Breast-Feeding: Exercise and Weight Loss

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Breast-Feeding: Exercise and Weight Loss

Topic Overview

Keep the following in mind as you start an exercise program or try to lose weight while you are breast-feeding.

Exercise

Being active helps promote weight loss, improves your energy level, and can help you relieve stress. Follow these tips when you start an exercise program while you are breast-feeding:

  • Start out slowly. Walking, swimming, and cycling are all good low-impact ways to begin an exercise program. Gradually build up your time and intensity.
  • Wear a supportive bra. Not all sports bras offer enough support, so try on a bra before you buy it.
  • Eat more calories when you are more active.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you exercise.
  • To ease breast discomfort, breast-feed or pump right before you exercise.

Weight loss

You may gradually lose weight without trying while breast-feeding. The rate and ease of weight loss varies widely. You may lose about 0.5 kg (1 lb) to 1 kg (2 lb) a week. Some women find that it takes up to a year to lose the weight they gained during pregnancy.

If you wish to lose weight while breast-feeding, both diet and physical activity have a role. Physical activity or exercise is the safest way to lose weight during this time. Moderate calorie restriction (eating less) may be safe for some overweight women, but breast-feeding women should generally eat more calories. Extreme weight-loss diets should be avoided while breast-feeding. For more information, see the topic Nutrition While Breast-Feeding.

Talk to a nutritional counsellor, registered dietitian, or your doctor about a safe and healthy diet.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised May 19, 2011

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