This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and wieghtloss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
Calories are a big deal while breastfeeding and working on losing the baby weight. A lot of mamas have no clue how much they should be eating, thus they never attempt to monitor their intake. Trying to figure out your calorie needs while breastfeeding sounds totally complicated, but it actually isn’t at all!
I go more into detail on how to do this in my program, The Postpartum Cure. If you are struggling to lose the baby weight, want to heal your postpartum body and work on minimizing the pooch, this program is for you. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of nourishing and healing your body. Figuring out calories is very important, but I also talk about how it may not be the number of calories you need to change, but the quality of those calories.
In my FREE 14-day clean eating challenge, you get a chance to start working on the quality of your calories, rather than the quantity. Sometimes that is all you need, just to shift focus on the type of foods you are eating.
Still, whenever losing weight, you want to get a grip on how much you should be eating, and breastfeeding can make it difficulty because there isn’t really a way to know how many calories your body is using to make breast milk. The number of calories your body uses to feed your baby is completely unique to you, so let’s go over how you can figure this out:
Get an Easy-To-Use App:
MyFitnessPal is easy to use, and it has a TON of foods in it. You can also calculate your personal recipes and creations on there, so you will know how many calories per serving any recipe you make is. All you do is type in the ingredients and amounts, and how many servings you want it to be. In my program, I found the BEST clean, nourishing and healing salads and dinner recipes! You can check out the 7 of the healing salads, or some of the healing smoothies that are included. AND, I just saw that the app, Pact will pay you if you stick to your food logging goals with MyFitnessPal. Might as well make some money while you are doing it! To be honest with you, I can’t stand logging food intake. I really prefer to eat based on quality foods, and feeling whether my body is hungry or just craving something. By filling up on fruit and vegetables and eating clean protein. This protein powder is the best and safest for breastfeeding, you can learn to eat based on knowing your body and what nutrients it needs. I go over this more in depth in The Postpartum Cure.
Log Three Days of Normal Eating:
Next, I want you to eat just like normal, and log everything you eat. I am assuming that you’ve already established a healthy milk supply. If you haven’t, I wouldn’t suggest trying to restrict calories. I would suggest going for a cleaner diet, and eating as much of nutrient-dense foods as you can. This protein powder and shakes help me, as well as filling myself up with foods that are full of the nutrients you need.
If your milk supply is great, and you are eating nutrient-dense foods, but you think you need to cut back a bit to lose the last few pounds, then logging three days of what you would normally eat is going to help so much. This will give you an average of the number of calories you are eating.
I can’t tell you how many calories you need. You have to figure that out because so many factors play a role. Your height, genetics, metabolism, muscle mass and more. It is so important that you figure out your ideal calorie intake for your body.
Let’s say you are currently eating 2100 calories, and you feel great, your milk supply is healthy, but you have more fat to lose. Let’s get into what to do next.
Cut Back on Calories Slowly:
If you are at 2100, try cutting back to 2000 every day. This will give your body time to adjust, ensure your milk production stays steady with a smaller amount of food, and it is a reasonable goal. 100 calories is not much to cut back on each day, so it will set you up for success. If you do this for 3 days, and you feel fabulous, try 200 the next few days.
Here’s where a tricky part comes in. If you are a shorter, maybe under 5.2″, and eating 4000 calories, with limited postpartum exercise. I would suggest cutting your calories down slowly, but get closer to the 2000 range. But, I’m assuming that all those extra calories are getting stored. If you are 5.7″ eating 2500 calories, with 10 lbs to lose, the amount of calories to reduce is much less.
Because I don’t know you, your weight, your genetics and physical activity, I can’t advise you on how far to reduce your calories. I don’t know where you are starting, and how far you want to go. BUT, I can tell you that by slowly reducing your calories from your normal eating range will help you lose weight. Being responsible and learning about your body is your biggest role in doing this.
If you are looking to lose a few pounds, even 10-15, this method works great because you only need to reduce your caloric intake to about 200 a day to get there.
How to Protect Your Breast milk When Cutting Calories:
I think it is important to note that when cutting calories, your can still protect your milk supply by focusing on the type of calories you are putting in. I find protein shakes to be super helpful, lots of fruits and veggies, sweet potatoes and more. You can check out these foods, or these supply boosters that I like to help!