A Guide for Weight Loss While Breastfeeding

weight loss guide while breastfeeding

As a new mother, you're likely navigating the beautiful but often challenging world of breastfeeding. Alongside the joys of motherhood, many new moms are eager to shed the extra pounds gained during pregnancy.

The good news is that it is possible to lose weight while breastfeeding, but it's crucial to do so in a healthy and sustainable manner to ensure both you and your baby's well-being. This guide will provide you with practical tips and guidelines on how to achieve your weight loss goals while nurturing your little one.

How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

To lose weight while breastfeeding: Prioritize nutrient-rich foods, stay hydrated, breastfeed frequently for the calorie burn, aim for gradual weight loss, include safe exercise, don't skip meals, limit processed foods/sugar, and aim get quality sleep.

Prioritize Nutrient-Rich Foods

One of the most important aspects of postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding is maintaining a healthy diet. Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods that will not only help you shed pounds but also provide essential vitamins and minerals for you and your baby. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your daily meals.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water is essential for successful weight loss while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be dehydrating, so aim to stay well-hydrated to support both your milk supply and your metabolism. Water is also crucial for flushing out toxins from your body.

Breastfeed Frequently

Breastfeeding burns calories, with some estimates suggesting that it can help you burn an additional 300-500 calories per day. The more often you nurse your baby, the more calories you'll burn.

This natural process can assist in postpartum weight loss, as long as you continue to maintain a balanced diet.

Gradual Weight Loss

Aim for gradual weight loss, typically around 1-2 pounds per week. This ensures that you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner, without compromising your milk supply or energy levels.

Exercise Safely

Incorporate postpartum-safe exercises into your routine, but start slowly and listen to your body. Avoid high-impact exercises until you've fully recovered from childbirth. Exercises like walking, yoga, and postpartum-specific workouts can help you regain your strength and tone your body.

Don't Skip Meals

It can be tempting to skip meals or drastically cut calories to lose weight, but this can be harmful, especially when breastfeeding. Skipping meals may reduce your energy levels and affect your milk supply.

Aim to eat regular, balanced meals and include healthy snacks to keep your metabolism active.

Limit Processed Foods and Sugar

Highly processed foods and sugary snacks can be calorie-dense and nutritionally poor. Reducing your intake of these items can aid in your weight loss efforts and help you maintain overall health.

Get Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for your overall well-being and can also influence your ability to lose weight. While it can be challenging with a newborn, try to rest when your baby sleeps and ask for support from family and friends to ensure you get enough sleep.

Diet and Exercise While Breastfeeding

Maintaining a healthy diet and incorporating safe exercises into your daily routine can be effective ways to lose weight while breastfeeding. It’s important to understand what to eat to support your weight loss goals and suitable exercise options to help you on your journey.

What to Eat While Breastfeeding to Lose Weight

  • Lean Protein: Include sources of lean protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, and plant-based options like beans and tofu. Protein helps you feel full and supports muscle repair.

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread. These provide sustained energy and fiber, which can help control hunger.

  • Healthy Fats: Incorporate sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats are essential for overall health and can help control cravings.

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Fill your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

  • Dairy or Dairy Alternatives: Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy or fortified dairy alternatives. These provide essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.

Exercises to Do

  • Walking: Start with gentle, regular walks with your baby in a stroller or carrier. As you recover and gain strength, gradually increase the distance and pace.

  • Yoga: Postpartum yoga can help you regain flexibility and strengthen your core muscles. Many yoga studios offer special postnatal classes.

  • Pelvic Floor Exercises: Kegel exercises and other pelvic floor strengthening routines are essential for postpartum recovery and overall health.

  • Strength Training: Incorporate light strength training with a focus on core and lower body exercises. Bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, or light dumbbells can be helpful.

  • Aerobic Activities: Once you've received clearance from your healthcare provider, consider low-impact aerobic activities like swimming or cycling.

  • Postnatal Exercise Classes: Look for postnatal fitness classes or programs designed specifically for new moms. These classes often cater to your unique needs and fitness levels.

  • Stretching: Regular stretching can improve flexibility and help with muscle recovery. It's a great complement to other exercises.

Practical Day-to-Day Steps for Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

Here are some practical, day-to-day steps you can take to work towards your weight loss goals while maintaining a healthy breastfeeding relationship:

  1. Plan Balanced Meals: Create well-rounded, nutritious meals that include lean protein, whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. This provides the necessary nutrients for you and your baby.

  2. Eat Smaller, Frequent Meals: Instead of three large meals, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can help regulate your metabolism and prevent overeating.

  3. Snack Smart: Have healthy, nutrient-dense snacks readily available. Options like nuts, yogurt, and fruits can help you maintain energy levels and avoid unhealthy food choices.

  4. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Don't skip meals, and eat until you're satisfied but not overly full.

  5. Keep a Food Diary: Tracking your meals and snacks can help you identify patterns and make healthier choices. Several mobile apps can assist with this.

Safety Considerations When Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

While it's possible and often beneficial to aim for postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding, it's crucial to prioritize safety for both you and your baby. Keep these key safety considerations in mind on your weight loss journey.

  • Maintain Adequate Nutrition: Ensure you're getting enough essential nutrients for your own health and to support your baby's growth and development. Drastic calorie restriction can compromise the quality of your breast milk and affect your milk supply. Focus on balanced, nutrient-rich meals.

  • Monitor Energy Levels: Don't push yourself too hard. Overexertion can lead to fatigue and decreased milk production. Listen to your body and adjust your weight loss plan as needed.

  • Avoid Extreme Diets: Crash diets or extreme weight loss plans are not suitable for breastfeeding mothers. These can compromise your health and milk supply.

  • Protein Intake: Ensure you're getting enough protein, as it's essential for your own recovery and the development of your baby.

The Expected Timeline of Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

Losing weight while breastfeeding is a gradual process that varies for every woman. It's important to approach this journey with patience and realistic expectations. This general timeline can give you an idea of what to expect.

  1. Early Postpartum Period (0-6 Weeks): During the first few weeks after childbirth, your body naturally sheds excess water weight. You may notice an initial drop in pounds due to this water loss, along with the weight of your baby and the placenta. However, this isn't fat loss.

  2. Initial Weight Loss (0-3 Months): In the first few months, your body will continue to burn calories to support breastfeeding. Most women can safely aim to lose around 1-2 pounds per week during this period. Weight loss varies, and some may see more rapid progress while others experience slower results.

  3. Stabilization (3-6 Months): Around three to six months postpartum, your body may reach a weight plateau. This is a normal phase where the weight loss might slow down or stall. Don't be discouraged; it's a natural part of the process.

  4. Gradual Progress (6-12 Months): Beyond the six-month mark, many women begin to see more significant and steady weight loss. By this time, you might have adapted to a routine that combines a balanced diet and regular exercise.

  5. Post-Weaning (12+ Months): If you continue breastfeeding for a year or longer, you'll continue to burn extra calories, which can aid in weight loss. Once you wean your baby, your metabolism may adjust, so it's essential to maintain healthy eating habits and exercise to avoid weight gain.

Consult a Healthcare Professional

Always consult with your healthcare provider before embarking on any weight loss plan, especially while breastfeeding. They can provide guidance specific to your situation and ensure that you and your baby's health remains a top priority.

My Experience with Weight Loss While Breastfeeding

After having my baby, it took me a while to feel ready for a regular workout routine and dietary changes. My focus shifted towards feeling good in every sense. My body underwent an incredible transformation in giving birth and continues to nourish my baby through breastfeeding – that's something I celebrate daily.

My postpartum body looks different than it used to, and I've learned to embrace it as a testament to motherhood. I reintroduced exercise with a focus on feeling strong and vibrant, choosing activities that resonated with my body's recovery.

Regarding nutrition, I prioritized balanced meals knowing they directly affect the quality of my breast milk. It's not about strict diets but making choices that support both my health and my baby's.

I've become kinder to myself and cherish my unique postpartum body. It's not about "bouncing back" but moving forward with strength, confidence, and appreciation for what my body can do.

If you're on a similar journey, remember to take your time, prioritize self-care, and redefine health and beauty on your terms. You're doing amazing, and your strength and resilience are truly beautiful.


Losing weight while breastfeeding is possible with the right approach and patience. Your primary focus during this time should be the health and well-being of both you and your baby.

A gradual, balanced approach to weight loss, combined with a nutrient-rich diet, hydration, and safe exercise, will help you reach your goals without compromising the precious bonding experience that breastfeeding offers. Be kind to yourself, and celebrate the incredible journey of motherhood you're on!

Back to blog

Author, Founder @ Latch Luxe

Stefanie Statler

Stefanie Statler is an author and the founder of Latch Luxe, with a loving husband and daughter. She is a dedicated advocate for breastfeeding mothers and understands the challenges and joys of motherhood firsthand. Email me at stef@latchluxe.com.

View Author

New Products