You may have heard that breastfeeding helps you lose some of your baby weight. But it’s not that simple. Breastfeeding has a pretty big impact on weight loss, and affects it in more than one way. Find out the four main ways breastfeeding can affect how you lose weight.
- Breastfeeding burns extra calories
This isn’t news to most breastfeeding moms. Doctors and lactation consultants usually warn mothers of the importance of eating extra while you’re breastfeeding- you can burn about 500 extra calories a day! This makes dropping the first few pounds very easy to do. When you factor in a healthy diet and exercise, the pounds melt away.
- Your uterus shrinks
The morning after I gave birth, I looked in the mirror and wanted to cry. I thought my round belly would be mostly gone once my baby was out. But, I still had a big spare tire sitting around my waist.
As it turns out, your uterus is still enlarged after your give birth. Breastfeeding releases hormones that signal your uterus to start shrinking back to a normal size. After only a couple of days of breastfeeding post-partum, my stomach was much less…pouchy. If you don’t breastfeed, it can take a little longer for things to go back to normal.
- You may have trouble losing the last few pounds
Yes, breastfeeding does help you burn calories quickly. However, it also tends to make it harder to lose the last few pounds. There’s not much scientific information on why this happens, but many moms have a hard time losing the last five or ten pounds of baby weight while breastfeeding. I experienced the same issue, and know plenty of other mothers who have had a hard time. So, don’t get discouraged if you can’t quite get down to your old weight. That day will come! Just try to focus less on how you looked before you were pregnant, and more about how much weight you have loss since you gave birth.
- It’s easier to stay on a diet
Eating healthy to lose weight is hard. Easting healthy to keep your baby healthy is a little easier. Whether or not you have a baby with food intolerances, it’s important to eat healthy while breastfeeding. Although you might have to sacrifice your favorite dessert, eat less pizza, or even cut out dairy entirely (moms with dairy intolerant babies know how hard this is), it’s a little easier to stick to your new diet knowing that it’s for the good of your little one. Breastfeeding is the time to really kickstart a healthy eating routine. Who knows, you may even stick with it after you’re done breastfeeding.
The Bottom Line
Breastfeeding can be great for weight loss. As long as you eat healthy and exercise regularly, it will help you to lose weight fast. And if you don’t, cut yourself some slack and enjoy motherhood.
Hi Everyone! I'm Danielle, and I'm a little bit of a fitness nut. Since having my 1-year old son, working out has been a little more difficult. Between breastfeeding and running around iwth a baby who does not EVER sit still, I've had to learn how to workout a whole new way. Join me on Workout Wednesdays as I share my post-baby workout tips. You can learn how to get (or stay) healthy while you juggle being SuperMom!