The Truth About Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

The Truth About Breastfeeding and Weight Loss - Titty City Design - Scale - 8008 - Boobs 

Estimated read time: 11 minutes

We've all heard the stories.

You know the ones. When you breastfeed you automatically lose all the baby weight. Heck, it’s one of the reasons lots of women choose to breastfeed!

But, is there a connection between breastfeeding and weight loss? And does breastfeeding help weight loss?

First thing’s first mama. You are perfect, just the way you are. You’ve just spent nine months growing and sustaining a whole freaking human (or humans!), plus, you’ve given birth. You’re amazing. An absolute goddess and you don’t need to change a dang thing about yourself. 

If, however, you want to shed a few pounds FOR YOU and your health (mental or physical), then we’re here, as always, to support you. So, read on to discover the truth about breastfeeding and weight loss. 

Does Breastfeeding Help Weight Loss?

Your breast milk is magical. 

Breastfeeding has a whole heap of amazing benefits, both for you and your baby. As well as being the perfect baby food, breastfeeding can strengthen your baby’s immune system, help promote brain development, help your uterus contract, save you time and money, help reduce your risk of developing some cancers, and a lot more (you can read about the benefits of breastfeeding here). 

And one of the benefits a lot of mamas like is the potential to lose weight more quickly after giving birth. 

Of course, the time needed to lose weight postpartum varies from woman to woman, but lots of mamas report that nursing helped them get back in shape more quickly. There is a lot of pressure in society for moms to “bounce back” after giving birth. We see pictures in magazines and on social media of celebrity moms hanging out with their newborn babe looking pretty much identical to how they did pre-pregnancy.

And that can cause a lot of us regular mamas to feel down about ourselves. Well, if we all had round-the-clock help with our babies, a personal trainer, and a nutritionist to hand, we might get the same results too. But, come on. Most of us don’t have those things. So, it’s down to our own hard work to get the results we want for ourselves. 

While many moms report breastfeeding helped them lose weight, there are just as many (including our founder Jessy), who didn’t notice any weight loss. Some even gain weight while breastfeeding.

And that is totally ok and 100% normal!

The amount of weight you’ll lose while breastfeeding depends on a few factors. These include:

  • Weight gain during pregnancy
  • Eating habits
  • Overall health
  • Pre-pregnancy weight
  • Activity level

When you first give birth, you’ll lose weight in the form of your baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, and excess fluid, which can account for around 15 to 17 pounds in the first few weeks. 

Breastfeeding can help your tummy slim down quicker, as it makes your uterus contract, which will shrink it down to its pre-pregnancy size within about 6 weeks of giving birth. 

 

    How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn?

    In order to produce breast milk, your body will burn extra calories. 

    On average, moms burn about 500 to 700 extra calories a day while producing breast milk (a lot of work goes on in those beautiful Boobies), which COULD lead to faster weight loss after giving birth. 

    However, just because you are burning extra calories, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll contribute to weight loss. There are many factors to take into account, such as those listed above, plus genetic and metabolic factors, which will impact weight loss after birth. 

    Studies have shown that exclusively breastfeeding can see a loss of about 1 - 2 pounds a month, and, over time, breastfeeding mamas tend to lose more weight than those who do not breastfeed. 

    What you have to remember is every body is different, and postpartum bodies come in all glorious shapes and sizes. There is no right way to look, and you need to do whatever you can to make yourself happy. Body positivity is always the way forward. 

     

    Eating Well While Breastfeeding

    We know how tough it can be to look after yourself with a newborn on your hands (and constantly on your Boobs), but nourishing yourself is super important. Your body is doing a huge amount of work, and you need additional calories to support it. 

    You also need energy to recover from giving birth, especially if you had a hard time. Your body needs to heal itself, so providing it with the right energy from nutritious foods is essential. The amount of calories you need differs from person to person, especially as your baby drinks a different amount of milk every day, and the composition of your milk is always changing.  

    It’s important that you follow your body’s signals. It’s normal for a breastfeeding mom to feel hungrier and thirstier than non-breastfeeding moms, so don’t ignore it. If you’re feeling hungry, fill up on healthy, nutritious foods and drink loads of water

    Another thing to remember is how important it is to take care of your mental health. Giving birth and the months postpartum can be super stressful, and when you experience high-stress levels, your body produces more cortisol - also known as the stress hormone. This hormone can impact your ability to lose weight, as it ramps up the appetite-stimulating hormone.

    So, accept all the help you’re offered, and ask for help if none is offered. Take care of yourself mama, and you’ll feel all the better for it.  

     

    How to Safely Lose Weight While Breastfeeding 

    While you’re breastfeeding, it’s not the best idea to try and lose weight quickly by going on a low-calorie diet. Your body, and your milk, need nutrients, and by drastically cutting down on calories, you could cause a drop in your precious breast milk supply.

    The same goes for so-called “diet pills.” While these may help weight loss, they also contain herbs and other ingredients that could get into your breastmilk, and therefore into your baby. Always check with your doctor first before taking any kind of medication.

    If you’re keen to lose a few pounds while breastfeeding, then there are some things you can do to help yourself do it safely.

    1) Fill up on healthy food.

    We know how tempting it is to just say “screw it, I’m ordering another pizza,” but junk food is full of empty calories, that might taste great but won’t do your body any favors. Try limiting your favorite treat foods to once or twice a week and fuel your body with healthy foods.

    Lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, oats, nuts, lean meats and fish, and other great breastfeeding foods. To lose weight safely while breastfeeding, you’ll need to eat at least 1,800 calories a day and aim to lose (at most) one pound per week. But this also depends on factors such as your BMI, age, activity level, and whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding. 

    2) Speak to your doctor about exercise.


    Depending on your birth, you might have to wait a little longer to begin exercising again, but if you had a normal, vaginal delivery without complications, you should be able to start doing some gentle exercise at about 6 weeks postpartum. C-section mamas will take longer to heal, and it’s best to get advice before jumping into a new exercise regime.  

    3) Getting enough sleep can also help with weight loss.


    It’s always difficult to try and get a good night’s sleep with a newborn around, especially when you’re breastfeeding, but get as much rest as you can, as lack of sleep can lead to difficulty in losing weight.  

    4) Go slowly mama!


    You didn’t put on your pregnancy weight in a day, so don’t expect to lose it quickly. Get advice from medical experts and trainers with experience working with new mamas, and always take care of yourself. 

          You're Perfect, Just the Way You Are

          While there have been numerous studies on breastfeeding and weight change, the results are inconclusive. While some women find breastfeeding did help them shed pounds, there are just as many others, including celebrities such as Serena Williams, who found it didn’t help at all. It’s not always a guarantee for every breastfeeding mom. 

          With breastfeeding and weight loss, it’s best to work towards gradual weight loss by eating three healthy meals a day, wholesome snacks when you’re feeling hungry, lots of water, plenty of sleep, and gentle exercise. Just remember - slowly and safely. 

          The truth of the matter is, that women’s bodies change after having a baby, and we need to be more accepting of our new amazing bodies, that have created and sustained life. Growing and birthing a baby is no small feat, and your body is a reminder that you just did something incredible. And we’re so proud of you!

           

          At Titty City Design, we believe that every boobie is beautiful, and that should be celebrated. We are a female-owned and operated, small business here to spread self-love and body positivity with our line of boob apparel, boob accessories, and boob-themed decor and products for the home. A portion of our proceeds goes to help support postpartum people and breast cancer patients.

          Products that Breastfeeding Moms Love




          Breastfeeding Milk Goddess

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