How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing to do for your baby but I know so many women who become frustrated by the idea or notion that breastfeeding should automatically mean you'll lose the weight.  While it does and can help in the process that is not always the case for every women.  For every woman that drops 30 lbs through just breastfeeding, there's another who still can't get off the extra 15 lbs no matter what she tries.  And then there are the women who drop the weight but still have a belly pooch and put on weight after they stop nursing.  Everyone is so incredibly different.

I nursed my daughter, Nora (3), for 2 years and 2 months.  After giving birth to her I didn't have any issues losing the weight but I became skinny fat.  I could figure out how to hold on to muscle.  It took me two years to finally get the figure I wanted.  Then right after I stopped nursing her I put on 10 lbs and had to figure that out.  I lost it and the next month I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd.

With this 2nd pregnancy its taken me a bit longer to lose the weight, but 3 months postpartum and it is gone with the tips I'll share with you today.  I am still actively on my postpartum journey and now working on finding some abs again and toning up :)

I have so many clients and followers who have asked for help with how to eat healthy while breastfeeding that I decided to create a FREE 5 Day Nursing Mama Meal Plan + Support Group. If you're a nursing mom trying to navigate weight loss + healthy eating again without losing your milk supply you can get the plan HERE.

There's definitely a few components that make weight loss challenging for some women.  The first is that you want to be able to lose weight in a healthy way without compromising your milk supply.  What I have found with my clients is that its not so much as HOW MUCH you're eating but WHAT you're eating, which takes me to my first tip.

#1 Don't cut calories - focus on a balanced WHOLE FOODS diet

Make sure you're eating whole, unprocessed foods. Eat lean meats, veggies, fruits, nuts/healthy fats and whole grains.  Stay away from sugar, processed/refined grains, white starches/flours.  There's no need to cut calories to lose weight because if you do your milk supply will dwindle.  I advise all my clients to add 500 calories (at a minimum) to their meal plans. And instead of focusing on calories, focus on portions and eating a balanced whole foods diet.  Beachbody's color coded container system is amazing for this concept.  It helps you figure out how many portions each day you should be eating of carbs, protein, healthy fats, veggies, fruits, etc.  To get your extra calories I typically recommend adding a serving of healthy fat and/or protein into your day.  This will also help with those crazy HUNGRY spells you get while nursing.  If you're focusing on what you're putting into your body and not cutting calories you'll fuel your body and your baby naturally.

Check out my "SIMPLE + HEALTHY MEALS FOR REAL MOMS COOKBOOK eBOOK" for recipes the whole family will enjoy!

#2 Drink LOTS of water

The recommended amount of water to drink for a normal person is half your body weight in ounces.  While nursing we need much more than that to replenish our bodies of those liquids lost and to stay hydrated.  I recommend 100 oz of water daily and during the hot Summer I recommend drinking your body weight in ounces.  I weigh 130lbs so I try to drink at least 130 ounces of water each day when I'm breastfeeding.

#3 Exercise

Of course we all know exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss - but how much exercise should or could you do while nursing?  I recommend finding something short and effective.  20-45 minutes of a combination of HIIT, cardio and strength training is a great option for nursing moms.  You don't need to do intense cardio sessions to lose weight.  I found that PiYO (which is a combination between strength, cardio, pilates and yoga) is a great option for me and my nursing clients as well as the 21 day fix workouts (which incorporates, strength, cardio, yoga, pilates and more).  Exercising for 20-45 minutes IS NOT going to compromise your supply if you are eating enough calories during the day.

#4 Listen to your body

Its so important that you are in tune to your body's cues.  If you feel like you're pushing yourself too hard during workouts - modify them.  If you feel like you need to eat more - add a protein or healthy fat into your meal plan.  If you feel like you are eating too much - cut out a serving of fruit.  When you are getting back into a fitness routine it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Give yourself time and grace to get back to that consistency you once had.  And the more consistent you become the more effective your weight loss process will be.

#5 Know the indicators of low milk supply

So many women think that just because their breasts don't feel full that they must have a low milk supply but that is not necessarily true.  The best indicator of low milk supply is your baby.  If they have a normal amount of wet/poopy diapers and are gaining weight at a normal rate you should not be worried about milk supply.  If you ever feel like your supply is low make sure to up your calorie intake and try pumping after each nursing session to help boost it!

Here's another great article to help you identify some signs your supply is low.

I hope this article helps you to get on your health + fitness journey while breastfeeding.  Its not always simple but it is 100% possible to lose weight during this time in your life.  If you'd like more tips, support and a meal plan to get you started you can get my FREE Nursing Mama Meal Plan HERE.

You can also purchase my "SIMPLE + HEALTHY MEALS COOKBOOK eBOOK" for delicious recipes the whole family will enjoy!

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for this tipps! I gave birth to the most wonderful young man one month ago. My weight was getting WORSE after the birth, I was pretty frustrated because I wasn't able to breastfeed and I always was hungry, so... :C It's ok now, I found a pretty good formula, but now I want to loose some weight. Do you have some additional tipps for not-breastfeeding mothers? Even more sports? Less eating?
    Thanks in advance :)


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