Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN
We are aware of the health benefits breastfeeding provides to your baby, but what about mom?
Breastfeeding: a Boost for Losing Post-Pregnancy Pounds
Research shows that moms who breastfeed, lose the weight picked up during pregnancy much faster than moms who don’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding can burn 600 plus calories daily, depending on your baby’s (or babies’) appetite and age. Those who are familiar with exercise know how hard one has to work in the gym to burn this amount of calories. Breastfeeding is certainly not a replacement for exercise, but it does give your body a little boost with losing those post- pregnancy pounds.
Calories burned during breastfeeding is equivalent to:
Swim 80 minutes
Sprint 45 minutes
Tennis 75 minutes
Yoga 3 hours
Tips to Help You Feel Your Best While Breastfeeding
In addition, most moms who are breastfeeding are still cautious about what foods they’re consuming. Healthy eating should continue postpartum and in the years to come. The quality of calories consumed is equally as important as quantity- especially when breastfeeding. Rather than focusing on a specific calorie number, try to focus on eating quality foods.
Here are a few tips to help you feel your best while breastfeeding:
- Increase real, non-processed foods (fruits, vegetables, healthy fats like avocados and nuts).
- Limit your intake of added sugars (both real and artificial sweeteners).
- Try to remind yourself to eat frequently. This is often difficult for new moms but essential in controlling your hormone and energy levels.
- Keep water handy to drink while you are nursing. It’s a good reminder to stay hydrated.
This is not the time to restrict calories or experiment with fasting! Listen to your body and eat when you feel the need. It is important to understand the difference in actually being hungry and having a craving for a particular food. You may notice that when your baby is going through a growth spurt, you are hungrier on those days. It is important to feed your body properly at this time.
Your baby weight may melt right off, like magic, if you are the rare lucky one; however, most women do not lose all their baby weight until they stop nursing. When your baby goes through a growth spurt, it can signal your body to keep some extra fat stored for your baby’s nourishment. Hormones may also influence weight loss. As soon as you and your baby start to wean, and your hormones return to normal, the last few pounds should start to shift.
Your body is remarkable and can support your baby with milk even while you are ill, recovering from birth, and/or getting little sleep! Treat your body (and baby) well by providing as many nutrients as you can and eating a healthy balanced diet. Be sure to set realistic goals for the new you, and be good to yourself. This will be a gift you give yourself long after breastfeeding ends.
Support for breastfeeding moms: Touro Lactation Store
Touro offers a full-service retail store where families can purchase products specifically for breastfeeding needs. The store is conveniently located on the second floor of the hospital near the Family Birthing Center. The Center also offers bra fittings by appointments free of charge and sells breastfeeding products and pump pieces.
To learn more, visit: www.touro.com/FBC-lactation or call 504-897-8130.
Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian at Touro Infirmary. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. Julie believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable, and brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling.