Most breastfeeding moms I talk to mention the struggle they have with wanting to lose weight while also maintaining their milk supply. This, by far, has been the hardest part of breastfeed (once we made our way past latching issues). Women are constantly under pressure to look a certain way and to lose the baby weight fast and new moms are in constant fear of not being able to feed their babies.
It took me nearly a year to get to a point where I understood what things worked for me to keep my supply up and to start losing weight. Today, I am going to share a little of what I have learned. I am not a dietician nor am I an expert, these are just things that I have learned that work for me – so take them at that and know that what worked for me may not work for you.
- Be a maniac in logging your food – every single bite has got to be tracked. Knowing how your calorie intake affects your supply is crucial to understanding how many calories you need to eat in order to keep your supply up. Plus, all that mindless eating adds up.
- Don’t be afraid to eat – seriously. I hear so many breastfeeding moms say they are eating 1200 or 1500 calories a day. This, simply put, is not enough to feed you and your baby. Very few people can actually survive on less than 1500 calories a day. It isn’t healthy. Calculate your BMR and add 300-500 calories to accommodate the burn from breastfeeding (roughly 20 calories per ounce produced) and try not to dip below this number. Bottom line … EAT. Food fuels you and your baby.
- Be flexible – if you’ve calculated your BMR and added 500, but the scale isn’t moving try eating 100 calories more each day for a week and see if that moves the needle. If that doesn’t work, cut back to your BMR + 300 calories. Weight loss can stall if you are eating too much, but also if you are eating too little. The only way to know which is causing this for you is to keep testing it.
- Hydrate – seriously. Drink all the water. The goal is at least half your body weight (if you weight 160, push to drink 80 ounces). If you drink caffeinated beverages, add a glass of water for every one you have.
- Exercise – this is a nonnegotiable for me. Even if it is adding a 30 minute walk every day, move your body. And like I mentioned last week, make it a priority and commit to yourself.
- Don’t deprive yourself – if you want a cookie. Eat a damn cookie. For real. Denying yourself the cookie will only lead to bingeing later.
- Know one size does not fit all – just because this worked for me, does not mean it will work with you.
- Be patient – do not expect to lose 80 pounds in 2 months. Most importantly, know that not losing weight is ok. Focus on being healthy and feeling good. Once you drop the pressure on yourself and just focus on doing what is right and good, the weight will find its way off.