tiny life you have now. You are not going to just magically be ” back to normal” overnight no matter how good your genetics are, or how many friends you have that have lost tons of weight effortlessly after baby. The point is, love your body. Speak kind things to yourself. You have just created a miracle with this body. Thank your body for being strong and healthy. Congratulate yourself for bringing a life into the world. It’s a big deal, and you are a hero! Struggle with self-love? Check out my blog on creating positive thought patterns!
Have some other amazing hacks for how to lose weight while breastfeeding?
Please share them with me in the comments below, I would love to hear your advice!
Brittany Thompson | The Hipster Mommy
Hi, I am Brittany. wife, mom, and recovering work-a-holic. I want to help moms like me recover from impossible standards and self-imposed stress by learning to Live & Love Well. You can grab my free download “The Best Positive Self Talk For Moms” over on my website www.thehipstermommy.com