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