You’re finally getting the hang of this motherhood thing, and now it’s time to focus on YOU!
And yes, it’s possible to lose weight breastfeeding!
Your health and fitness is important, you know what it feels like to be in a healthy routine that includes working out and eating half-decent. You are even feeling motivated to shed some baby weight and get back that coveted energy and confidence!
Not so fast Mama….I know it can be tempting to jump onto the latest trendy diet that seems to be working so well for everyone, cut back on calories, or ramp up your exercise routine, but it’s very important to know how your nutrition and fitness regime impacts your milk supply.
Here’s the good news…Breastfeeding is a secret weapon for weight loss!
Here’s the watch out…If not done properly, your milk supply can tank 🙁
I’ve seen countless new mom’s milk supply tank, and energy levels plummet as they aggressively work to get their pre-body baby back. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered, and have outlined the key steps you’ll need to follow in order to keep up that precious milk supply and still get your body back!
Step 1: Know Your Calorie Needs
- The most important piece of the milk supply/hot mom body equation is calories in versus calories out!! Calories will supply the energy needed to produce breast milk. The key here is to trigger your body to use the energy stores it already has (aka, your body fat!)
Here are the steps to calculate just how many calories you need each day:
- Visit https://tdeecalculator.net/ and identify your total energy expenditure (chose activitiy level based off your activity/fitness routine.).
- + Add up to 500 calories depending on how often and frequently you’re breastfeeding (see below).
Exclusively breastfeeding/pumping for babies 0-6 months (add 300 calories)
Breastfeeding/pumping for babies 7-12 months (add 200 calories)
Baby’s 8+ months who are doing well with solids foods (add 150 calories)
Baby’s 12+ months that occasionally nurse/pump (add 100 calories)
These #’s are set to help you achieve SLOW weight loss, in order to not decrease your breast milk supply. Those first 6 months, your body will be able to tap into fat stores accumulated during pregnancy.
Hopefully you can see the trend here, the more you breastfeed/pump, and the more milk you’re producing, the more calories it will take. It’s not a perfect science, so play around a bit with the numbers to determine what works best for you and your goals! Do not go below 1,800 calories when breastfeeding.
- If you are feeling extremely hungry or tired, add back another 150 calories to your day.
Step 2: Track your Calories
- Now that you know the # of calories you need, you’ll want to track them. Diligently track the first few weeks until you get a sense of what your calorie intake looks like and the amount of food it takes to get there.
- Whether you pull out of the old school pen and paper, or download an app like MyFitness Pal, it’s important to keep track of what goes in versus out!
Step 3: Properly Nourish You Body
- Consuming your calories from nutrient-dense foods is critical to maintaining your milk supply. Adequate calories also signals to your body “it’s okay to let go of the extra fat because you’re being properly nourished.” Your diet should include tons of nourishing foods, loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and more!
- Choose whole grain rich foods, load up on fruits and veggies, pack in healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon.
- Yogurt and cheese also contain calcium and protein, while beans and legumes will provide a source of fiber.
Step 4: Stay Hydrated
- You’re probably thinking this is a no-brainer and why did I need to call it out as a steps. Your hydration levels are directly correlated with your milk supply, so I can’t emphasize enough how important is it to drink those liquids!
- And please don’t guzzle down coffee and soda all day long, keep it simple with water – which can easily be spiced with with some lemon or fresh fruit!
Step 5: Ease Back into Exercise
Just because your OB has cleared you for resuming activity, it’s not in your best interest to go all out. Save the intense kickboxing class or 10 mile run for down the road. Your body has just recovered from a long 9 months of pregnancy and a laborious delivery, give it some slack! Ease back into things by starting out just a few times a week for 30 minutes. Then ramp up from there. Some of my favorite postpartum workouts are from Beachbody On Demand, which is exactly what I started with postpartum!
I know it can be overwhelming to take this all, so tackle things slowly and be kind to yourself. You won’t be perfect, and it may take a little longer than you like. But if you stick to these general guidelines, I promise you’ll be looking and feeling awesome!
You’ve got this #momboss 🙂