Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breastfeeding and weight loss

Although you have had your baby, your nutritional needs have not really changed as long as you are breastfeeding.  You will need about an additional 500 calories more per day while you are breastfeeding.

During pregnancy you put on a few pounds of fat stores that you will burn while breastfeeding, just another advantage of breastfeeding.  Despite what you eat you will make milk, however if you do not eat a balanced diet you may find yourself becoming very fatigued.  The baby will get what he needs and you will be the one to suffer. 

You may find that every time you sit down to nurse your baby you become thirsty.  This is because the body takes water from your system to make breast milk.  If you are thirsty then drink, a good goal is 6-8 glasses of fluids a day.  Try to have a glass of water or juice each time you sit down to nurse your baby.

I often hear new moms ask how to go about shedding those extra pounds they put on during pregnancy.  The first thing to remember is the weight did not come on all at once so don’t expect it to come off in a week or two.  While you are breastfeeding do not make drastic changes to your diet for the first couple of months.  The most important thing you will be doing in the beginning is establishing an adequate milk supply.  You have enough to think about in those early weeks and milk supply is one of the most important ones.  You burn about 200-500 calories per day breastfeeding, so even without a weight loss program you can see the pounds come off. 

One of the best ways to start shedding those extra pounds would be to cut out those empty calorie foods and focus on healthy eating.  Things like cookies, candy, chips, and soda are just some examples of those foods that are low in nutritional value.  Focus on a balance of foods.  For more information go to www.MyPyramid.gov.   Choose what you eat wisely, eat three smaller meals per day with healthy snacks in between, and get regular exercise in moderation.  Once you have the okay from your health care provider to resume exercise do so, but start out slowly.  Walking with the baby in the stroller is a great way to get fresh air and exercise.

Whatever you do don’t diet or “starve” yourself in regaining your pre-pregnancy shape.  Nutritious eating is important for keeping you strong and healthy postpartum.

Becky Law is a certified lactation consultant and Manager of Childbirth and Lactation Services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

1 comment:

  1. when i was nursing my midwife kept me on my prenatal vitamin...maybe talk to your midwife about getting a persciption again.
    Breastfeeding diet