I don’t know about you, but as soon as I was healed from giving birth, I was ready to get back into shape and feel good in my body. My body felt foreign and stretched and I was craving to feel energized and tight again! All of these feelings tormented me because the most important thing to me was to breastfeed for at least the first year of Grant’s life. I was deathly afraid, that if I went the “cutting of calories route,” my supply would disappear.
After an entire year of exclusively breastfeeding + getting into the best shape of my life, this is what I learned:
People often talk about how breastfeeding is the best way to lose weight after baby – and in some ways, it can be! You burn a lot of extra calories, and if it’s balanced right, that can result in weight loss. This is what happened to me BUT my goal wasn’t to get skinny, it was to get strong and lean. For some women, this is not the case. They can either gain weight while breastfeeding OR lose too much weight and their supply drops.
While breastfeeding, you need to determine your BMR – which is basically how many calories you burn by existing and doing your typical schedule. On top of that, I would add 300-500 calories. But what if you workout 5+ times a week? Well, this is the calculator I used to calculate how many calories I HAD to get in.
Try to avoid fatty/sugary foods. It’s normal to get extra hungry while breastfeeding, listen to that message from your body – just make sure you are eating healthy!
Here are some tasty plant-based recipes that will help you eat enough while still making a healthier choice. I also recommend these 3 pregnancy and postpartum smoothies to all my clients to ensure they are hitting all the necessary nutrients required being a mamma. Think whole plant-based foods and healthy fats!
RELAX MORE AND STRESS LESS
I have always read that stress can lower a mother’s milk supply, but didn’t really believe it. However, with some PP anxiety and moving states + the baby blues, I was feeling it. I noticed how on stressful days, my supply would drop significantly.
When I started putting my relaxation and mental health first, my milk supply came right back. If you have mom guilt, have a hard time taking care of yourself before your kids, or just have the mommy blues, here is what I did to find my identity after being a mom.
DRINK MORE WATER
Commit to a gallon a day. Cut back on the sodas completely and sugary caffeinated beverages that aren’t serving you. You can do it. Your health is worth it.
SLOW AND STEADY
There is no race to get back to your pre-baby body. No one is watching and keeping score. The only thing that matters is you and your babies health. While you are breastfeeding, be right there with your baby, not focused on tasks or extra lbs.
Quick fixes never work long term. Hence when I work with my clients, we work week by week making tiny tweaks so they can have sustainable lifelong weight loss. Don’t try and lose a ton of weight at once. It’s not healthy, and if you do a crash diet, you’ll be at much higher risk of losing your breastmilk supply. Aim to lose no more than 1 lbs a week OR if you want to get even more advanced – hit a new PR in the gym each week. That way you begin putting on more muscle – faster metabolism – more fat loss.
No matter what your weight loss or weight gain goals are, we are all in this together. Breastfeeding is the best thing you can give your child (if you are able) and losing a few pounds isn’t worth the risk in losing your milk production so take it easy, listen to your body, and definitely consult with your doctor.
EVERY MOTHER IS DIFFERENT
Every body is different. You may notice a change in your milk production when you start going to the gym. Maybe instead you start with at home workouts and walk every morning. One thing I would recommend is to not drastically drop calories or hit the gym super hard. Ease in and take note of your supply and body. Your body is loud, you just have to listen.
For me, I have been building muscle and toning up, so I personally didn’t lower my calories to lose weight. I actually upped my calories and protein intake to put on that lean muscle and to get rid of that initial softness that I had after giving birth. Now, I am 1 year PP, 10 lbs below my pre-pregnancy body, and stronger than I ever have been. Your fitness goals can happen, just give it time.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any suggestions on how you lost weight while keeping your milk supply, I would love to hear them. Don’t forget to follow me or reach out on IG!!- plantingseedsmamma.