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How to Maintain A Healthy Breast Milk Supply While Dieting

By Sarah Bourque ; Updated July 18, 2017

Once your baby is born, you may be eager to get your body back to its pre-pregnancy condition. However, you may be concerned that changes in diet and exercise will reduce your breast-milk supply. According to the Better Health Channel website, extremely strict diets are not conducive to healthful breastfeeding. If you cut your food intake too much, you risk missing out on important nutrients that both you and your baby need. Sensible diet and low-impact exercise choices will get you back in shape while giving your little one plenty of nutritious milk.

  1. Wait until your baby is 3 months or older before you consciously try to lose weight. According to KellyMom.com, the first two months are critical to your breastfeeding relationship. Your body will establish a good milk supply during this time.

  2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. According to American Academy of Pediatrics' website, "a normal, healthy diet is all it really takes for a breastfeeding mother to maintain her milk supply and sustain both her baby’s and her own health." However, certain components of a normal, healthy diet should be highlighted when breastfeeding. Your daily diet should include 1,000 milligrams of calcium, at least 400 IU of vitamin D, 8 ounces of protein-rich foods such as meat, foods rich in iron such as fish and leafy green vegetables, and foods rich in folic acid such as spinach and citrus fruits. Also talk with your doctor about taking a multivitamin.

  3. Consume at least 1,500 calories a day. KellyMom.com suggests that nursing mothers need to consume between 1,500 and 1,800 calories per day to maintain a good supply of breast milk.

  4. Stay hydrated. The Better Health Channel website says breastfeeding women should drink up to 2 liters of water a day to keep up their breast-milk supply.

  5. Keep your weight loss to about 1.5 pounds a week for a safe rate. Besides supply concerns, rapid weight loss can affect your baby's well-being. The La Leche League International website explains that rapid weight loss can release contaminants including pesticides, which are stored in body fat, from your blood stream and that these contaminants can end up in your breast milk.

  6. Exercise. According to KellyMom.com, breastfeeding burns about 200 to 500 calories per day, which gives you an automatic advantage on your weight-loss journey. Burn extra calories and improve your mental and physical well-being with exercise such as yoga, Pilates, strength training, walking or jogging. The La Leche League International website states that there is no need to be concerned that exercise will interfere with milk production. Exercise has little, if any, effect on breast milk.

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