If you’re like most new mothers, you may be worried about losing weight after pregnancy and the birth of your baby. And, maybe you’ve heard that breastfeeding can help with weight loss. But, is it true? Well, yes and no. It all depends on you and your situation.It will be easier to lose your pregnancy weight if you can stay within the recommended guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy. For someone of average weight, based on your body mass index (BMI), you should gain about 25 to 35 pounds (12 to 16 kg) during pregnancy. If you’re underweight when you conceive your child, you may be urged to gain more weight. And, if you’re overweight when you become pregnant, your doctor may suggest that you gain less weight. But, the more weight you put on over the recommended amount, the more you will have to lose after your baby is born.
Breastfeeding may help you to reach your weight loss goals faster because it burns calories. Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day. So, even though you are eating more, you can still lose weight. Studies show that women who exclusively breastfeed are more likely to lose their pregnancy weight by about six months after their babies are born compared to women who do not breastfeed.
Begin Slowly. After your postpartum checkup at about six weeks after the birth of your baby, you can usually start to lose weight gradually at the rate of about 2 to 3 pounds per month. If you’re considerably overweight, you may be able to try to lose more weight each month. Speak to your doctor, a lactation consultant, or a nutritionist to help you plan a healthy weight loss program that includes enough nutrition for both you and your baby.
Weight loss is different for everyone. Some women lose weight easily, and others struggle. Some women lose too much weight after the birth of their child, and others are still carrying that extra baby weight when their kids go off to college. While it would be great if we could all gain the perfect amount of weight during pregnancy then lose it all in 6 months, that’s just not realistic. A busy new mom who has to return to work right away will have a different experience than a stay-at-home mom having her fourth child. Bodies are different, and situations are different.