When it comes to weight loss and breastfeeding, everyone has an opinion – celebrities, your mothers’ group, your mum, your friends and of course, Dr Google. Being a new mum is a confusing time! 12WBT Dietitian Erica Grandjean is setting a few things straight on this topic!
Weight Loss While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is not about weight loss, it’s about breastfeeding – feeding your new bub with nourishing milk so that they can grow and develop into perfect little humans. Sure, weight loss can happen along the way but it’s not the time to be breaking weight loss records. With all the information around us, it can be hard to remember that.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association recommend that losing weight in a slow, sustainable way is best – and we agree! A loss of up to half a kilogram per week is safe for breastfeeding mothers and very achievable, without having to make a million compromises. Fad diets are not the answer – healthy eating and regular exercise is the way to go!
As with any weight loss journey, this may not happen consistently and that’s okay. Whether you lose weight right away or only once you start weaning, it’s all normal and nothing positive comes from comparing yourself to other women. We, as women, are experts at this but now is the time to let all that go. Be proud of your body and new ‘mum’ status. Although it’s important for women to lose their baby weight at some point (for long-term health and vitality), there is no rush.
Extra Nutrition is Essential while Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding takes work! Most women will need an extra 500 calories each day if they are exclusively breastfeeding. There is no special diet that you need to follow (phew!), just a variety of wholesome, nutrient-dense foods including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy and quality sources of protein. These will give you the energy and nutrients you need to feel great (sleep deprivation aside!) and for your baby to grow and develop.
At 12WBT we recommend that breastfeeding mothers start with our 1800 Calorie Meal Plan, making adjustments to suit their individual requirements as needed. Our 12WBT Post-Baby Program is created by experts, so you get all the nutrition you need for you and bub, while working towards getting back in shape.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Every woman and every baby is so different. Having a baby makes life unpredictable and what you plan to do, just might not happen all of the time. As one of our new mums on Support Crew, Dane said, “You sleep when that baby sleeps!”
Through such an exciting and exhausting time, be kind to yourself. Know that you probably won’t be able to cook every planned meal, complete every workout or reach your ultimate goal weight ASAP, and if you can, that’s fantastic. Listen to your body, forget about comparisons and do the best you can to nourish yourself and your new bundle of joy!
Erica is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a strong interest in nutrition for new mums and weekend warrior athletes. Erica is also a Group Fitness Instructor who loves to sweat it out while helping people kick their fitness goals.