How Breastfeeding Aids in Weight Loss

does breastfeeding help you lose weight

Breastfeeding is a natural and wonderful way for mothers to nourish their babies and establish a deep bond with them. You may have heard that breastfeeding will help you lose weight, among its numerous other benefits. Let’s discuss the relationship between breastfeeding and weight loss, shedding light on the scientific evidence and factors that influence this process.

Does Breastfeeding Help You Lose Weight?

Breastfeeding can aid weight loss by burning extra calories during lactation and triggering hormonal changes that promote postpartum weight reduction. Other factors, like pre-pregnancy weight, diet, and exercise, also play an important role in post-partum weight loss.

The Mechanics of Weight Loss during Breastfeeding

After childbirth, your body goes through various changes, both hormonal and physical, to support lactation and care for your newborn. One of the most significant factors contributing to postpartum weight loss is the energy expenditure required for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Burns Calories

Producing breast milk and nursing your baby requires additional energy expenditure. Studies suggest that breastfeeding can burn up to 300-500 calories per day, depending on factors such as the frequency and duration of nursing sessions.

Hormonal Impact

Breastfeeding triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which aids in uterine contractions, helping the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Additionally, breastfeeding suppresses the production of certain hormones, like estrogen, which can promote fat storage.

The Timing and Intensity of Weight Loss

While breastfeeding can help you lose weight, it's essential to approach postpartum weight loss with patience and realistic expectations. The timing and intensity of weight loss during breastfeeding can vary from one mother to another.

Gradual Process

Your body needs time to recover from childbirth, and immediate or rapid weight loss might not be safe or sustainable. It's generally advised to aim for a gradual weight loss of around 1-2 pounds per week, as extreme dieting can negatively affect your milk supply and overall well-being.

Individual Differences

Every woman's body responds differently to breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss. Genetics, metabolism, pre-pregnancy weight, and lifestyle choices all play a role in how quickly or slowly you shed those extra pounds.

Potential Challenges and Considerations

While breastfeeding can contribute to weight loss, some factors might hinder the process or lead to weight retention.

Increased Appetite

Breastfeeding mothers often experience increased hunger due to the energy demands of lactation. It is essential to nourish your body with nutritious foods to meet these demands without compromising your overall well-being.

Stress and Sleep

Caring for a newborn can be physically and emotionally taxing, leading to stress and sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep and high stress levels can negatively impact weight loss efforts.

Balancing Nutrition

To support both your baby's needs and your own health, focus on a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients. Avoid crash diets or overly restrictive eating patterns that could deprive you of essential nutrients.

Exercise and Weight Loss

Combining a healthy eating plan with regular physical activity can enhance weight loss during breastfeeding. However, consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine to ensure it's safe for you and your baby.

My Experience with Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

Every person is different and will have a different experience with their postpartum body. For me, I found that immediately after birth, as I began my breastfeeding journey, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly and was feeling confident about my postpartum body.

My baby girl was born in May, one week before Mother’s Day, and we ended up with a lot of Mother’s Day treats around the house. I was snacking on a lot of sweet treats and was lucky enough to have family and friends bring us meals in those early weeks. I found that with breastfeeding I was always hungry, but I wasn’t nourishing myself with the best food. I ended up actually gaining some weight after the initial post-birth weight drop.

I knew I wanted to look good, but also knew the importance of keeping myself fed in order to feed my baby. So, I put my focus on how I felt over how I looked. I ate foods that were fresh and kept me full, without bogging me down, and I moved my body in a way that made me feel better, instead of pushing myself with intense workouts.

I started with yoga, to help me loosen up my tight muscles and stretch out. Between the discomfort of late pregnancy, giving birth, and a lot of sitting while breastfeeding, my lower back was hurting and yoga always felt so good! Once I got movement back into my lifestyle, I started incorporating strength training and cycling exercises again. This helped me build back muscle, stay fit, and start feeling a little like my “old self” again.

While I feel much better these days, I know that I will never truly look the same as I did before having a baby. And that’s OK!! Be gentle with yourself and know that your body did something magical in growling life, giving birth, and nourishing your little one. You might be eager to lose weight and get back to that pre-pregnancy body, but I encourage you to focus on what makes you feel good. That is what will help you be the best mom to your baby, and that is way more important right now.


Breastfeeding can indeed aid in postpartum weight loss due to the increased calorie expenditure and hormonal changes involved in lactation. However, it's important to remember that every woman's journey is unique, and weight loss during breastfeeding should be approached with patience and self-care.

Focus on maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, staying adequately hydrated, and getting sufficient rest to support your breastfeeding journey while prioritizing your overall well-being. If you have any concerns or questions about weight loss during breastfeeding, don't hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance for your specific needs. Remember, nurturing your body and your baby with love and care is the ultimate goal of the breastfeeding experience.

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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

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