The bonus of breast-feeding
Breast-feeding can also help you lose weight gained during pregnancy. This is because when you breast-feed, you use fat cells stored in your body during pregnancy — along with calories from your diet — to fuel your milk production and feed your baby.
Set realistic weight-loss goals
Most women lose more than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) during childbirth, including the weight of the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid. During the first week after delivery, you'll lose additional weight as you shed retained fluids — but the fat stored during pregnancy won't disappear on its own.
Through diet and exercise, it's reasonable to lose up to 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) a week. It might take six months or even longer to return to your pre-pregnancy weight, whether you're breast-feeding or not. Even then, your weight might be distributed differently from how it was before pregnancy.
Be gentle with yourself as you accept the changes in your body. Above all, take pride in your healthy lifestyle.
July 31, 2015
See more In-depth
- Frequently asked questions. Labor, delivery, and postpartum care FAQ131. Exercise after pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-After-Pregnancy. Accessed June 22, 2015.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed June 22, 2015.
- Artal R. Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period: Practical recommendations. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 22, 2015.
- Berens P. Overview of postpartum care. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 22, 2015.
- Gillen-Goldstein J, et al. Nutrition in pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 22, 2015.
- Mottola MF. Exercise prescription for overweight and obese women: Pregnancy and postpartum. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2009;36:301.
- Weight loss while breastfeeding. United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/pregnancy-breastfeeding/weight-loss.html. Accessed June 25, 2015.