There is an ongoing debate about whether breastfeeding really does play a significant role in weight loss. Can we resort to breastfeeding alone to attain our pre-pregnancy weight? Can we eliminate the need for a healthy diet and exercise plan to lose weight? Or does breastfeeding play no role at all in weight loss?
Before we talk about whether breastfeeding helps mothers to lose weight, let’s talk about why it is important for a mother to eat healthy while breastfeeding. Most moms know the importance of eating healthy during pregnancy, but many don’t know that it is equally important to eat well while breastfeeding. A mother must consume nutrient-rich foods during the nursing period, as her baby gets his/her nutrients directly from their mother’s milk. If the mother does not eat healthy, the baby would not get the nourishment essential for their growth.
After giving birth, mothers do tend to lose some of the weight that was gained during pregnancy. This weight constitutes the placenta, blood and fluids that nourished the baby inside the womb and of course, the baby. So, if a mother did not gain a lot of weight during her pregnancy, it would be easier to bounce back to her pre-pregnancy weight. However, if a mother gained more weight than what was required for the pregnancy, it becomes difficult for her to lose it post birth. So, in order to lose weight postpartum, they must combine a good diet plan with an effective daily workout plan, along with breastfeeding.
While breastfeeding does burn 300-400 calories, mothers are expected to consume those extra hundred calories to make up for the energy spent on breastfeeding. So, when mothers claim they lose a lot of weight due to breastfeeding, they may not be eating healthy amounts of food to counteract the calories burned by nursing their baby. These mothers would thus get very tired and would not have any energy to perform day-to-day activities. This can be fixed by having timely meals and consuming a diet rich in protein and fibre. The protein consumption provides a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. The fibre consumption helps with digestion and also, does not add to the calorie count. To keep your hunger at bay, prepare simple healthy treats to keep snacking on throughout the day.
Eating healthy foods is beneficial to both the mother and child, and it is important to do so while maintaining an active lifestyle. The reason is simple – if the mother does not perform any exercises, she would not be able to lose weight. The food she eats makes up for the calories lost in breastfeeding. The weight loss however, depends on how many calories are burned through exercise. Postpartum, moms can perform milder exercises like walking, to begin with. They can gradually move on to more intense workout regimes over the course of 5-6 months and under the guidance of a health and fitness expert.
So, while breastfeeding does burn a lot of calories, it cannot be termed as the sole reason for weight loss. However, a healthy diet combined with daily exercises would definitely bring you closer to your dream weight.