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.
After you have a baby, you may think that breastfeeding will cause the baby weight to just fall off naturally. You can eat what you need, and before you know it, you are back to your pre-baby weight with no major effort. Actually, losing the baby weight while breastfeeding can happen naturally, with no workout plans or fitness regimens.
I know exactly how to lose weight while breastfeeding, without working out because that is exactly how I lost the baby weight fast after my first two pregnancies.
Here’s a quick run down of my experience, what I’ve learned, what didn’t work, and how you can do it too!
- Eat as CLEAN as possible for every snack and meal (more on what this looks like below)
- Use protein shakes for fast nutrition
- Walk as much as possible
- Don’t eat unless you are hungry (intermittent fasting can work really well!)
- Use milk supply boosters to protect milk supply
- Drink too much water
- Don’t be afraid of a little coffee (it can really help give you the energy you need!)
This is losing the baby weight with only your diet in a nut shell. Your diet is 80% of your weight loss!!
Many mamas think losing the baby weight comes down to having a workout plan. While this is important, your workouts are not the key to your weight after baby. Especially if you are breastfeeding, you actually don’t need to work out at all to lose the weight. This is where many mamas get discouraged, or find themselves working out and not losing weight.
Let’s get into everything breastfeeding, diet and weight loss, so you can get back to your pre-baby weight quickly and naturally.
How your breastfeeding diet affects weight loss and milk supply:
Understanding how your diet is going to affect your weight loss and milk supply is really important in this process. Losing weight is much simpler than many fitness gurus, marketing plans and coaches make it seem. Your energy level input needs to be less than your output. Don’t let yourself deviate from this concept at all. If you eat less calories than you use, you will drop weight easily. But, of course there are some questions about milk supply that come into play here.
Science is starting to show that caloric intake does not affect milk supply if there is fat to use as nutrients and fuel. This is really, really important to understand.
Maternal plasma prolactin concentration generally increases under conditions of negative energy balance, which may serve to protect lactation. Source
If you reduce your calories, THAT WILL NOT CAUSE YOUR MILK SUPPLY TO DROP.
Here’s where most mamas mistake their lower calorie diet for causing a milk supply drop. They eat less NUTRIENTS, which in turn affects hormonal functions, causes more nutrient deficiencies and can interrupt your body’s ability to produce nutrient-dense milk.
Reducing calories is the first step, but eating nutrient-dense calories is just as important!
Filling your caloric intake with cookies, cakes and ice cream is going to offer you and baby no essential nutrients. You can still lose weight, but you won’t feel that great, and your milk supply could suffer. Eating tons of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, beans, nuts, sweet potatoes, quinoa and oatmeal is going to allow you to eat more volume and nutrients for less calories. You will feel great, have lots of nutrients to give to yourself and baby, and keep your hormones functioning properly and optimally. In my program, I advise mamas to eat as clean as possible and not worry about calories at first. It is more important to switch your eating style first, then reduce calories as needed when breastfeeding.
Cleaning up your breastfeeding diet for natural weight loss:
Cleaning up your diet for weight loss after pregnancy is really important because it is the key to protecting your milk supply, providing baby with nutrients and keeping yourself nourished. There are many benefits to eating a clean diet besides weight loss. Both you and baby need nutrients, which you can only get through diet. Without eating these foods, you can’t get the nutrients like Vitamin B12 (for baby’s brain and energy levels) that are necessary. A reduced amount of vitamins has been linked to drops in milk supply as well.
Clean foods are also amazing galactagogues! There is a great list of the best, healthy and clean foods to eat that can help you increase your milk supply, while also losing weight. By eating clean, you are helping your body let go of fat, and keep your milk supply. But what does a healthy, clean breastfeeding diet look like?
Components of a clean breastfeeding diet:
- Unlimited fruits and veggies (lots of nutrients!)
- Lean protein (try this special, breastfeeding protein powder that helps with weight loss!!)
- Limited nuts, seeds, nut butters (these are nutrient-dense, but calories add up fast)
- No refined sugar, processed foods (chips, cookies, crackers, breads)
- Very limited dairy (greek yogurt, goat cheese, parmesan cheese)
- Healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, some sprouted breads, beans
This is the basics of a clean breastfeeding diet. If you want a full meal plan and diet that follows these guidelines, I highly recommend my program, The Postpartum Cure, which comes in an app, lots of recipes, workouts, ab and pelvic floor repair work and more! If you aren’t sure if you are ready to eat this way, I want you to try it for 10 days. I have a free, 10-day program with some recipes that will walk you through it. You can lose weight in 10 days, and see if a clean eating plan is right for you!
Eating clean is the number one reason I was able to lose weight quickly after my first two pregnancies. I just wasn’t able to fit in workouts at this time because I had a 19-month-old and a brand new baby. Anyone who has ever had a toddler and a baby knows there is no chance of a workout in this stage! I would attempt to start a home workout, and I would be interrupted so many times!! I also couldn’t leave either of them in a gym day care without floods of tears, so I just let go of working out. Eating clean wasn’t super easy, though I have been eating healthy for many years now, so I have good habits in place. One of them is protein shakes! Protein is super important if you are losing weight without working out.
Now, as I talk about eating clean, I also drank some coffee!! Not much, maybe a cup or so, and it helped me tremendously to just make it through the day. A small amount of caffeine isn’t going to hurt your baby, and it can really help you get through those energy crashes that
Why protein is essential for losing weight after pregnancy, when you aren’t working out:
Protein is really important for weight loss because it helps you stay full longer an maintains your lean muscle mass. Protein is going to help you keep your current muscle mass. This is the one downfall of losing weight, but not working out – you also lose muscle. Your body naturally uses fat and muscle in calorie deficit, and your muscles may atrophy a bit if you aren’t as active with a new baby, as maybe you were during pregnancy. By consuming enough protein, you can help keep your tone and muscle, but still lose fat. Protein is also really important for blood sugar control, sugar cravings, cell repair after birth or c-section, and controlling hunger.
Not sure about you, but I craved carbs while breastfeeding, so I used protein shakes to combat this.
I created the protein powder I wished I had now, that is specifically formulated to help new mommies increase their milk supply, while also lose weight. It provides some essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and superfoods like spirulina and chlorella, as well as folate, chromium, magnesium, potassium and more! These are researched nutrients that both moms and babies need to thrive. This protein powder is called Milk Dust, and it also has a nice, sweet taste! One of the best ways to curb a sugar craving is to have something sweet! Milk Dust is sweetened with Stevia, Monk Fruit and organic cane juice which satisfies sweet cravings without the blood sugar impact!! It also has Chromium, Cinnamon Bark and Tumeric, which have all been used to help balance blood sugar and manage sugar cravings!
Protein powder can be an amazing tool to blend up some awesome fruits and veggies in a quick, yummy shake that satisfies nutrient needs and a sweet tooth. That was where protein shakes really helped me. I didn’t want to eat much meat at all, I wanted carbs and sweet things. I knew how important it was to consume enough protein, so this was my way to drink protein, and still have something sweet.
Since I wasn’t working out, but I was eating healthy, I decided I needed to walk as much as possible. Walking is really beneficial to weight loss because it burns fat, helps reduce hunger, and it can increase mood.
Walking for natural weight loss while breastfeeding:
Because I had a 19-month-old and new baby, I was very busy chasing after my oldest, with my baby in a front pack. I was blessed with a super active toddler, who literally wouldn’t play on his own at all. I had to get outside and walk him, go to parks, explore and ultimately just keep moving to keep him from getting into things. My activity was all day, walking and moving around, sometimes playing toys, trying to clean, making chicken nuggets and that was about it. All day movement adds up fast. If you can keep yourself moving, and even breastfeed while standing, then you can help yourself use more calories and burn fat! Now, I walk a lot throughout the day with my boys at parks, the zoo, around the neighborhood and still try to stay slowly active.
Walking and diet alone can definitely help you lose weight naturally, but there are some issues to know when you aren’t working out.
Why skipping workouts isn’t a long-term solution:
Taking the pressure off of working out can be so helpful as a new mommy. With a baby, or toddlers running around, trying to fit in a workout is almost impossible. BUT, as the kids get older, and you can grab more time to yourself, you will want to start working out.
When you don’t workout out, as I mentioned, you lose muscle. This can leave you feeling flabby and skinny fat. That was me after my first two pregnancies, and I really got it together with my third. I was able get myself to fit in workouts with my third in the carrier because my other two started playing together. As my two older kids became best friends, I was left with some space to workout and maintain my fitness leveled.
Losing muscle also means your metabolism will slow down. Working out increases muscle mass, which also increases your metabolism. This allows you to eat more food, and still stay lean! By eating less and less, and losing muscle, your metabolism can get super slow, so this is why I suggest losing weight with diet in the beginning, eating enough protein and then getting into a fitness regimen when you can. I am now able to put all three of my kids in a stroller, or leave them happy in a gym daycare, which is a new, free feeling! So, you will get there. The workouts will come, and your diet is so important to your overall health, well being, and weight loss.