Breast feeding is hard work for your body and, as such, you burn extra calories while doing it. Many women depend upon this extra calorie burn as a way to jump-start their baby weight loss. To ensure that you can produce enough milk for your infant, you must also feed your body right to ensure that you have the extra calories to spare.
Extra Calorie Burn
Through breast feeding, you can burn up to 500 calories a day, reports WebMD. The exact number of calories depends upon how frequently you breast feed and how much milk your body produces. As you wean, the number of calories you burn through milk production will also decrease.
Keeping Diet Up to Par
Just like an endurance athlete who must feed his body to succeed in his sport of choice, breast feeding mothers must keep up a healthy diet to ensure breast feeding success. While breast feeding, you will need to consume more calories to keep up with your body's demands and ensure proper milk production.
Impact of Overly Restrictive Diet
Many new moms, eager to drop the pounds they packed on during pregnancy, adopt restrictive diets post-birth. While the desire to drop these pounds is understandable, it is important to remember that, because breast feeding burns a large number of calories, that you should not adopt a diet that is too restrictive. If you attempt to whittle your calorie intake down too severely, you may hinder your milk production.
Slow Weight Loss
Instead of attempting to drop your pregnancy pounds immediately after birth, breast feeding mothers should be gentle with their weight loss efforts. The La Leche League recommends breast feeding mothers wait at least two months before dedicating themselves to rigorous weight loss efforts. By doing so, you can allow your body to become accustomed to making milk.
May Not Help with Weight loss
Along with the desire to give their children the health benefits commonly associated with breast feeding, many moms decide to breast feed in hopes that the extra calories burned will get them into their skinny jeans faster. While it is true that breast feeding mothers burn more calories than those who don't, as CBS News reports, this extra calorie burn does not always equate to weight loss. Because their bodies are burning more calories, many breastfeeding mothers are hungrier than those who do not breast feed. This extra hunger drives some breast feeding mothers to overeat.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images