Weight Loss After Weaning
While some women do drop weight while breastfeeding, others find that their weight remains steady or increases. Since breastfeeding women cannot significantly cut their caloric intake without damaging their milk supply, it can be difficult to start a serious diet and exercise program while nursing a baby. While bittersweet and emotional for many new mothers, weaning does offer women a new opportunity to begin a consistent diet and exercise plan.
According to lactation consultant Kelly Bonyata, nursing moms need an extra 200 calories each day. One of the primary adjustments after weaning your baby is to change your eating habits so that you are no longer consuming as many calories as you did while breastfeeding. Alternatively, new moms might opt to keep their calories static but increase their activity level accordingly. Women who fail to do either of these things might experience weight gain after weaning their babies. One way to start your diet plan is to cut your fat intake by 20 percent to 25 percent, while maintaining adequate levels of protein. Protein helps prevent the loss of muscle mass and provides energy you will need when taking care of your baby and/or older children. Busy moms should also try spreading their caloric intake out by consuming several mini-meals rather than three large, traditional meals. This will help maintain energy levels and keep you from overeating at mealtime or indulging in unhealthy snacks. It is also helpful to avoid snacking off of your child’s plate or finishing her meals for her. These small amounts of calories add up throughout the day.
With a new baby or toddler, it can be hard to find the time to exercise regularly. Pick an aerobic activity and try to do it on a daily basis. New moms often find that walking suits their schedule, since they can bring their children along by using a stroller. According to Cedric X. Bryant, the chief exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise, it is important to fit exercise in whenever possible, but morning exercise remains optimal since it tends to set the day’s pace. By exercising in the morning, you can ensure that no distractions get in the way of your daily dose of physical activity. When you can’t fit in a walk, try one of the mom-and-baby exercise DVDs. These videos offer suggestions for exercise routines that include your baby, making your workout time fun and rewarding for both of you. A March 2006 article published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that moderate exercise might help people lose more weight than strenuous exercise. Try to include a mix of moderate and dynamic cardiovascular exercise to drop pounds while maintaining your muscle mass that helps keep you strong and toned.