New moms typically look forward to getting back to their pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible after baby arrives. This is completely understandable after 9 monhts of slowly (or quickly!) gaining more and more weight, while also becoming more and more uncomfortable.
I'm Kaite, a mom of 4 boys and founder of Milk Dust. I'm also a Pre/Post-Natal Fitness Specialist and Certified Nutrition Coach. I have gained lots of pregnancy weight, and lost lots of pregnancy weight over the years, all while breastfeeding. Each pregnancy was a different journey, and I will be going over all the tips and tricks I learned to help you lose weight after pregnancy the quickest way. I've found that the best way to lose weight after pregnancy, while breastfeeding is to make sure you are focusing on the right things. Postpartum weight loss is much more complicated than just eating a healthy diet and exercising more. There are fluctuating hormones, a new baby to care for, lack of sleep and mainly really low energy levels. Because most moms have to wait 6 weeks to start physical activity, exercise isn't a part of the weight loss equation to lose those extra pounds, but I have found that with the right nutrition, you can easily lose the extra weight without losing milk supply quickly and safely. Quickly let's go over what the baby weight is, so you understand the full scope of where the weight comes from.
The baby weight is more than just additional fat stores:
Typically, according to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthy range of weight gain, or baby weight is 25 to 35 pounds (11.5 to 16 kg)Trusted Source during pregnancy. This means that gaining weight is normal and expected. Of course the CDC guidelines are very generalized, but you can check out the interactive calculators at the Institute of Medicine/National Academies to determine your individual recommended weight gain. Your healthcare providers may also have a different recommendation based on your own needs. American Journal of Obstetrics GynecologyTrusted Source breaks down exactly what the baby weight consists of: the baby placenta amniotic fluid breast tissue blood uterus enlargement extra fat stores The extra fat acts as stored energy and nutrients for birth and breastfeeding. Gaining too much weight just means that there is more energy stored than needed for breastfeeding. When this happens, the weight sticks and is known as the baby weight.
The consequences of keeping on some of this extra weight after pregnancy include: increased risk of being overweight heightened risk of diabetes and heart disease greater risk of complications during pregnancy higher health risks for women with gestational diabetes The following list provides evidence-based tips to help you lose the extra pounds.
My best tips that helped me lose weight after pregnancy quickly:
Start with cleaning up your nutrition:
The first thing I do when I am newly postpartum and wanting to start losing weight, is I clean up my overall nutrition. Healthy eating while breastfeeding and trying to lose weight is so much more than just eating more salad or reducing sugar. Actually cleaning up your nutrition means focusing on nutrient-dense foods. These nutrients are the key to ensuring you keep your milk supply, while also allowing your body to let go of fat. Here are the steps I take to clean up my nutrition: I take out empty-calorie foods like bread, pasta, crackers, chips etc. They don't offer the nutrients needed for postpartum recovery and lactation I make sure I am getting enough protein (protein shakes were so helpful with my first 3, and I had Milk Dust for my 4th!) I take out dairy because it affacts my blood sugar (I've always had trouble with dairy, and drop weight every time I eliminate it! Try it!) I focus on high-quality, lean proteins like free-range ground turkey, free-range eggs, fish, tuna and chicken I keep sugar cravings controlled with my Milk Dust Bars and Milk Dust Shakes (specifically formulated to stop sugar cravings!) These steps will help you keep up your breast milk because there will be plenty of nutrients to support lactation, but help with weight loss because all of these foods are lower in calories. Eating less calories, but super nutrient-dense calories means your body can still produce plenty of milk and let go of fat stores. The first three days or so will be the hardest as you make your healthy changes, but once you get over those first three days, you will only feel better and better. This is very different from popular crash diets because we aren't eliminating or reducing macro nutrients like carbohydrates. If you've been successful with Keto or low carb in the past, then your body is probably well adapted to that lifestyle of eating, and you will have a lower risk of a drop in supply if you follow what has worked before! The key is not to do anything super drastic. Don't reduce calories, or count every bite, but focus on making each of your healthy snacks full of nutrients.
I have a free, 10-day diet plan that walks you through all of this, and it will really help guide you on how to fix your nutrition, while also giving you recipes.
Increase Fiber and Protein Together:
This is a great trick to help you get to your healthy weight, whithout feeling starving. Protein and fiber, combined together, can make you feel super full. For example, if you eat a huge pan of veggies and egg whites, you may feel super full on about 200 calories. Where as one small cheeseburger can be at least 400 calories and still leave you feeling like dessert. The trick is to make sure you have protein and fiber together at every snack and meal. I promise, this works really well. Try turkey and apple slices, hard-boiled eggs and peppers, cucumbers with hummus and tuna. Roasted veggies with rotisserie chicken or turkey burgers with tomatoes wrapped in lettuce all are examples of fiber and protein meals. My absolute favorite trick is a spinach or strawberry protein shake daily. I use Milk Dust protein, and I actually love it blended with spinach and ice. It makes a huge, creamy milk shake, but also leaves you feeling super full. This will also help with cravings, because you have less cravings when you feel full!
Start adding in more movement (increase your steps!):
Before I can start working out postpartum, I focus on adding more movement throughout the day. Many new mothers become less active with breastfeeding because there is so much sitting and feeding. I found that baby wearing in the early weeks really helped me keep my newborn happy, and also help me get more walking in. Walking is very healing, and gentle exercise that won't cause any injuries. If you have a step tracker, those are super helpful to help you see where you can add more steps in and motivate you to do it. I found my step tracker on my watch to be really motivating.
Set realistic goals:
This is so, so important! If you are too focused on losing the weight quickly, you can quickly become discouraged and give up. I always stay very realistic and conservative when trying to lose weight postpartum. I focus on how my clothes fit, rather than look at the scale, and I use before and after photos to bive me visuals. Sometimes your body changes faster than you realize, but it doesn't show on the scale. Photos are really good to help with this.
Start strength training:
Pilates is my favorite form of strength training when I am newly postpartum. I love Pilates for the extra focus on the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Pilates is still a light exercise that will increase your activity level, as well as heal your pelvic floor muscles. It is really important to incorporate healing exercises into your postpartum exercise routine. Spending a couple weeks working through breath, core work and pelvic floor engagement will protect you from future injury as you begin adding in more exercising. Once you have a foundation of strength back from Pilates and body-weight work, you can start adding weights to increase your muscle mass again. Weight training is key to building shape and tone, which is lost during the first few months postpartum. Also, if you are losing weight, but not strength training, it can lead to flabbier, smaller look.
Begin HIIT and cardio workouts when ready to speed up weight loss:
I am a lover of HIIT and cardio workouts. I have always loved running, so I always add in cardio as soon as I am ready. I have to say that once you add in cardio, you can really start to see the weight drop off. If you are staying toned with weights, then it is amazing how quickly cardio can help you shed some pounds. Your pre-baby body is a lot closer when you start adding cardio into your weight loss efforts. Cardio just burns a lot of calories and really is that push that makes a visible difference quickly. The only warning is that when you add cardio, you might need to alter your food intake and your calorie intake. More cardio can make your body want more carbohydrates, and carbohydrates are essential for successful lactation. In order to ensure milk production stays the same, you can increase your carbohydrate intake a bit with sweet potatoes and oatmeal, without increasing total calories. This will keep you from gaining weight, but also protect your milk supply.
I religiously follow these steps when I am looking to get back to my pre-baby weight. I was able to do it faster my fourth time around because I had Milk Dust, despite having the highest pregnancy weight gain of all my pregnancies. I was pregnant during covid, and unable to go to the gym in the middle of the Florida summer. This really reduced my activity, and forced me to try and figure out how to work out from home again. I ganed about 30 lbs, but it wasnt an issue because I was able to keep my milk supply high and lose the extra weight. The good news is that your healthy lifestyle changes cane make such a big difference.
I also created a course, The Boob Food Master Nurtition Course that gives you all the tools you need to finally lose weight after pregnancy, without affecting your milk supply at all. This course is full of really important information that will transform your milk supply through nutrtion. You really can lose weight and actually increase your supply.
You will learn everything about breastfeeding nutrition:
- Your Nutritional Needs During Lactation.
- What’s The Lactation Cookie Trap?
- The Power of Nutrition And Milk Volume.
- How Nutrient Deficiencies Decrease Milk Supply.
- Herbs, Spices + Antioxidants That Boost Milk Supply.
- The Most Powerful Foods For a Low Milk Supply.
- Why You Crave Sugar (all the time!).
- How to Create A Balanced Plate For Breastfeeding.
You will also learn specific dieting instructions to increase supply:
- Eating For Increased Milk Supply
- Meal Plan That Boosts Milk Supply
- Emergency Milk-Boosting Foods
And all about losing weight while breastfeeding:
- Nutrition for Weight Loss and Breastfeeding
- The Key To Keeping Supply + Losing Weight
- Counting Macros For Weight Loss while Breastfeeding
Once those habits set in, they become second nature. If you are eating enough calories, drinking plenty of water, and filling your plate with super-nutrient dense foods, you will start seeing results.
If milk supply is an issue, and you are very worried about it dropping, use a milk supply booster like Milk Dust to protect your supply. Your proper nutrition will also help prevent postpartum depression, reduce fatigue and help with mood swings. Many times this is from blood sugar being out of whack, which throws hormones out of wack and thus causes extreme moods. There are so many benefits to losing weight postpartum, but if you find that you are gaining weight, while still breastfeeding, there's a great post that goes into detail on why that is, and how to fix it.