It’s natural to gain weight during pregnancy. The good news is, it’s also natural to lose weight after childbirth, especially while breastfeeding. In fact, breastfeeding helps you lose weight. The best way to lose weight after pregnancy is to proceed slowly and to help nature gently to take its course.
Don’t try to diet during the first two months after childbirth. A new mother needs time to let her body recover from childbirth. It takes about two months for her milk supply to be firmly established. It’s natural at this time to rest and recuperate. For the first months, eat when you’re hungry, and try to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Studies of women in the first months after childbirth show that breastfeeding mothers tend to be slimmer and weigh less than mothers who are feeding their babies formula.
Check with your doctor about taking on a moderate plan to lose weight when your baby is three months old. The way to lose weight safely is to set a modest goal. At three months, it’s safe for a breastfeeding mother to lose a pound a week. More than that can harm her health. It takes energy to breastfeed and to care for an infant. A breastfeeding mother should aim for a diet of 1500-1800 calories a day.
At three months postpartum, the new mother can begin gradually to increase her activity. A brisk walk with the baby in a stroller benefits both mother and child. The new mother should combine aerobic exercise with strength training. Carrying her newborn adds to her workout, of course, but she can also go to the gym to begin or return to an easy weight routine.
It’s reassuring to know that what a mother eats has little effect on the composition of her milk. The exception to this is a sudden drop in calorie intake. This can lead to a decrease in milk production. New mothers must be especially careful to avoid extreme diets. They should stick to a well-balanced plan of natural foods, with enough protein and carbohydrates for energy and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They should be sure to drink enough water.
Much research supports the idea that mothers who breastfeed lose weight more consistently than mothers who bottle feed. Breastfeeding burns an extra 200-500 calories per day. Continuing to breastfeed is good for the babies’ health. It helps their immune system become established.
To lose 20 pounds, then, set a goal of seven months to a year. Slow, steady weight loss will keep you healthy. It is a realistic and safe regimen for an active new mother.