BREASTFEEDING AND WEIGHT LOSS
Mums want to know how soon they will be able to regain their pre-pregnancy weight after the birth of the baby. Most experts advise mothers that the act of breastfeeding their babies will help reduce the weight gained during pregnancy, but are reluctant to put a time frame to it.
If you are a breastfeeding mum looking for ways to lose weight while breastfeeding, it is important to know that cutting down on calorie intake while breastfeeding, can often have the opposite effect. The problem usually is not that you are eating too many calories, but more often the problem is that you are taking in insufficient calories. If you cut down on calories while you are breastfeeding, your body is prompted to think that it is starving, and it slows down your metabolism. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to you, taking in more calories while breastfeeding will actually facilitate the process of weight loss, because the body is not trying to hold onto fat in order to store it for lean times.
WEIGHT GAIN DURING PREGNANCY
During pregnancy it is beneficial for your body and for the growth of the baby to gain extra weight. Approximately five to twelve pounds of weight gained is maternal stores, which supplies extra energy to the mothers body as well as to the baby for healthy growth. Any additional weight over and above this may mean that you have gained a larger maternal store. The larger your maternal store is at birth, the harder it will be for you to lose weight.
Fat reserves are the bodys way of protecting itself from starvation when food may not be readily available. This automatic fat storage is controlled by the brain and kicks in as soon as there is lack of food to convert into energy, especially during times that the body needs extra energy, such as during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your body will guard against starvation by storing fat, especially during pregnancy when extra demands are made on your body to supply energy to the baby.
BREASTFEEDING AND WEIGHT LOSS
Here are a few basic principles you need to know if you would like start losing weight after birth, while at the same time ensuring that you are consuming enough calories to adequately supply the milk needs of your baby:
Eat smaller meals every few hours instead of three main meals. A good guide is to eat something after you breastfeed, which is normally every three to four hours.
Breastfeeding and weight loss requires that you drink lots of water which forms an important part of metabolic processes in the body. Drink an 8 oz glass of water every time you breastfeed, even during the night.
If you feel hungry, it is the bodys way of alerting you that it needs more energy.
Ensuring that your meals contain an adequate balance of protein, carbohydrate and unsaturated fat will prevent you from feeling hungry a couple of hours after eating.
When you have been given permission to start exercising, plan a fitness routine to include cardio-vascular as well as strength training. Taking walks and pushing the stroller are wonderful ways to get exercise.
Dont partake in any drastic dieting while you are breastfeeding as you will just defeat the object and you may become nutrient deficient.
Some experts recommend the nine months up and nine months down principle of losing weight while breastfeeding. Nine months of pregnancy to put on weight and nine months after birth to lose the weight. This principle may or may not work for you. Be patient and enjoy your breastfeeding time with your baby.