Dieting When Breastfeeding
It’s only natural that after your baby is born you want to lose some of that pregnancy weight that you gained.
However, if you’re going to be breastfeeding your newborn baby there are some things that you need to be aware of when it comes to dieting and what you’re eating.
After all, you’re still eating for two even though your pregnancy is now over. Some of the calories that your body needs to have in order to produce milk are provided by the fat reserves you stored during your pregnancy.
True dieting isn’t on your agenda when you’re breastfeeding as you’re still going to need some extra daily calories so that you can supply enough milk for your baby.
You can expect that your body will need an extra 300 to 400 calories a day during the first three months of breastfeeding.
This is to ensure that you keep up your energy and so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs to produce nutritious breast milk. You won’t be able to produce milk if your body is undernourished.
The issue of not really being able to diet when you’re breastfeeding is much more about your baby’s health than it is about your own health at this time.
The good news is that as you start to wean your baby, your body will need fewer calories.
At this time, you can make more of an effort to lose the weight that you gained during your pregnancy.
Eating the Right Foods for Breastfeeding
Most women aren’t at risk of not eating enough food when they’re breastfeeding. Where they are going wrong is in eating the right kinds of foods for producing breast milk.
There are no special rules of eating that you need to follow when you’re breastfeeding. If you’re eating habits are already quite healthy then there’s not much else that you’ll need to do.
Except of course make sure that you’re eating that extra 300 calories that your body needs during lactation.
Many women take advantage of these extra calories by eating healthy each day and then making up those 300 calories in a special treat that they wouldn’t allow themselves every day if they weren’t nursing.
Allow yourself that extra chocolate, ice cream, or cookie that you normally say no to.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Make sure that you drink enough water when you’re nursing. It doesn’t mean that you need to drink like a camel at this time, however, drink whenever you feel thirsty.
Fluids don’t include coffee. It means pure and simple water. Some lactation experts will tell you that you need to be drinking a lot more water than you usually do.
So far there’s not enough evidence for this and the jury is still out.
Skip the Alcohol
Some experts say a bit of alcohol is okay while others recommend that you skip the drinks altogether. For the first six weeks avoid any alcohol.
After the six weeks, if you time it right, you can enjoy the occasional drink now and then. For instance, after you feed your baby before putting him down for the night you can enjoy a small glass of wine.
By the time he wakes up for his next feeding the alcohol will be out of your system. Some mothers express that first milk after a drink and just dispose of it.
Watch Out of Allergies
If you have a family history of allergies then you’ll want to avoid eating peanuts while you’re nursing. This includes any foods that contain peanuts as well.
You should also watch out for certain herbal teas when you’re breastfeeding. Some herbs are considered to be unsafe to use at this time.
Safe herbal teas include raspberry, peppermint, rosehip, and chamomile. Another thing to avoid when breastfeeding is aspartame.
Aspartame is passed through your milk to your baby and this is something that you definitely don’t want your baby exposed to.
When It’s Safe to Lose Weight
If you gained a lot of weight during your pregnancy and are now quite overweight, then it’s okay for you to start shedding a few pounds when you’re breastfeeding since you’ll have fat stored that will be used to produce your breast milk.
Don’t drastically reduce your calorie consumption as a sudden drop in calories can adversely affect your breast milk.
Losing one pound each week after your baby is six weeks old is considered to be safe for you and your baby.
If you’re losing more than one pound, then it’s a sign that you need to eat more calories so that you can keep up your milk supply.
The Weight WILL Come Off
Be gentle with yourself. This is a time to enjoy your newborn baby and settle into a routine that you both enjoy when it comes to breastfeeding.
Your main focus shouldn’t be losing weight so that you can fit into your skinny jeans again.
Once you’re no longer breastfeeding you can spend more time working on getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Until then, focus on providing your baby with all the milk he needs.