Losing weight while breastfeeding is safe and perhaps even easy – if you have the right tips! These post pregnancy weight loss tips range from what to eat to when to work out.
“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” ~ A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh.
I have a lifetime commitment to regular exercise and, as the mother of four children, have found some very realistic and effective techniques for getting back into shape. You do not need a babysitter, a gym membership, weights, or fancy equipment. All you need are a supportive bra, sneakers, and willpower! If your willpower is weak at night, read 7 Ways to Stop Eating at Night – From Blindfolds to Gum.
Weight Loss for Moms – Post Pregnancy Tips
Realistically, how does the breastfeeding mother of a newborn find ways to get back into shape? You are tired, hungry, and overwhelmed, while carrying your infant around twelve hours a day. You are still recovering from the trauma of birth and your breasts are full of milk. You may also be afraid of losing your milk. These post pregnancy weight loss tips are safe and healthy.
Don’t be too concerned about losing weight while breastfeeding
After the initial weight loss of approximately 20 pounds, which includes the weight of the baby plus blood and water, it will be some time before you start dropping a significant number of pounds. Many new moms also retain a good 10 to 15 pounds of water for the entire time they breastfeed. Right now your goal is fitness. You will be replacing fat with muscle, and eventually that muscle will help you lose weight while breastfeeding.
Drink lots of water and snack frequently on fruits, nuts, and whole grains
These foods will give you the energy you need to get through your active day, include some exercise, and still produce enough nutritious breast milk for your baby. And, they’re easy to eat with one hand! Drinking lots of water will help your milk supply. A good post pregnancy weight loss tip is to make sure you’re consuming at least the extra 500 calories you need for producing breast milk, in addition to what you may be burning off during your exercise routine.
For more post pregnancy weight loss tips, read What is More Important When You Want to Lose Weight – Exercise or Diet?
Walk every day – it’s one of the best ways to lose weight while breastfeeding!
For the first six weeks, walking should be your primary source of exercise. Go for frequent, short, slow outdoor walks while pushing the baby in a carriage. Carry water with you. Gradually increase the length of your walks and the speed of your stride. Even if you desperately want to lose weight while breastfeeding, you need to ease into your workout routine.
Gradually add sit-ups to your post pregnancy work out routine
Avoid trying to lose weight while breastfeeding until the first six weeks have passed, you’re no longer bleeding, and your doctor has given permission. Start with one sit up. Add one per day until you can do five. Gradually build up in sets of five. New moms, doing sit ups on your bed will take the stress off your back. When your baby is older, you can have her sit on the front of your legs and pull yourself up to her. Sit ups are the best core exercise for your abdominals. Once your child can sit up, he can sit on your stomach and add resistance.
Do push-ups in sets of five
If cannot do a full body push-up at first, rest on your knees and push up the upper body. Push-ups will help keep your breasts in shape as well as your back and arms. If you can do a full body push-up you will also strengthen your abdominal muscles. You can also do backwards push-ups to prevent “jiggle” on the backs of the arms. To do these, sit on the floor with your legs extended. Support yourself on the backs of your arms and push up. Toddlers can sit on their mothers’ backs to add to the challenge.
Intensify your post pregnancy work outs when you’re ready
Once your milk supply has been established, you can start more intense cardiovascular exercise. Walking can be alternated with jogging, gradually making the jogging portions longer until you phase out the walking. If you feel dizzy or light-headed while jogging, go back to walking. Purchase a running stroller once the baby is old enough to sit up in one. Once the baby is old enough for a bicycle safety seat, you can enjoy long bicycle rides together. Don’t forget a helmet for yourself as well as for the baby!
Sign up for my free weekly "She Blossoms" newsletter
If you include your children in your daily workouts from a young age, they will grow up with an active lifestyle and have a healthy head start on life.
Exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight while breastfeeding – and different moms have different ways to work out. Some find gentle post pregnancy yoga most helpful, while others prefer more of a boot camp work out for new moms.
For more tips for losing weight, read Weight Loss Shortcuts From Dr Oz – From Apples to Gym Bags.
If you have any thoughts or questions about losing weight while breastfeeding, please comment below…
About the author: Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller is a Long Island write-at-home mother to four active children. She blogs at The Divine Gift of Motherhood and writes the column The Long Island Motherhood Examiner. Her poem “Morning Run” was published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners’ Edition”.