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Family Fitness: Breastfeeding while Dieting and Exercising.

Posted by Bert on 3/7/2013 to Breast Feeding

Does exercise and dieting affect milk supply?

One of the semi-finalists that I met during the fitness challenge was a mother of five with her youngest being five months old. She was breastfeeding during the challenge and I always wondered if the intense workouts we did and the restricted diet affected her milk supply. I asked her once about it and she told me that it hadnt decreased her supply. That had me wondering, does it really matter how much you eat when youre breastfeeding or can you not limit your caloric intake?

As with most things the answer to this question is that it depends on the person. I swear whenever Ive been breastfeeding my body holds onto my weight until Ive weaned so Ive never really tried limiting my calories while breastfeeding. Ive also continued to pig out on any and everything because I heard you had to eat more.

According to KellyMom, an evidence-based lactation resource on the web, you should consumer no less than 1500 1800 calories during lactation and you should also wait until the second month to begin any kind of weight loss plan. This is so your milk supply is established. Note that the suggested calorie amount is about 300 500 extra calories each day needed to maintain a pre-pregnant weight. An eight ounce glass of whole milk is 150 calories so just envision the extra calories that way. Thats a lot of glasses of milk, huh? As with most foods you must be mindful of what you are eating because a bowl of grapes equal to 300 calories is vastly different than that mammoth size muffin at the local diner, right? To eat 300 calories of grapes alone youd need to consume two and a half cups of grapes which might sound appealing but I bet you probably arent going to sit down and chow down on two cups worth of grapes!

Its all about the choices of food that youre eating. During the fitness challenge my friend was eating clean and staying away from processed food and white flour. She wasnt counting her calories rather she was watching what kind of food she was eating. Whats my advice to you if you want to lose weight while breastfeeding? Watch what kind of food youre eating and carry a mental picture around of what 300 or 500 calories looks like. You can eat two and a half cups of grapes could over do it and eat a McDonalds Shamrock Shake for 1,110 calories. Remember that a splurge is just that, a splurge and not the way you should eat every day.

Physical activity should not decrease milk supply; however, with any physical activity you should begin gradually and please stop if you notice any changes in supply or how youre feeling. Listen to your body and stick to eating healthy not doing a fad diet!

Bio: Bert is a stay at home mom of two, wife to college sweetheart, and what she calls a "semi-crunchy" mama. After four years of being overweight related to pregnancies, Bert submitted a video entry into a local Biggest Loser type of fitness challenge; she was chosen and lost 25% of her body weight in 90 days. She blogs at FirstTimeMom about everything from cloth diapers, parenting, life and her recent passion with health and fitness.