Relying On Breastfeeding to Lose Weight

baby with mom
Flickr photo by ODHD
Breastfeeding and I have a complicated relationship. We have sort of a love/hate thing going on.

That's because breastfeeding never came easily to me or my babies. It took a lot of effort, all of my patience, a few tears, and a breast pump to get us on the road to doing it successfully.

I stuck with it, though, because I thought it was the best thing I could do for my babies. An added benefit? Breastfeeding burns calories!


During pregnancy, women gain extra pounds to store energy for producing breast milk. For some women, breastfeeding makes it easier to lose weight, since additional calories are used. This is, of course, true if you aren't eating a bowl of ice cream after a 3 a.m. feeding. (Yes, I used to do that because I like to eat ice cream while I'm up watching bad television.)

Experts such as the La Leche League advise that breastfeeding mothers should not consciously try to lose weight during the first two months postpartum. This extra time in the early months allows a mother's body to recover from childbirth and establish a good milk supply.

Once you're ready, breastfeeding, along with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, can help you shed those unwanted pounds. Depending upon your metabolism and your baby's feeding schedule, breastfeeding moms can burn an extra 200 to 500 calories a day. Not bad for something you can do while sitting on the couch!

Did you or do you rely on breastfeeding to help you lose baby weight?

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