How Fast Should You Shed the Baby Weight?

Slow and steady are the buzzwords for success – especially for nursing moms. Learn how to lose weight the healthy way.
Nursing Moms' Guide to Weight Loss

Chris had been a Weight Watchers meetings member when she got pregnant with twins. Then, after she gave birth to daughters in November 2000, she was eager to get back on the Plan. After six weeks, her doctor gave her the go-ahead, and she went straight to her meeting room to try to get back on track.

Chris's story is typical of new moms, says Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientist for Weight Watchers International. "But you really do have to put the brakes on so you don't get too exuberant," she warns.

Nursing Notes

You may need advice from your doctor if you have special dietary needs. If you're allergic to milk, nursing more than one baby, or notice your milk supply decreasing, or if you have questions about foods to avoid, check with your doctor.

Weight loss while nursing is individual. "Some women become thin while lactating," says Lauren Outland, a Santa Monica, California, certified nurse midwife and doctor of public health. "And some will maintain five to 10 pounds that won't go away until after they stop nursing."

You will feel hungry! "The increased appetite during lactation is almost universal," says Outland. "Women who are weaning their children will notice that their appetite slows down tremendously."

It's a great time to start losing weight. "Capture the advantages that this time of life brings," says Miller-Kovach. Chris, the mom of twins, says she had a relatively easy time losing weight while nursing: "The weight seemed to come off fairly quickly, plus I felt satisfied. I also knew that I was eating healthy being on the Plan, which was good for all three of us!"

Healthy Baby, Healthy Weight Loss
What is "too exuberant"? If you're losing too much weight, says Miller-Kovach, it will affect your milk production, which could affect your baby's health. She says: "An average loss of one pound per week can successfully achieve weight loss without affecting the quantity or quality of milk."

Weight Watchers has designed guidelines for its meetings members and online subscribers for adapting the Plan to the special nutritional requirements of nursing moms. Once you've had your baby, check with your doctor to see what he or she thinks about your plans to lose weight while nursing.

If you're a breastfeeding mom losing weight with Weight Watchers, your PointsPlus Target can be adjusted. While nursing, your body needs more nutrients than before your pregnancy. You also need to adjust some of your Good Health Guidelines while breastfeeding. Increase your milk servings from two to three and bump up your fruit and vegetable servings from five to eight. You should also increase your servings of lean proteins and healthy oils to three and make sure to have eight glasses of liquids per day.

If you attend meetings, you'll be able to receive personal support with your special weight loss concerns. Online members can also share ideas with other new moms on our Calling All Moms message board.

A good thing to note: If you're a meetings member before you get pregnant, it is possible to freeze your membership while you're pregnant (you cannot lose weight with the Weight Watchers plan during pregnancy). Check with your Leader for more information.

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