Breastfeeding A to Z

Weight Loss

At your 6 week check-up you will have your weight checked.  This may mark a time when you are ready to think about decreasing your weight.

A little background.  Depending on your baby’s weight, within the first week after your they’re born, you will lose roughly 10 pounds (4.5 kg)(1)  In the next three weeks you will lose the extra fluid you have needed during your pregnancy.  After the three week mark you are left with fat stores reserved for breastfeeding.  These fat stores, whether you want them or not, are your body’s way of insuring you have enough claroies to maintain your milk supply.  If you have more “insurance” than roughly 4-7 pounds (2-3 kg) you may be thinking you want to start losing some weight.

It is usually not a problem to maintain your milk supply and lose approximately 1 pound (0.5 kg) per week. (2)  The rate of 1 pound (0.5 kg) per week does not change the quaility or quantity of milk you produce. (2) If you start to lose more than 2 pounds per week after the three week mark (when you are no longer equalizing fluid and blood volume for delivery) you can effect your milk supply.  Especially, if you go below 1500 calories per day (3)  Gradual weight loss is best for you and your baby.

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic, Labor and delivery, postpartum care, Available at  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/weight-loss-after-pregnancy/art-20047813  Accessed Sept 18, 2015.
  2. Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd revised edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003, pp 446-47.
  3. Lawrence, Ra, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th edition, Maryland Heights, Mo, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, p 284.