How Can I Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Without Affecting My Milk Supply?



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For
many women, the first thing that’s on their mind after they have their
baby is “I want to lose all of this weight that I gained during my
pregnancy.” And so a lot of women think that they’ll just go on a crash
diet and go into an exercise frenzy, and lose all the weight quickly. Now
that would be in an ideal world. But there’s a few things to keep in
mind. First of all, it’s not good to start exercising until after you’ve
let your body totally heal–and this especially includes your uterus,
because the vessels that were feeding your baby are still there after
your baby’s delivered, and your uterus needs to clamp down like a
turniquet to control the bleeding. And as you’ve probably noticed, your
uterus only shrinks down to about the level of your belly button right
after delivery, but over the next six weeks it will shrink down to its
normal pre-pregnant size, behind your pubic bone. If you increase
activity too soon, you can start to bleed again, or you’re inhibiting
your uterus from bleeding, so most doctors recommend that you don’t
start vigorous exercise until about six weeks after a vaginal delivery,
and about eight weeks after a C-section, so that your body’s totally
healed. And at that point, you can start any exercise program
that you feel is going to suit you well. Some women like to start out
gradually with just walking; some women are really into running; some
like to go to the gym and just get out of the house for a little while;
some like to do exercise programs or videos at their house–whatever is
going to work for you, as long as you’re doing something then that’s
good. Get your heart rate up, get into your target heart rate zone (and
there’s tons of different calculators on the internet that you can check
out to find out what that is, according to your weight and height and
age), but just just get into a good fat-burning zone.Research is
showing that it’s best to combine cardiovascular exercise with strength
training, so weight lifting (not like body builders weight lifting, but
you know, just moderate weight lifting in combination with
cardiovascular exercise) will help rev your metabolism, and help burn
fat and calories even at rest, because the more muscle mass you have,
the more calories your body requires even at rest. So that’s a good
thing when you’re trying to lose weight. When it comes to
exercise, you should exercise a minimum of 30 minutes on most days of
the week. If you can only exercise though 30 minutes on 3-4 days of the
week, then that’s totally fine. Just do as much as you can and develop a
routine–which is possible, even with a young baby. And you’re going to
be very tired from sleep deprivation, but you’ll find that exercise
actually helps increase your morale and make you feel better about
things overall. As far as dieting goes, you need to be careful,
because you essentially put in your milk supply for the whole
breastfeeding experience during the first two months after you’ve had a
baby, and you need to make sure you’re getting enough calories to
provide for your body’s needs as well as to provide for the milk that
you’re making for your baby. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you
need about 400-500 extra calories a day, as compared to only about 300
extra calories during pregnancy. People feel like they can eat for two
while they’re pregnant, then go on crash diets after delivery, and that
causes a problem with milk supply. So exercise doesn’t necessarily have
as big of an impact as what you’re eating might, so make sure you’re
eating enough calories each day. And make sure that they’re good,
healthy calories–it’s not necessarily an excuse to eat two big donuts
every day–make sure that you’re eating more whole grains, more fruits
and vegetables, good lean proteins, and drinking a lot of water. Make
sure that you’re well hydrated, especially if you’re exercising, because
if you’re not well hydrated and not eating enough calories, that’s when
it might start affecting your milk supply. But generally
speaking, women don’t necessarily notice a decrease in their milk supply
associated with the time that they start exercising. Maybe if your’e
doing super-vigorous exercise, you might notice a slight decrease in
spite of eating enough calories and drinking a lot of fluids–just cut
back on the intensity and see if it makes a little bit of a difference. There
are other techniques you can try, before you stop exercising–because
exercise is good for you. Feed your baby more frequently throughout the
day. So if your baby normally eats every 2-3 hours, throw in an extra
feeding every now and then during the day. Or if you have a pump
available to you, pump for 10 minutes after each nursing session during
the day.If you have any medical conditions that might affect your ability to exercise, be sure to talk to your doctor

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