Health and Nutrition Information for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Weight Loss While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is best for moms and their babies for several reasons. Besides providing nourishment and helping to protect your baby against becoming sick, breastfeeding may help you lose the weight gained in pregnancy. Moderate exercise and eating less can help breastfeeding mothers lose weight.
- A great time to lose weight after pregnancy is while breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding may make it easier to lose weight because you are using extra calories to feed your infant.
- Women who breastfeed exclusively for more than 3 months tend to lose more weight than those who do not.
- Those who continue breastfeeding beyond 4-6 months may continue to lose weight.
For more advice about losing weight while breastfeeding and reasons breastfeeding is best for you and your baby, visit Womenshealth.gov.
Follow your Daily Food Plan for Moms to choose the right amount from each food group. In addition, continue to visit your doctor or health care provider while you are breastfeeding. He or she can keep track of your weight and tell you if you are losing weight as you should. If you are losing weight too slowly or too fast, change the amount you are eating:
- If you are not losing weight or losing too slowly, cut back on the calories you are currently eating.
- The best way to eat fewer calories is by decreasing the amount of "empty calories" you are eating. "Empty calories" are the calories from added sugars and solid fats, in foods like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and fatty meats. Look for choices that are low-fat, fat-free, unsweetened, or with no-added-sugars. They have fewer "empty calories."
- Alcohol is also a source of "empty calories." See Nutritional Needs While Breastfeeding for cautions and guidance about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
- If you are losing weight too fast, you need to eat more calories. You can do this by eating a little more from each food group. Try adding a healthy snack each day, or increasing portion sizes at meals. If you keep losing weight faster than you want to, check with your doctor.