Can You Diet While Breastfeeding? 9 Tips on How to Lose Weight

With your first baby you might not be happy with the weight gain and want to lose that pregnancy weight as fast as possible. But new moms often wonder, can you diet while breastfeeding? This is an important subject to research so it is done in a healthy way without affecting your milk production.

Can you lose weight while breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding moms tend to lose more weight than non breastfeeding moms because they are burning more calories. It is a gradual loss. 1-2 pounds per month on average.

Reason for this is that you can burn more calories with breastfeeding than without.

There are plenty of weight loss programs that are specifically for breastfeeding moms that want to loose the baby weight. They should include a weight loss diet, eating plan, recipes, exercise plan, shopping list and much more can help you lose weight while breastfeeding. It can aid in keeping your milk supply up and increasing it if needed.

When can I start losing weight after having my baby?

You can start to lose weight at 6-8 weeks postpartum. After the second month ask your health care provider if it is safe to start a diet plan and light exercise program.

The good news is you typically lose a good amount of weight from the new baby being born and not having all the amniotic fluid. As a new mom You will also be burning extra calories from breastfeeding so often.

The more you breastfeed = the more calories burned!

Be sure to read the probiotics that you should be taking while breastfeeding for good gut health and digestion which can help with weight loss.

How to safely lose weight while breastfeeding

Breastfeed often and longer than 6 months

The more that you breastfeed, the more calories your body is burning to create more breast milk.

Breastfeeding longer than 6 months has been shown to lose more maternal weight loss.

Wait on dieting for at least 2 months

The best way to take care of yourself and establish a good supply is spend the first 2 months focusing on healing and eating nutritious food that will fuel your body and establish a good breast milk supply. Your body will need a lot of calories from healthy sources while you are starting to establish your breast milk supply so now is not the time to restrict calories or you could jeopardize having a low supply.

Eat at least 1500-1800 calories per day

You want to make sure you’re getting enough calories to maintain your supply. Eat at least 1500-1800 calories per day to maintain supply and decrease the calories slowly. If you do a sudden drop in calories, it could affect your breast milk supply.

You want to eat at least 1500-1800 calories a day to maintain a healthy breast milk supply. Try to be on the higher end of this. Most mom’s calorie intake will even need to be more calories than 1800. But make sure to not go below this range.

Lose no more than 1.5 pounds per week

You can safely lose up to 1.5 pounds per week. Focus on gradual weight loss to keep a good supply. If you are losing more than 6 pounds per week this could effect your breast milk supply.

Mistakes to avoid

Restrictive diets

Avoid fad diets such as low carb diets or restricting the amount of food that you eat. A nursing mother should not be focused on a certain number of calories for rapid weight loss.

It can take a lot of time to lose as much weight as you might want but it is important to focus on your health and the health of the baby.

When you are taking supplements such as protein powders, be sure to talk to your health care provide to make sure they are safe for you. You can also read this on what to look for when buying a protein powder while breastfeeding and which ones I prefer.

Foods to focus on for weight loss while breastfeeding

There are many ways on how to lose weight while breastfeeding but here are some tips that can help you out. First of all, can you lose weight while breastfeeding? You can, but you should be aware of some things so it can be done in a healthy way. Eat healthy diet with nutritious and whole foods will provide the necessary nutrients for your baby while helping in weight loss.

Eating healthy foods full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will boost your energy levels and aid in weight loss.

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal
  • Proteins such as beans and tofu
  • Healthy fats such as peanut butter

You want to focus on a balanced diet with all the major food groups for every meal and healthy snacks in between meals.

Try adding specific foods that bring lots of color to each meal to add more nutrients to each dish.

If you are on a vegan diet or vegetarian diet, focus on getting omega-3 fatty acids from chia seeds or flax seeds. This is great for eye and brain development.

You can eat healthy food and that can help with losing weight. Just keep track of what is on the menu and see what particular food can be removed or replaced with something healthier. So if you are wondering, can I diet while breastfeeding? You can, but you can not skip meals and can not starve yourself. You can decrease calories but keep healthy food on the menu.

Foods to avoid while breastfeeding that will hurt your weight loss

If you plan it right and know what can or can not be eaten. And can you safely lose weight while breastfeeding? Yes, of course but again there can be some foods that will hurt your weight loss so avoid them.

  • Processed food: or junk food is only empty calories
  • Sugar: It’s a good idea to limit this in small amounts.
  • Energy drinks: These are bad for your health and also empty calories.
  • Food allergies: If you have a food allergy, it should always be avoided.
  • Soft Drinks: These are often high in sugar and are high in calories without any nutritional benefit.
  • Animal products: tend to have a lot of calories
  • Dairy products: such as ice cream are high in saturated fats and sugar.
  • Weight loss medication: These are not good for your health and should be avoided.

Focus on foods that are high in nutrients and fewer calories.

So to sum it all up, can I diet while breastfeeding? Yes, if you plan it right and know what foods should stay on the menu and which ones should stay off of it, you can diet while breastfeeding and lose weight.

Light consistent exercise to help lose weight while breastfeeding 

While exercising can can can I can diet while breastfeeding can not be done but that will depend from person to person and what your current condition is. When losing weight while breastfeeding because of the I can diet while breastfeeding can be tricky, but you can safely lose weight can you do it if you try.

Wait on a formal exercise program until after the 6 weeks postpartum mark. Even then try just walking for a month or two and increase if needed. Be careful with exercising too much too soon for the risk of injury.

Find a postpartum weight loss program with a little bit of moderate exercise to get your activity level up and to burn extra calories. Sticking to a weight loss program that is made for the postpartum stage will help you lose the extra weight but will help avoid injury while you are healing and will give you an added boost of extra energy.

Just be sure to talk to your health care provider before starting a new exercise program.

Reason why you haven’t lost weight while breastfeeding

Sometimes weight loss while breastfeeding can be tricky, but you can safely lose weight. Here are some things that could be stopping you from losing those extra pounds.

  • Lack of sleep: As a new mom being up all hours of the night you don’t get much sleep. Sleep deprivation can hinder weight loss. Once your baby starts to sleep longer stretches you should take advantage and sleep as well.
  • Expectations: Sometimes social media can give us the wrong idea of how quickly we need to bounce back. As a breastfeeding mom it’s important to be kind to your body and to trust the process. Give yourself grace and love what your body has done for you so far.
  • Busy mom: Being too busy to be able to take care of yourself. I know first hand how difficult it can be to make yourself a priority when you have a baby that needs you. Try to build in some time and some healthy habits like meal planning and light exercise to take care of yourself.

If you are having trouble losing the baby weight, then just take your time and don’t push yourself too fast. Take care of yourself and enjoy this time with your little one while you can. The weight will come off in time.

9 tips on how to lose weight while breastfeeding  

  • Breastfeed longer and often:

    Breastfeeding longer than 6 months is shown to lose more weight than mothers that didn’t continue to breastfeed. Breastfeeding often also will burn extra calories. So the more you breastfeed the more calories are being burned while you sit and snuggle your baby!

  • Meal plan:

    Planning meals will keep you eating healthy meals consistently so you don’t go for an unhealthy snack instead.

  • Eat whole plant foods:

    These foods are the highest in nutrients and the lowest in calories. Eat an abundant amount of vibrant plant foods and this will bring you to your ideal body weight.

  • Consistent light exercise:

    Being consistent is key. Doing light exercise consistently will help burn more calories more often as well as prevent injury which would cause down time and start all over again. Being consistent will build a good habit and is the best way to see results over the long run.

  • Drink lots of water:

    Water helps remove waste and cleanse the body. Drinking water is not only important for health but it is very important for making breast milk. A breastfeeding mom should be drink about 2 quarts of water per day. A lot of times when you feel hungry you are actually just dehydrated. So before going for the quick snack, drink a glass of water and see how you feel.

  • Keep healthy snacks on hand:

    Having a healthy snack on hand will prevent your blood sugar from dropping. It will also prevent you from getting overly hungry and grabbing anything fast and high in calories. Keep a bag of walnuts or almonds on hand or some fruit. I love to have carrots and hummus because it’s quick and easy to grab and go.

  • Sleep:

    Go to bed early and take naps whenever possible. Getting an adequate amount of sleep will help your body heal and recover. Sleep deprivation can even cause bad food choices and brain fog.

  • Take care of your own health:

    Make yourself a priority. Make the time to take care of yourself but scheduling the time to rest, shower, eat, and drink. It can be hard with a baby and especially if you have other kids to take care of but it’s important to make the time for yourself so you can give so much more to your family.

  • Create healthy habits:

    Having a healthy lifestyle will make the most difference in the long run. Having the habit built into your day will take out the decision making process and you will just be doing these healthy habits without even thinking about them. Consistency is key and healthy habits will create this.


Can you diet while breastfeeding? Yes, it definitely can be done. And you can safely lose weight while breastfeeding in a healthy way but making these healthy habits and lifestyle changes throughout your day.

I love taking my kids on hikes to get myself back in shape after baby. Be sure to read the best baby carriers to breastfeed in to find out which ones work best.

About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

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