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.
Breastfeeding often throws a wrench in the weight loss process post baby. Milk supply maintenance, while also trying to lose weight can be tricky because your new little bundle is affected if your milk supply drops. Talk about a stressful situation, when mama is working hard to get back in shape, only to find she isn’t producing enough milk, so she throws it all to the wind and eats anything and everything with milk-producing ingredients.
You can totally lose the baby weight while maintaining your milk supply. There are just a few keys to doing this, which I will go over here. If you are looking for a more in-depth plan that goes over healing postpartum, properly nourishing your body for milk supply, a meal plan and recipes and workouts to lose the baby weight, please check out my new program, The Postpartum Cure. So many mamas are having tons of success with just the little bit of help and knowledge! I highly encourage you to check it out now, because I add more content monthly and increase the price as more information, videos and details are added! I am also almost finished with my Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist certification, so I will be adding lots new information to the course, including the new Ab Rehab + Pelvic Floor Restore program I recently added.
Now, many mamas struggle with weight loss while breastfeeding. But Why? I want to give you some reasons losing weight is so difficult while breastfeeding.
First, you are exhausted, and breastfeeding is hard:
Lack of sleep actually causes us to crave higher fat and sugar foods. Studies have proven this, saying that junk foods become much more desirable when sleep deprived. This is a difficult challenge to overcome, and most mamas have already built habits of giving into cravings during pregnancy, which doesn’t help in any during breastfeeding.
Second, you need more nutrients:
Nutrient-deficiencies also cause cravings. Sugar and chemicals can prohibit absorption of certain minerals and nutrients, and giving into cravings doesn’t help either. Here’s 9 deficiencies that can make you crave sweets and junk food, but the major ones I believe specifically relate to breastfeeding and postpartum healing are protein, vitamin C, chromium, magnesium, folate and B12. This is my personal opinion based on reviewing the literature on cravings, as well as understanding the increased need for these specific nutrients. If your body needs more while breastfeeding, and you aren’t getting it, it is going to try and signal you to eat more in some way.
Third, you are totally stressed:
For some, stress is an appetite suppressant, but others, the effects of increased cortisol is a lot on their system. Many new mommies, or moms of toddlers and babies are going to be stressed, and that is perfectly natural. Unfortunately, many react to the increased cortisol by storing calories, rather than using them for energy and lactation.
These reasons losing weight after pregnancy may seem like there is little you can do, but this is not the case! You can help your body deal with sleep deprivation, increased stress and nutrient deficiencies by eating the appropriate diet.
In my years of helping mamas lose weight while breastfeeding, there was a protein powder missing that was specifically designed for breastfeeding mamas to combat these sugar cravings and fully nourish mamas. I am a firm believer in nutrition for milk supply, so I created Milk Dust. Milk Dust is literally your best friend for lactation and weight loss. It has a milk-boosting herb blend, plenty of protein, sugar-craving-busting herbs like Tumeric, Cinnamon Bark Root and minerals like Chromium which have all been used to balance blood sugar. In addition to all these fabulous items. I hand-picked specific vitamins like Folate (L-Methylfolate) because folate is still important during lactation! Almost just as important as in pregnancy. I also hand-picked vitamin B12 for energy, and super foods like Chlorella, Spirulina, Spinach, Blueberries and more. The protein powder is free of soy, gluten, dairy and corn. It is NON-GMO, Vegan and plant-based!! I highly recommend you check it out if you are craving sugar. It is only sweetened with Stevia, Monk Fruit and Organic Cane Juice, which means there is very little sugar, but it is very sweet, so you still get to drink something like a milkshake!
There is no other clean, super nutrient-dense protein powders that are specifically made for postpartum healing, nourishment, lactation and weight loss. There are thousands of mamas waiting for this to launch, and I am so excited to finally have a product that helps mamas nourish themselves while also losing weight
Let’s talk about nutrients for breastfeeding and weight loss:
Your nutrition is going to be key for helping you to create a healthy milk supply. Your body is craving nutrients to package into milk, as well as heal your body after having a baby. I go over the 20 most healing foods in my program, but some you want to focus on are:
Quality Protein: is my protein powder and protein shakes for postpartum weight loss. It is just easier for me, and it is clean and safe for breastfeeding. Protein is going to rebuild cells to repair any tears, scars or other injuries that can happen during child birth.
Sweet potatoes: The beta-carotene/ vitamin A is essential to healing and repairing wounds. Sweet potatoes are healthy carbs that are great for milk supply, as well as healing your body.
Kale/Spinach: I love throwing these into my protein shake to get more of a two for one, but these are super high in antioxidants, which are going to reduce inflammation, as well as vitamin C.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is great for milk supply because of the fiber, nutrients and carbs, as well as for providing a healthy source of glucose to give your body the energy it needs to heal and produce milk.
By offering your body lots of nutrients, you are telling your body it is safe, and therefore it can use fat stores to produce milk and function. If your body doesn’t have many nutrients, but just empty calories, it will still want to hold on to fat. That is why you want to take care of yourself postpartum and focus on high quality foods. This is the first step to protecting your milk while losing the baby weight. I go into more detail on nutrition, with over 50 recipes, a meal plan, how to count calories while breastfeeding and in my program.
Next, Use Supply Boosters:
I have my favorite supply boosters, one is this tea and the other is my protein powder. The protein powder has veggies, fruits, tumeric and other amazing milk-boosting ingredients. When I combine it with the fenugreek tea, I have no issues with my milk at all. This is why I created Milk Dust as well. It can be overwhelming to try and choose the right milk-boosting supplement. I specifically put together a lactation blend, to take the guess-work out of it. No matter what lactation boosting supplement you use, I highly suggest something to help as you transition your eating habits. It takes the fear of a supply drop out of the equation. Many mamas are so paranoid about their milk supply, that the slightest feeling of less-full breasts sends them straight to the cookie jar. What will determine if you need to increase your supply is baby’s weight and soiled diapers. That is your biggest and truest indication of a need for more milk.
There are a lot of milk boosters out there, and it does take some trial and error to see what works for you. I have a complete guide to various boosters including supplements, teas, herbs and more.
Using supply boosters will ensure that while you are transitioning and changing your diet, your milk supply is not affected at all. My sister and I combined our best tricks to produce milk quickly in this post if you need more tips on that. I also go over them in depth in the program as well. If you are really struggling with breastfeeding in general, I found this resource invaluable on all things breastfeeding and supply-related, and pumping correctly can really help increase your supply too!
Don’t Be Afraid To Eat!
If you are eating clean, nutrient-dense foods, you are eating lower calorie foods. Start out by eating as much as you want of those foods. If you are sneaking in chips, candy, ice cream or fast food, then things are a bit different. Most of the time, if you keep it 90% clean, you can eat all your body tells you to eat. The wonderful thing about learning to eat clean is that your body gets back on track with correctly signaling when you are actually hungry, rather than craving. Unfortunately, with all the heightened tastes and chemicals in foods, we often times confuse hunger and cravings for things we are addicted too. This is really confusing when trying to lose weight. You can go the route of purely counting calories and eating what you crave, but that can leave your body feeling a lack of nutrients, even on a full stomach. Not good. If you are eating lots of fruits, vegetables and clean protein, then you should get full (your body can only take in so much fiber at once!), and hungry when you are actually hungry. By doing this, you can eat when you are hungry, and NOT WORRY AT ALL!
You also want to eat until you are full. The satiation and hunger hormones and cues are important. We need to learn to listen to these cues and act accordingly. Once you start eating a more nutrient-dense diet, you will learn what real hunger is because many of the cravings go away. From there, you can decide if you need fruit, avocados, protein or sweet potatoes. You will also be able to stop eating when you are actually full, rather than slipping in the extra bowl of ice cream after dinner. Eating until you are full, is a good thing, AS LONG AS it is a meal full of veggies, lean protein and just a small amount of carbs like sweet potatoes. If it is a meal of steak and potatoes, that is completely different.
Lastly, Your Workout Won’t Cause A Drop:
I know I mentioned working out in the beginning, concerning weight loss, but I also want to mention it specifically regarding your milk supply. If you notice a drop in your milk supply, the first place to look isn’t your workout. Unless you are training for a marathon. If you are literally running 14 miles at a time, at a competitive pace, then you can scale back. But, most postpartum mamas are doing a combination of Pilates, HIIT, walking and jogging. Science says its not the workout that will cause a drop, but the stress or lack of nutrition will. This app is my FAVORITE! Workout app. Literally, I use it 5-6 days a week!
That is why I have a very specialized nutrition program with healing and nutrient-dense foods. It is so so so important to properly fuel your body. From there, your body will want to let go of fat. If your workouts are stressing you out, because you feel too much pressure to fit them it, definitely scale back. Try walking with the stroller in stead of trying to fit in a workout between naps. Walking is actually wonderful for weight loss, especially if you can get in over 40 minutes at a time. This will put you a fat-burning zone, encouraging your body to let go of more fat.
Depending on how much you have to lose, walking and eating clean may be just the perfect combination to help you lose the last few pounds, while keeping a healthy milk supply. If you have more to lose, following a meal plan, signing up for my free challenge, or doing some Pilates + Cardio workouts to really burn off the fat will help tons! I have these workouts in my program as well, to help you jump start that weight loss. Cardio is key for burning fat, and the Pilates will protect your core and pelvic floor, while helping you maintain lean muscle for staying toned.
There you have the ultimate guide to maintaining your milk supply while losing the baby weight. Don’t be scared to work hard and eat clean. Your body needs it!