Breastfeeding, Fat Loss, The Truth (and what to do about it)
“Oh, you’re breastfeeding, you’ll lose that baby weight in no time.”
If only it were that easy — feed your baby and fat melts away like you’re a human George Foreman grill. I’m sure we’d all love a quick, magical answer to lose that baby weight.
But what are realistic expectations with fat loss and breastfeeding (or even fat loss in general)?
Breastfeeding promotes weight loss? Well here I am after my second baby, and that has NEVER been true for me.
If you’ve ever breastfed, I’m sure you know that ravenous feeling of, “I must find food now!” Add in sleep deprivation and stress and you have a recipe for poor food choices.
With my first baby I had bad habits. I ate carb heavy meals, had little protein, lots of sweets, and overstuffed myself always.
This time around I’m consistent with my diet. I eat enough and not too much, but the scale is still not budging. Inches are dropping— my pants are fitting better and my mommy tummy is slowly slimming.
But I don’t believe in quick fixes or fad diets, and I know this body grew another little body (twice!) so it’s just going to take time to be where I’d like.
Breastfeeding is great, but it’s not a fat loss plan. So what is a mom to do when she’s ready to lose some baby weight but fighting that ravenous breastfeeding hunger?
What To Do
Here are 7 things to support a healthy diet and safely lose weight while breastfeeding. (These are specifically known to be safe for breastfeeding, but they’re great ideas even if you don’t breastfeed.)
Eat a protein-dense food at every meal and snack.
Load up the veggies at every meal and snack. *Fun fact: if you eat lots of green it can turn your breastmilk a greenish tint.
Add some nuts, avocados, flax seed/oil, olive oil, or salmon to your diet (healthy fats). Do this every time you eat. It will help you feel fuller longer, especially with a protein.
Do eat the carbs! You need energy. Aim for carbs that are whole grain and unprocessed. (Think quinoa and potatoes, not goldfish crackers.)
Eat slowly. This might be the hardest thing to do as a mom, but really focus on chewing every bite, setting your fork down between bites, and savoring your meal.
Eat until 80% full. Don’t eat until stuffed, but until no longer hungry.
Have an occasional treat and put your feet up. What you’re doing is hard work.
‼️IMPORTANT: It’s incredibly important to not try to lose weight or go into a calorie deficit before 2 to 3 months of breastfeeding has been established. This gives your body enough time to build a healthy milk supply that is less likely to be affected by a calorie deficit.
Your body is holding on to that fat with all its might to help feed your baby. It will take longer, but it’s not impossible.
Changing your expectation to know losing the baby weight will take months, possibly even a year or two, is half the battle! (This is true for any type of fat loss!) The other half is using this time to build some healthy habits and focus on getting what you need.
Go back through the list of ideas and pick one you can easily implement today.
Where will you start?