Breastfeeding and weight loss

Breastfeeding and weight loss - Transcript

Lots and lots of us are concerned about body image and weight gain. And I do get a lot of queries from ladies who are wondering how breastfeeding is going to impact on this for them. What we do know is that certainly for many, many mothers, there is a gradual weight loss over the first six months. And it’s certainly been estimated for mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding, that there’s a potential to lose 1.6 pounds per month, as those months go by. And this can obviously vary from person to person.

Although the research on breastfeeding and weight loss is a little bit mixed at times, certainly studies from the 90’s and also one form 2008 suggests that breastfeeding mothers, exclusively breastfeeding mothers, can have that potential of getting their pre-pregnancy weight back faster than somebody who exclusively breastfed for maybe four months, or who formula fed. And I think it’s really encouraging to know that during breastfeeding your body is utilising fat that has been laid down during pregnancy, and your body can be using up anywhere between 300-500 extra calories per day to make that milk alone. So this is a really encouraging piece of information.

And you can imagine if you really wanted to go to a gym to burn off that amount of calories for instance, you’d have to do quite a workout. So just knowing that sitting there feeding your baby, is utilising calories in that way is a very encouraging thing.

You might have noticed however, that when breastfeeding you are naturally feeling quite hungry, so it is possible to over-eat as well. The idea is that you eat to hunger, and it stands to reason that if you’re doing this, then your body is using up those extra calories as well, so you stand a far better chance of losing that weight. And this is probably why some women will say that they haven’t lost any weight at all, and some lose a load of weight, so it is very variable in person to person.

And please remember that your baby will go through various growth spurts, throughout the first year particularly, 2-4 days of constant feeding, and at those times, you’ll feel more hungry. So please eat to hunger at that time.

Studies have shown that the majority of you will provide a really good abundance supply for your baby, by taking in at least 1800 calories or more. This is the normal amount, less than that there I potential for reduction of milk supply. So eat to hunger and enjoy the benefits of losing weight naturally while you feed your baby.

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

V1 published June 2017. Next review date: April 2020

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