Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

You may have heard that breastfeeding is the best way to lose baby weight. For many mothers, exclusive breastfeeding does help with weight loss. But is that a hard-and-fast rule?

Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day in the first few months and roughly 600 a day as your baby grows. Some research does show that breastfeeding can affect weight loss. But it’s not necessarily true for everyone. Some lactating mamas hold on to their weight, no matter how much exercise and dieting they do.

And while that extra weight may be annoying, the gift of the breastfeeding relationship can sometimes outweigh frustrations with weight loss—or it may not. Listen to yourself, your baby and your body to learn what will work best for you in terms of losing weight during lactation.

It’s fine to try to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes while you’re breastfeeding, especially after the first few months. But don’t go overboard. Losing too much weight or restricting calories can affect milk negatively.

So be careful if you embark on a diet and exercise plan. Make sure you’re getting enough calories to sustain both you and your baby, especially those that come from a well-rounded, healthy diet of whole foods such as meat, fruits, vegetables and grains.

See also ...

•  Weight loss for mothers

• Exercise and nursing

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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