Safe Dieting for Breastfeeding Moms

What to do to lose weight while nursing your baby

  • Wait to begin any type of weight-loss program until your baby is four weeks old.
  • Choose foods from every food group every day. Both you and your baby need at least 6 servings of whole grains, 3 servings of fruit, 4 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of dairy and 6-8 ounces of protein every day. Continue to take your prenatal vitamin to fill in any gaps.
  • Reduce your calorie intake by limiting junk food -- chips, cookies, soda, cakes and candy. If you eat healthy foods at meals and for snacks, you won't be hungry for these foods anyway.
  • Remember to eat 1,800-2,000 calories a day. If you're losing more than one pound a week, you need to eat even more.
  • Drink 8-12 glasses of water a day. Your body needs additional fluid to produce breast milk, and the best beverage is plain old water. Juice, soda and sweetened beverages can add unwanted calories.
  • Instead of jumping on the exercise bike and sweating away for an hour, take it easy. Begin with 10-15 minutes of walking and gradually work your way up to 45 minutes a day. Use easy to moderate aerobic exercise tapes, use an exercise bike or treadmill, swim or take your baby for a walk if weather permits. Sure you're busy with a newborn, but to lose weight and tone your body you need good old-fashioned exercise.

Think about long-term goals of health and weight loss instead of focusing on the short term. It took you nine months to gain weight, and it may take at least that long to lose it. If you started your pregnancy overweight or gained more than 40 pounds during your pregnancy, it may take you longer to lose the additional weight. Remember your primary goal is nursing a healthy, happy baby.

Got a question or comment for Lynn? Post it on the Healthy Eating Expert message board!

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