When can a breastfeeding mom begin to lose weight?

Posted: Mar 25, 2013

Weight gain during pregnancy is normal, natural and healthy; however, a common concern of new mothers is losing the weight gained during pregnancy.
 
How much weight you lose following the birth of your baby is associated with how much weight you gained during pregnancy. If you gained more weight than recommended, it may take longer to lose it. Patience is important. That weight did not get put on overnight and time will be needed for the weight to be lost. This is one reason it is advised that women do not exceed the recommended pregnancy weight gain.
 
Getting back to a healthy weight after delivery is important for your health. The longer you keep extra weight on, the less likely you are to lose it.
 
You may have heard that breastfeeding helps you to lose weight. While this may be true for some women who breastfeed longer than six months, it’s not always the case. Even so, breastfeeding is important and offers other health benefits for you and your baby.
 
Wait until breastfeeding is going really well before trying to lose weight. Lose weight slowly. A weight loss of about .5kg (1 a pound) a week is safe and shouldn’t impact your milk supply. If you notice a change in your milk supply talk to your doctor. 

Following Canada’s Food Guide will help keep you and your baby healthy.  A diet that is too low in calories and nutrients can affect the quality of your breastmilk.
 
To help you achieve a gradual, healthy weight loss, make small changes to your eating and physical activity habits.
 

Make healthy food choices


Two simple habits that can help are:
 
  • Enjoy more vegetables and fruit every day. Have fruit with breakfast, nibble on veggies for a snack and fill ½ your plate with vegetables at dinner.
  • Eat smaller portions. When you snack, put a small amount of food in a bowl or on a plate. Don’t eat out of the package – it can lead to overeating. At meals, use smaller plates and bowls so you can serve yourself less food; big portions lead to overeating.

 

Be active


As a new mom, it can be hard to find time to be active. Start slowly and look for 10-minute time chunks of time to be active. A quick walk around the block pushing the baby carriage is a good start. When you are ready, slowly increase your daily exercise to help support healthy weight loss.
 
For help with healthy weight loss during breastfeeding, talk to  a registered dietitian or your doctor. To find a dietitian in your area, visit www.dietitians.ca/find.