The ultimate guide to postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding

Lose postpartum weight while breastfeeding with our comprehensive guide. Get personalized tips and practical solutions to achieve your goals!

Lose weight while breastfeeding

Let me guess, you've been told that breastfeeding makes the weight "melt off" after pregnancy but for you, the weight doesn't seem to want to budge? If you're trying to lose weight while breastfeeding, you may find it more difficult than you expect.

But don't get discouraged yet! You are in the right place. This article will help you find some clarity and direction in reaching your postpartum weight loss goals while breastfeeding your baby.

Why can't I lose weight while breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, weight loss while breastfeeding can be a little slower than we expected. Here are four reasons why you can't lose weight while breastfeeding.

Increased appetite

Your body burns about 425-700 extra calories per day (source) which can leave you feeling hungrier than usual.

It may be difficult to maintain the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss due to increased appetite and excess calories needed to produce breast milk.

Sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep is a very important factor in losing weight, regardless of breastfeeding or not. Not getting enough sleep can cause a sudden spike in our appetite due to hormonal fluctuations.

Hungry, sleep-deprived mothers tend to reach for quick, easy-to-access snacks. These snacks tend to be high in sugar and calories and are not ideal for weight loss.

Low activity level

We would rather sleep or cuddle a newborn than exercise or go out for a walk to burn some calories, right? Low activity levels combined with increased appetite and caloric intake can be a major obstacle to reaching your weight loss goals. But still not impossible!


Stress is very hard on the body, and if your body is trying to produce milk for your baby, it can actually affect your supply.

If you're stressing about things like the challenges of motherhood, worries about returning to work, trying to lose baby weight or even trying to maintain your milk supply, it's likely that all that stress is making it harder for your body to produce milk.

How to lose weight while breastfeeding

While breastfeeding burns approximately 425-700 additional calories per day (source), this alone may not be enough for the rapid weight loss you were hoping for.

In fact, some women may have difficulty losing weight until they finish breastfeeding. You can thank your female hormones for this. They can make losing fat a little difficult. With a little creativity, dedication, consistency, and support, I promise you can reach your goals! This is exactly what will help you lose weight after all the pregnancy.

Eat high-quality food sources

Breastfeeding is an excellent time to focus on developing healthy eating habits.

While studies show that our bodies are very tolerant and your diet has very little effect on the composition of breast milk, a poor diet is more likely to affect you.

  • Not making wise food choices will affect your energy levels, sleep, mood, and ability to lose weight while breastfeeding.
  • Eating nutrient-dense foods such as proteins, fats, and healthy fruits and vegetables will help keep your body full for longer.
  • A handful of nuts and cheese will keep you fuller than a bag of chips or a candy bar!


Track your calories

Most mothers are able to maintain a milk supply of 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day. Since you may feel hungry while breastfeeding, tracking calories can help you stay on track and prevent overeating.

I believe that counting calories doesn't have to be a lifelong endeavor. However, at the end of the day, weight loss boils down to calories in versus calories out, and tracking calories to monitor portion control will help reach your postpartum weight loss goals faster.

As long as you are in a slight calorie deficit, you will lose or maintain weight. I suggest starting out eating around 1800-2200 calories and tracking as carefully as possible. Then play around by adding or subtracting a few hundred calories until you find the balance that suits you.

If you exercise, be sure to increase your calorie intake on workout days. I would suggest only about 300-400 calories which is the equivalent of a protein drink. 

Move more, but not with exercise

During the newborn and breastfeeding stage, you are more sedentary while feeding and cradling your newborn. This means you don't burn as many calories throughout the day. Yes, breastfeeding burns calories, but staying more sedentary may offset those extra calories burned.

Let me introduce you to a great weight loss term called “N.E.A.T” or “non-exercise activity thermogenesis.” This is the total number of calories our bodies burn for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or exercising. (source)

This means all the calories our bodies burn throughout the day are from things like cleaning the house, taking walks with the kids, or doing laundry. Basically, we burn calories from just moving our bodies.

The more calories our bodies burn throughout the day through exercise or otherwise, the better we can manage or lose weight.

If you find yourself more sedentary than usual, put your baby in a carrier and start a decluttering project or do some laundry. Remind yourself this, “The more you move, the more weight you lose.”

Add extra protein

Protein is the building block of the entire body. Not only does it help us repair and rebuild our muscles, but it also helps us control appetite.

Increasing muscle mass also helps speed up your metabolism, helping your body burn more calories throughout the day.

If you find it difficult to cook enough protein, try adding a protein shake daily. I also highly recommend trying collagen protein.

Collagen is basically the building blocks of hair, nails, skin, ligaments, joints and connective tissue. However, collagen will help repair joints and connective tissue in your heart to help your body heal from the load. And if you want to avoid hair loss after giving birth, collagen will help you with that as well.

Keep your body hydrated

Staying hydrated has more to do with helping with weight loss than maintaining your breast milk supply. (source)

Our bodies can have a difficult time distinguishing between thirst and hunger. This often makes us reach for snacks instead of quenching our thirst first.

If you are trying to lose weight or have noticed a decrease in your breast milk supply, always try to drink more water or calorie-free fluids before eating something. The best way to stay on track with your water intake is to fill a large water bottle every day and keep it by your side.

Exercise whenever and wherever you are

Finding the time, energy, and motivation to exercise with a newborn may seem impossible, especially if you have other children around. But even just 10 minutes a day can help you lose weight and reshape your body. When the weather is nice, take baby for a stroller walk.

Do some lunges and squats while walking and you will increase your calorie burning rate for the day! The quality of your workouts is more important than quantity and you can still reach your weight loss goals without strict time commitments!

Several 10-minute workouts spread throughout the day can produce huge results! Adding in some exercise can help you relieve some stress, boost your mood, and increase your energy to help keep up with tough mommy tasks!

do not give up!

I know, I know, this is easier said than done. Especially if you're not seeing results as quickly as you had hoped. It's very hard not to get frustrated when you feel insecure in your postpartum body and frustrated because you're not able to achieve your goals as quickly as you had hoped.

But keep in mind that breastfeeding can help you lose weight or prevent you from losing excess weight. However, it is important to remember that each person experiences weight loss differently.

The most important thing you can do is focus on your own goals and not compare your progress to others. If you stay consistent, your hard work and dedication will definitely pay off!

Conclusion: Realistic tips for losing weight while breastfeeding

In conclusion, postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding can be achieved with the right approach and mindset. It's important to focus on nourishing your body with healthy foods, staying hydrated, and getting regular physical activity that supports your milk supply. Remember to be patient with yourself and celebrate every small victory along the way. By making sustainable lifestyle changes and seeking support from your health care professionals or support group, you can reach your weight loss goals while maintaining a healthy breastfeeding relationship with your baby. Start implementing these tips today and see their positive impact on your health and well-being!

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