For a long time I heard that you absolutely shouldn’t diet while breastfeeding, because it could hurt your supply. More recently there seem to be a lot of moms who diet, even doing programs like Weight Watchers. So what’s a mom to do?
I tend to be as hungry when I am breastfeeding as I am while pregnant. If not more so! For that reason, dieting tends to stay pretty far of my radar. However, after the birth of my youngest I really was interested in trying to lose some of the “baby weight” I was still carrying around from my excessive weight gain during my first pregnancy (which is a whole different blog post!). At the same time, I didn’t want to do anything to damage my supply.
For a few weeks, I tried the “S diet” – No sweets, no seconds, no snacking except on S days – Saturday, Sunday, and special occasions. I adapted the “no snacking” to mean no just eating whenever, but I did plan for a mid-morning snack and a mid- afternoon snack. It worked pretty well. But then we hit dairy intolerance issues, and all that went out the window! What I’ve been doing for the last year is not eating dairy – which eliminates a lot of stuff! More recently, I’ve been making an effort to prepare healthier food for my family and eat more “real” food, as I mentioned in this post. In the last several months, the weight finally started to come of, and I am now at or below my pre-pregnancy weight of my first pregnancy 9 years ago.
When it comes to dieting and breastfeeding, I think overall the same thing that I do for dieting in general. Crash diets are a bad idea. Instead, focus on eating a variety of healthy foods, stop eating when you feel full, and don’t eat a bunch of junk. When you are nursing it is important that you consume enough calories, so you really need to avoid anything that focuses on dramatically reducing your calorie intake. If you focus on life style changes rather than dieting, your waistline should go down (maybe not as quickly as you like, but it should go down), and you will feel better overall. Win, win!