|I'm frustrated that I'm not losing any weight like other breastfeeding moms. Is there anything I can do to lose weight while breastfeeding?|
|Converting the nutrients you eat into milk for your baby commands 750 calories a day. Extra fat stores are naturally deposited during pregnancy to help in this process. Because of these fat reserves, breastfeeding moms only have to eat 300-500 additional calories each day. When you are eating this recommended amount of additional calories and exclusively breastfeeding, your body will get the additional calories it needs from the fat reserves. Therefore, you should experience a slow and steady weight loss toward your pre-pregnancy weight.
Weight loss problems arise when you do not eat enough calories to meet your breastfeeding needs (equal to your pre-pregnancy calorie needs for weight maintenance plus 300 to 500 calories).
The human body is designed to protect itself from starvation, during times of greatly reduced food availability. When you eat too little (especially during times that your body is under great demand, such as breastfeeding), your body literally thinks it’s starving. To compensate, your metabolism slows down considerably, preventing you from losing weight. In this state, your body will preferentially burn everything but your stored body fat, as it continues to work to convert nutrients into milk to meet the demands of your baby.
If all the info you entered during your BabyFit program set-up is accurate, and if you have used the Post-Pregnancy Nutritional Transition to adjust your calories for breastfeeding, then your calorie range should be accurate for a healthy rate of weight loss, while still producing good quality milk to meet your baby's demand.
Bottom line: the key to a slow, healthy rate of weight loss while breastfeeding is to meet your recommended calorie needs while getting regular exercise (after you have been cleared by your medical provider).
Tanya Jolliffe, BabyFit healthy eating expert