The moment your sweet, tiny newborn is placed on your chest, the love and joy you feel is truly indescribable. But let’s be real - as you embrace your precious miracle, a little voice in the back of your head may also be wondering “how long will it take to lose this baby weight?”
That question is top-of-mind for many new moms post-delivery. Throughout pregnancy, you watch your body expand and stretch in ways you never thought possible. Then labor and delivery further take you to the limits of human endurance.
After such an intense physical journey to bring your baby into the world, it’s perfectly natural to be ready to start reclaiming your pre-baby body. But just how much can breastfeeding actually help you slim down? This post will take an in-depth look at the evidence.
How Breastfeeding Burns Extra Calories?It’s commonly touted that breastfeeding helps new mothers lose weight faster. When your baby suckles at your breast, the stimulation triggers your body to release milk. This milk has to come from somewhere, right?
Producing breast milk requires extra energy, which means your body needs to burn additional calories. Some sources estimate that breastfeeding burns around 500 extra calories per day compared to formula feeding. Over the course of weeks and months, this calorie deficit could lead to burning through fat stores more quickly.
However, experts caution that the actual numbers vary widely. Every woman’s milk production and calorie burn differs based on factors like genetics, age, and breast size. So while breastfeeding does ramp up your metabolism, the amount of weight loss it generates differs for each mom.
Related info: Can Breastfeeding Promote Weight Loss?
Other Impacts of Nursing on Postpartum Weight
Burning extra calories is not the only way breastfeeding may influence postpartum weight loss. The hormonal response is also believed to play a role.
The hormone prolactin increases when you nurse your baby. Prolactin inhibits ovulation and estrogen production, which may impact metabolism. The relaxing, pleasurable hormone oxytocin also surges during nursing sessions. Oxytocin has been shown to reduce stress levels, which can lessen the urge to emotionally overeat.
Some women also report feeling hungrier when breastfeeding, which could counteract the extra calorie burn. The only way to maximize breastfeeding’s weight loss potential is to follow an exclusive and rigorous nursing schedule. Supplementing with formula or pumping less may reduce that calorie deficit.
Dieting and Exercise Cautions for Breastfeeding Moms
If you want to tap into breastfeeding’s calorie-torching potential, what you eat matters too. Sticking to a healthy postpartum diet with moderate calorie control can encourage weight loss. But severe calorie restriction can negatively impact milk supply.
Light exercise may also speed up your post-baby slim down. However, intense workouts and excessive cardio could lead to calories being diverted away from milk production. Any big increase in activity levels should be approved by your doctor. Know more info about exercise after delivery here.
Most importantly - take it slow! Gradual weight loss of 1 pounds per week or 4 pounds per month is safest while breastfeeding. Losing weight too rapidly could release environmental toxins stored in fat into your milk. Let your body and baby guide your pace.
The Verdict: Don't Rely on Breastfeeding Alone
While breastfeeding may contribute to postpartum weight loss for some women, it is not a guarantee or quick fix. Results vary widely based on individual factors. Don't put pressure on yourself to lose weight a certain way. And remember - nourishing your baby is your only job right now!
Focus first on establishing a healthy breastfeeding relationship. Follow your pediatrician's guidance on feeding frequency and exclusively. Prioritize nutritious foods, proper hydration, rest, and bonding time over calorie counts.
Be patient with your postpartum body and allow it time to recover. With realistic expectations, you can stay motivated and feel empowered through the process. Trust that the weight will come off gradually as you embrace this new chapter of motherhood.
You may want to know more methods about loss weight: What Is The Best Exercise For Weight Loss After Delivery?