Dieting While Breastfeeding

July 01, 2021

dieting and breastfeeding

In July, summer bodies and dieting programs seem to be everywhere

On television and online we are inundated with “hit your goal weight fast!” or “lose weight while eating your favorite foods!”. But the worst of the worst are the ads that target freshly postpartum mothers. They promise things like, “drop that baby weight fast!” 

Fad dieting and diet culture has become such a normal thing that we hardly bat an eye at these clever marketing tactics. But we would love to remind you that to have a summer body you only need two things. 

  1. Have a body.
  2. In the Summer.

If your goal is to be a more healthy version of yourself we completely support that!!! And we can help. 

  • Let’s talk about calories. What a big scary word! Don’t back up. We can do this! You body burns anywhere from 300-600 calories per day just to make milk for your baby (Campbell, Lauwers, Mannel, & Spencer, 2019).  Every mother’s body is different, which is why there is a wide range here.  Does that mean that you will lose weight just by breastfeeding?  The answer to that question is complicated and really depends on the mother’s body.  Some women store extra fat while breastfeeding and others lose weight easily.  Should you eat 300-600 extra calories per day?  No, you should eat when you are hungry and do not worry about calories right now.  Your body has been through a lot and needs to be nourished.  Make sure your calories are coming from healthy, nutrient dense foods are a great place to start. Beverages are super sneaky and are frequently full of empty calories. Love fruit? Everyone does! Give veggies some extra attention and you may find a whole new rainbow to love.  
  • Spread out your meals! 3 meals a day is so old school. Small frequent meals and snacks throughout the day (Just like your breastfeeding baby!) is the way to go. Apples and nut butter, cheese and almonds, yogurt with chia seeds, mama eat ALL the yummy snacks!!
  • Take it easy like Sunday morning. Meaning… Don’t rush into exercise. Even after you have been cleared by your physician, take it slow. Your body took a long time to create that person/people and it’s going to take a while to heal too. So, maybe cool it on the crossfit until your pelvic floor feels strong again.
  • Fad diets are just an all around bad idea whether you are breastfeeding or not. They also pose a very real risk of hospitalization that most companies do not disclose. If a healthier you is your goal, there are extremely educated people who can help. TADA! Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Skip the toxic diet culture and just make an appointment with someone who can help for real. 

Mama, this summer will be over before you know it… so just wear that swimsuit, get in the pool and have FUN! Your baby won’t remember how fit you were, but they will remember your smile.

Campbell, S.H., Lauwers, J., Mannel, R. & Spencer, B. (2019). Core curriculum for interdisciplinary lactation care. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

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