How breastfeeding helps you get back in shape

This is such a common question from breastfeeding moms! “I want to get back into shape, but I’m not sure where to start!”. The good news is, research shows that women who exclusively breastfeed shed more pounds overall in the first year postpartum. Many moms ask how many calories are necessary to maintain a good milk supply.

"Breastfeeding burns on average 300-500 calories per day."

Breastfeeding burns on average 300-500 calories per day (double that for twins!). You can add that to your daily recommended caloric intake for your body type; ask your healthcare provider if you need additional clarification. One peanut butter sandwich equal about 300 calories, so be sure not to overestimate how many “extra” calories you’re allotted since you’re breastfeeding.

It’s a good idea to have nutrient-dense snacks on hand that can keep you fueled in between your feeding sessions. Ideas are fruit, nuts, veggies and hummus, Greek yogurt, energy bites, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. Try to stay away from excess sugar – 25g is the daily recommendation for women – and remember to keep your diet colorful. This will help introduce and prepare your baby’s palate for future foods through your breastmilk! You want to stay hydrated, but just drink to thirst! No need to drown yourself in water to maintain your milk supply.

Everyone’s body is different! One person may drop postpartum weight quickly while breastfeeding, while other mothers report they don’t feel like breastfeeding helped them lose weight and each pound was a struggle. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! You can start small with daily walks and increase the length and intensity as you listen to your body. Take small steps each day towards physical, emotional, and mental wellness in the postpartum days.



Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

This post is brought to you by our friend, Lindsey Shipley at Lactation Link – an online space dedicated to ‘Creating Confident Moms’. Lindsey is an RN, Childbirth Educator, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, cancer survivor, mom of 2. For more info on Lindsey and Lactation Link, click here.