Lola aka @flygirllovexxx asked:
I want to know, Can I start dieting if I am still nursing my baby? He is 8 months now. I still would like to nurse at nite????
Lola, I am so proud of you for breastfeeding! What an excellent sacrifice you are making for your son! I breastfed each of my daughters for a combined total of 32 months. I ate healthy, exercised and lost the entire 40lbs of pregnancy weight while breastfeeding – so yes it can be done!
However, Dieting, as in strictly reducing your caloric intake while breastfeeding is not reccommended. That said, if your normal diet is full of junk food, sodas etc… Then by all means you can (and should) reduce your caloric intake and eat healthier. Here are six guidelines from kellymom.com to safe weightloss while nursing:
- Wait until your baby is two months old before dieting
It’s best not to do anything consciously to lose weight until after the second month. This gives your body enough time to successfully establish a healthy milk supply that is less likely to be adversely affected if your caloric intake is restricted. Breastfeeding your baby, on average, burns 200-500 calories per day (above what you needed to maintain your pre-pregnancy weight) — so keep in mind that even without a weight loss program you are burning extra calories.
- Breastfeed without restriction
Research tells us that both more frequent breastfeeding and breastfeeding longer than six months increases maternal weight loss.
- Eat at least 1500-1800 calories per day
While nursing, you should not consume less than 1500-1800 calories per day, and most women should stay at the high end of this range. Some mothers will require much more than this, but studies show that going below this number may put supply at risk.
- Keep weight loss at less than 1.5 pounds per week
Most moms can safely lose up to 1.5 pounds per week or 6 pounds per month after the second month and not affect milk supply or baby’s well being. One study has suggested that short-term weight loss of 2.2 pounds (1 kg) per week is not a problem (in this study, moms dieted for 11 days).
- Decrease the calories gradually
A sudden drop in calories can reduce milk supply. Some moms notice this during an illness, although dehydration and/or medication use could also be a factor in reduced milk supply when mom is sick. It has been hypothesized that a sudden calorie decrease can cause mom’s body to go into “starvation mode” and cut nonessential resources such as milk production.
- Avoid quick-fix solutions
Liquid diets, low-carb diets, fad diets, weight loss medication, etc. are not recommended while breastfeeding.
Here’s how I lost the weight and beat the munchies I had while nursing:
I ate, ate, ate. But I only ate nutritious stuff. I gave myself a free-for-all on fruits and veggies. I could eat as much as I wanted as long as it fell into those food groups. I ate constantly – or at least it seemed like it. Whenever baby nursed, I snacked. Yogourt, cheese, fruit, veggies, tuna and crackers etc. By keeping my tmmy feeling full I was less likely to turn to low-nutritional value, high-calorie foods. I tried to avoid processed foods and cooked as many fresh meals as I could. Oh – and I exercised. Yes – exercise is safe while nursing as well. I did a baby and mommy post-natal fitness class twice a week and I went to a strollerfit class once a week. Kellymom.com also has some exercise guidelines for breastfeeding moms:
- For your own comfort, you may wish to nurse before exercising and wear a good, supportive bra (especially during strenuous exercises such as running, jumping, etc).
- Some babies don’t like nursing when mom has been sweating (due to the salt on mom’s skin) so you may wish to rinse your breasts or take a shower before nursing.
- If you regularly lift weights or do other exercises involving repetitive arm movement and you develop plugged ducts, cut back and start again more slowly.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
So, Lola, with a few precautions, losing weight after the baby is certainly possible. Congrats on the birth of your son, and congrats for breastfeeding!
Please send any questions you’d like answered to: janice AT fitnesscheerleader DOT com