Skip to main content

Safely and quickly lose weight while breastfeeding by following these tips

A woman’s body goes through a myriad of changes while pregnant, so it’s no surprise that you may be anxious to regain some bodily autonomy after you deliver! While losing weight is rarely a new mom’s sole focus, it is something that many women slowly begin to think about as they adjust to their new postpartum shape, and wonder how they can safely lose weight while breastfeeding.

It can often be a challenge for women to lose weight in general, but new moms who are breastfeeding might also struggle with ensuring they are getting enough calories to maintain their milk supply while also dropping some of the pregnancy weight. Here are some tips on how to lose weight while breastfeeding, easily and safely.

Related Videos

How to lose weight while breastfeeding without affecting milk supply

For many women, losing some of the weight they gained during pregnancy can be a struggle, especially if they’re breastfeeding. While some claim that breastfeeding helps the pregnancy weight “fall off,” that rule certainly doesn’t apply to every woman. But if you are breastfeeding and are hoping to start losing some of that pregnancy weight, it’s important to do so safely so that you don’t affect your milk supply. In general, breastfeeding burns between 500 and 700 calories each day, although this number can vary based on individual cases. You should always consult your doctor first before embarking on any diet plan after your baby is born to see how many calories you should be consuming.

Losing weight after having a baby is probably going to be just as easy or difficult as it was before you had a baby, and how much you want to lose will be affected by how much weight you gained during your pregnancy. The rule of consuming fewer calories than you burn in order to lose weight still applies after you’ve had a baby. Healthline notes that if you want to safely lose weight while breastfeeding and not affect your milk supply you should be consuming between 450 to 500 additional calories than what is recommended for your age and activity level. You’ll also want to ensure those calories are coming from healthy foods and that you’re avoiding foods high in sugar, carbs, and empty calories.

Shannon Davids, MD, an OB-GYN at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia told The Bump that breastfeeding women should be consuming at least 1800 to 2200 calories per day to ensure they aren’t affecting their milk supply. “We definitely recommend that mothers not go on a particularly restrictive diet — nothing that’s lower than 1,500 calories a day, which wouldn’t permit a robust milk supply,” she said.


How to lose weight fast while breastfeeding

Mary Jane Detroyer, a New York City-based nutritionist, registered dietitian, and personal trainer also explained to The Bump that the most efficient way to lose weight while breastfeeding is to focus on eating healthy, nutritious meals instead of counting calories. “Add an extra ounce or two of protein at a meal, a cup of starch, and a quarter cup of veggies — that’s all you need,” she says. “Problems arise when you substitute nutrient-dense food for others because they’re quick and easy.”

A healthy lifestyle will also help a post-partum mom lose weight quickly while breastfeeding. Mustela writes that in addition to eating a healthy, balanced diet it’s important to also ensure you’re drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, and getting as much sleep as possible. It’s definitely not easy to get a full eight hours of sleep at night with a new baby so it’s important to sleep when your baby naps if possible. Meal prepping can also help you be successful as you try to ensure you’re eating healthy. Having a new baby in the house is a lot of work so it can be tempting to grab something quick to eat, which isn’t always the best choice. Having healthy meal and snack options prepped and ready in the house will help you lose weight while also giving you the calories you need while breastfeeding.

Quick fixes won’t work

It can be tempting to try a restrictive diet to quickly drop some pounds after having a baby, but that isn’t a healthy or safe way to lose postpartum weight. Most experts suggest that a 1.5 to 2-pound weight loss per week is a safe goal for new moms. Restricting calories can have a negative impact on breastmilk, and the weight loss results will probably not be sustainable. “Every woman wants to return to her pre-pregnancy weight as quickly as possible. But if you’re breastfeeding, it’s really important to focus on foods that are nutrient-dense so you have the energy to care for your baby, to put towards all of your other responsibilities, and to exercise,” explained Leigh-Ann Webster, a licensed wellness coach, certified personal trainer and nutrition-for-fitness coach to the San Diego Breastfeeding Center. “Remember that producing milk takes a lot of your body’s resources and energy!”

If you’re a new mom who is struggling to lose the baby weight, you should always contact your doctor before starting any diet to ensure you’re doing so safely. They may also refer you to a specialist if you’re struggling with body image issues or if you need the help of a dietician to work on a meal plan. It can be frustrating for many new moms who struggle with their new postpartum body, but a healthy diet, combined with slowly introducing exercise when approved by your doctor, can help you lose pregnancy weight safely.

Editors' Recommendations

Going through the IVF process? Here’s what to expect
Ready for the IVF process? The steps and expectations from start to finish
A woman undergoing an ultrasound

Because of modern science, the birds and the bees aren’t precisely what they used to be. The rise of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has given parents ways of conceiving besides intercourse.

More than 8 million babies have been born via in vitro fertilization (IVF) since its inception in 1978 and 2018. In 2019, more than 83,000 babies were born via ART, according to CDC data. It’s unclear how many of those were from the IVF process, but the CDC notes it’s the most common form of ART.

Read more
5 things you should never say to a pregnant woman
She's already cranky, puffed, and exhausted. Please don't make it worse with these common questions for pregnant women
Pregnant married woman standing in a floral gown

These lists are sometimes hard to compile because of the beautiful complexity and differences between women. What may be offensive to one may be exactly what another needs to hear. Women, particularly pregnant women, are multidimensional, deeply thinking, individualistic human beings, and there is no "one-size-fits-all" list that applies to everyone.
However, there does seem to be an invisible boundary of privacy that drops when a woman is expecting a child. In a time when she is very likely uncertain, nervous, and potentially bombarded with any number of questions, swimming in a pool of nerves, people think this is the time to invade her space.
Most of these are well-intentioned questions, habitual, even. Rightfully so, people are excited and happy at the sight of a pregnant woman, and sometimes in that joy, manners can slip. It's important to keep in mind that many women -- particularly the more introverted ones -- are uncomfortable with all the new attention they're probably receiving. For the women who don't relish having these conversations with their family members, friends, hairstylists, and strangers in the produce section, these questions can be very awkward. Keep reading to find out the things you should never say to a pregnant woman.

'Are you going to breastfeed?'
This one is usually said with an air of haughtiness that also says, "It is the best choice, you know. Any mother who doesn’t breastfeed is just the absolute worst and shouldn’t be allowed to have children if only because of her shocking selfishness."
Ladies (and gentlemen), think about this one for a moment. While, as mentioned above, your intentions are undoubtedly lovely and kind, you may very well be deeply offending the already uncomfortable pregnant woman you’re talking to. Take into consideration that there are many reasons her answer to this question may be (gasp) "No."
Perhaps she has a medical issue that prevents her from breastfeeding. Perhaps she has a deeply rooted psychological reason she’s chosen not to. Perhaps she just feels icky about the whole thing, and despite her best efforts, just can’t move past it. Whatever the reason, she already knows breastfeeding is the healthiest and “best” option without you telling her so.
She doesn’t need to know that it’s what you did and that your babies were just healthy little horses. She doesn’t need to hear that feeding her precious, unborn baby formula is the equivalent of feeding it Tang instead of freshly squeezed orange juice. She’s thought about her choice more than you have; whatever that choice is, it's really none of your business.

Read more
How to help your toddler adjust to a new baby
Is a child's reaction to a new sibling abnormal toddler behavior? Maybe, but probably not. What to know
A toddler holding a new baby on a white bench

Your first baby completed you. You loved them so much that you decided to have another.

Parents may worry their kids won’t hit it off. These concerns may be amplified for parents having children close together. Toddlers don’t have the language or empathy to understand why a new loud, tiny human is commanding lots of attention — attention that used to be theirs.

Read more