Breastfeeding can be one of the most effective times to lose lingering baby weight, says Judith Roepke, a nutritionist at Ball State University in Indiana, on the La Leche League International website. In fact, some women may find that it’s actually easier to lose weight when they’re breastfeeding because your body mines its existing fat stores to make breast milk for your baby. So if you’re ready to get your pre-baby body back, you don’t have to wean your baby or wait till he’s ready for a cup to get it.
Wait until your baby is at least 2 months old before you start to try to lose weight, recommends Roepke. Your body needs that time to recover from labor and establish a healthy milk supply.
Plan to eat at least 1,800 calories per day — less than that, and you run the risk of releasing toxins into your breastmilk, says lactation consultant Susan Condon on BabyCenter.com. Get your calories from nutrient-rich foods, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy products.
Get 45 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you need to, build up to this by gradually increasing your daily exercise time over several months, recommends certified lactation consultant Debbi Donovan on iVillage.com.
Plan to lose weight slowly and gradually, and avoid fat diets or dramatic weight loss plans. Losing too much weight too fast can cause the toxins from your blood stream to contaminate your milk supply, says Condon. Expect to need 10 months to a year to completely lose your baby weight.