Breastfeeding Nutrition & Postpartum Weight Loss
If you’re reading this, you might have just welcomed your newborn into the world and you may feel it’s time to jump back on track with your health and wellness. (Congratulations by the way!). If this sounds like you, and you’re still breastfeeding, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a handy guide on safe breastfeeding weight loss to help you reach your post-partum goals and ensure your baby is getting the best nourishment that it needs from you.
We cover two key topics that many women ask after pregnancy, so read on to learn about the best approach to getting healthy and also ensuring you are getting enough energy and nutrients to safely breastfeed.
Is losing weight while breastfeeding safe?
First of all, it’s completely normal to carry extra weight during pregnancy and for the months following. The extra nourishment you need to support the healthy development of your baby during gestation and afterwards while breastfeeding is completely healthy. It’s important to not beat yourself up about losing it fast because your body has been through some MAJOR changes!
It’s also important to note that just like pregnancy itself, every mother’s journey post-pregnancy will be different and the time it takes to lose this extra ‘baby’ weight will vary.
While breastfeeding, it’s best to lose the extra weight gradually, using healthy eating principles and adding in extra exercise over time. A loss of up to about half a kilo per week is safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Ensuring you’re getting the right nutrition as a mother is important. Research shows that exclusively breastfeeding mothers tend to burn on average 500 additional calories a day just from breastfeeding — that’s the equivalent of a small meal, a large snack, or performing 45–60 minutes of medium-intensity physical exercise!
Breastfeeding nutrition and your postpartum diet
Whilst breastfeeding, aiming to eat a minimum of 1,800 calories per day is key to keeping up your milk supply and energy levels. This postpartum diet may change and might need to be readjusted with the help of a dietitian over time as you stop or slow down breastfeeding. Generally, we recommend focusing on a variety of nutritious food groups – these will encourage weight loss gradually. Below are some examples.
Include lean protein including:
- Protein powders
- My Muscle Chef snacks are protein-packed and help keep you feeling fuller for longer while reducing cravings. If you’re looking for ways to get extra protein into your diet, try our Protein Cookies packed with 25g of protein or our Protein Shakes with a huge 34g of protein each
Complex carbohydrates and wholegrains including:
- Whole grain bread
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta
- Sweet potatoes
- Try to avoid empty calorie carbs from ‘white’ products like white bread, pasta, and sugary snacks such as typical cookies and cakes whenever possible! When portioning up your carbohydrates, only fill ¼ of your plate and aim for ½ vegetables and ¼ protein.
And healthy fats including:
- Nuts (walnuts and almonds are the best!)
- Nut butter
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Olive oil
- Why not try some ¼ avocado sliced on 2 slices of multigrain toast or ½ cup rolled oats with ½ skim milk topped with 1 tsp chia seeds and almonds for breakfast?
Tips for losing weight while breastfeeding
During and after pregnancy your diet is not the only thing that changes - a lot is going on! It’s therefore important to focus on regaining a routine and healthy lifestyle. This not only will help with your weight loss goals but also your overall health and well-being. Here are some of our top tips for postpartum weight loss.
1. Include plenty of fruit and vegetables
Make sure you include 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables each day! Snacking on fruit or vegetable sticks is a great way to add extra fibre into your diet which helps you feel full and can enhance postpartum weight loss.
2. Postpartum exercise
Once it’s safe too, ease into some gentle postpartum exercise such as yoga or walking, aiming for approximately 30 minutes per day (with clearance from a GP or medical professional).
3. Drink plenty of water
When breastfeeding, it’s important to stay hydrated. Aim for 2.5-3L of water per day!
4. Avoid skipping meals
Don’t skip meals while breastfeeding, even if you’re trying to lose weight. Skipping meals can slow down your metabolism and cause your energy to drop. Try to consume 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks per day.
It may be difficult to get those hours of sleep in with a new baby at home, but it’s important to rest when you can. This will help your body recover faster and supports muscle recovery once you return to exercising.
Whatever the size of your postpartum weight loss goal, it’s best to consult your dietitian or doctor to achieve weight loss safely. If you would like more information, contact our dietitian team at email@example.com. You can also check out our extensive range of meals that will help to supply you with the necessary fuel and nutrients throughout the day.
- Kominiarek, M. A., & Rajan, P. (2016). Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation. The Medical clinics of North America, 100(6), 1199–1215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2016.06.004