Should You Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?


As you well know, it’s generally not considered safe to lose weight while you’re pregnant. Even a woman who starts out her pregnancy overweight should still gain at least 10 to 15 pounds during the course of her pregnancy. Weight gain is a normal an natural part of pregnancy. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy, of course, isn’t healthy, but you need to gain at least some weight.

Breastfeeding is different, however. There’s no reason why you can’t lose weight while you’re breastfeeding, especially if you’re smart and careful in terms of how you go about doing it. Here are some things to keep in mind while trying to lose weight while breastfeeding:

  • Before you start any diet, you’ll want to establish your nursing and milk production for at least a couple of months. You don’t want to interfere with your body’s production of your baby’s nutritional needs.
  • Talk to your doctor. In some cases, there may be specific things that you need to take into account when trying to lose weight while breastfeeding.
  • Make sure you’re getting a balanced diet. You still need some specific nutrients in order to pass them along to your baby while you are breastfeeding. The best thing you can do, both to lose weight and for your baby, is to get rid of processed foods with little or no nutritional value from your diet, and to load up on grains, meats, dairy, fruits and veggies.
  • Don’t drastically cut your calorie count. That will almost assuredly affect your production of milk, and your baby’s supply. Recognize that you need more calories when you are breastfeeding than if you weren’t breastfeeding.
  • Steady weight loss is key. You shouldn’t lose more than about a pound a week on average. If you’re losing weight at a pace that’s more rapid, you need to increase your caloric intake.

Stay hydrated. Part of effective breastfeeding relies on you being hydrated, and diet and exercise can sometimes lead to dehydration. Stick with water, and avoid caffeine.

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