While women who’ve just had a baby may be eager to get rid of the extra weight gained during pregnancy and return to a a body that more closely resembles their pre-pregnancy body–if the mother is breast feeding her new infant, attention needs to be paid to how weight is lost in order to keep the milk supply and the breast feeding mother healthy. Here are some considerations for new breast feeding mothers considering and concerned about weight loss…
Breast feeding mothers generally lose more weight faster after having given birth than do mothers who do not breast feed. Some of those extra pounds accumulating during the months of pregnancy are actually geared toward providing for the production of human milk and the breast feeding process. Even though breast feeding mothers may actually be consuming more calories after birth, as long as they are making healthy eating choices and consuming plenty of fluids, they tend to lose more weight than their non-breast feeding counterparts who may be actually consuming less in calories.
It is important for mothers who are breast feeding to avoid any weight loss medications–over-the-counter or otherwise as they may release harmful chemicals, an abundance of caffeine, or other substances into the milk which will affect the baby. The same goes for fad or crash diets that force the body to lose weight and burn fat rapidly–some environmental toxins are stored in the body fat and can be released at unhealthy levels into the mother’s milk if she burns fat too rapidly.
As with weight loss in those who are not new mothers, it is recommended that the efforts to lose weight be directed toward a slow, healthy, regular weight loss. Breast feeding mothers need energy to meet the demands of nursing and new motherhood and it takes plenty of nutrients and fluid to produce a healthy supply of milk for the baby. Some experts recommend that a mother consume 2700 calories each day, but a mother can consume around 2200 and still have an adequate milk supply. Increasing physical activity–by easing into exercise, taking walks, etc. can actually be more productive for healthy weight loss than cutting calories.
The healthier the quality of the food intake, the more likely new mothers are to lose weight slowly and steadily as well. By avoiding empty calories, junk food, liquid diets and other unhealthy dieting choices, new mothers can generally remain healthy, provide an adequate milk supply for their nursing babies, and lose those extra pregnancy pounds.