Before we understand more about weight loss while breastfeeding, we have to realize the fact that it is important to put weight during pregnancy for the normal health of the mother and the child.
During pregnancy, though you are encouraged to gain weight you should keep it within manageable limits. You have to be aware of the fact that around five to 12 pounds of extra weight is because of maternal stores or extra fat that is often used as energy.
Pregnancy Weight Gain – Why?
If you have weight in excess of the above limit, you may have to take steps to reduce the excess amount of maternal stores. If you do not make efforts to get rid of this maternal store at the end of the pregnancy, the more difficult will be your task of getting back to normal weight post-pregnancy.
Fat reserves in the body are equal to the insurance plan that we take to ensure our well being. These fat reserves come in handy when we are deprived of normal food or when the food we need is not readily available.
When you are in the habit of eating too little during pregnancy, illness or breastfeeding, your body will take it as a signal of starvation and will start adjusting its metabolism accordingly. The metabolism rate will slow down allowing body to conserve more energy and fat than it would have done under the normal circumstances.
We have to understand the fact that reserves of fat are very necessary to keep the body in good healthy round the clock. Fat is an important source of energy and when it is not supplied through food, the body takes it from its reserves. So, the body’s answer to lack of adequate food is by slowing down the metabolism rate.
Weight Loss After Pregnancy
You have to follow the right nutrition plan once you are through with your delivery and you will slowly start losing weight and come back to your pre-delivery weight under the normal circumstances.
However, in some cases you may have to make some slight changes and tweaks to ensure that your body starts making use of the maternal stores which may be needed for breastfeeding and other such purposes. In fact the main reason why doctors recommend breast feeding is to help burn away maternal stores and help the woman to get back to her pre-delivery weight.
Your body is a wonderful machine which has been designed to produce enough milk for your new born child. When energy is needed for producing milk, the body makes use of the maternal store and uses it according to the child’s need for milk. Apart from being the best way to nourish your child, breastfeeding as mentioned above is without doubt on the best ways to lose weight naturally.
When you are breastfeeding your child, your body is converting the nutrients that you eat into baby milk. This is a very demanding function and requires an additional 750 calories to convert nutrients into breast milk. So, if you are overweight, the goal of most nutritionists is to dip into the maternal store and use it for converting the same into breast milk. This is as good as any moderate exercise and your body will be able to burn around 250 to 300 calories each day just by breastfeeding.
Many women suffer from overweight problems even when they are breastfeeding. The problem has got more to do with eating of insufficient calories than anything else. The moment you cut down on calories, the body thinks that you are starving and starts conserving energy by slowing down the metabolism process. So eating adequately and eating the right nutrients works in reducing weight post-pregnancy rather than increasing it. Read about this Safe Weight Loss Plan for You!
Tips to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
Let us over the next few lines try and find out the ways and means by which you can ensure a nutritious food habit post-pregnancy which certainly will help in your weight management process.
- You should eat balanced food every few hours. Newborn babies need to be fed every two to three hours which would call for the body to produce energy that much frequently and in higher quantities.
- Drinking lot of water helps a lot because your breast milk is 50% water. Water also helps a lot in your metabolic process. It would be a good habit to drink at least 8 ounces of water after every breast feeding session. When you are feeling the slightest sign of hunger, you should immediately start eating something. Delaying may lead to body slowing down the metabolism which will lead to putting on more weight.
- Understanding the importance of a good post-pregnancy exercise plan and sticking to it is also very important. You should know how to make a judicious mix of both strength and cardio exercises. You should understand the fact that during pregnancy you gained weight gradually and slowly and hence your weight loss process should also be gradual and slow instead of being in fits and starts.
- You should also keep in mind that if you have other children to take care and have a lot of household chores to take care of, you should ensure that you eat more calories for meeting these additional energy requirements. Though there could be some theoretical approaches to this, the best way forward to listen to your hunger cues and take immediate steps to eat nutritious food.
- As mentioned above splitting your meals into smaller lots is the secret to having the right energy levels and also avoiding excess fat build up after pregnancy.
So, at the end of the day, while child birth is indeed a very wonderful and fulfilling experience, losing weight after pregnancy and returning back to the pre-pregnancy weight should not be a big problem. This will be a cakewalk provided you understand the importance of regular eating of foods and understanding the importance of extra calories for meeting breastfeeding, exercising and other such needs. Starving yourself in the hope that you will lose weight will certainly be counter productive.