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Losing Weight While Breastfeeding:
Six No-No's to Avoid

losing weight while breastfeeding
Written by Suzzane DeLeon

As a new mom, one of the first things you probably want to do is lose that baby weight. However, losing weight while breastfeeding is not always a good idea. Below are six common weight-loss strategies that can be dangerous to a breastfeeding mom and her baby.

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Excessive Exercise

Breastfeeding is a symbiotic relationship between mom and baby. While moderate exercise is a good idea, excessive exercise can cause an overabundance of hormones to be released into your milk. This can affect your baby, causing fussiness.

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A Limited-Calorie Diet

Dieting is another popular weight-loss method. While it is certainly better for your body than a surgery like ultrasonic liposuction, it can still hurt your breastfeeding relationship. A breastfeeding mom needs extra calories on a daily basis to support healthy milk production. Denying your body these calories can lower milk supply and interrupt your breastfeeding relationship.

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Breast Reduction

If you are unhappy with your breasts, the immediate postpartum period is not the time to consider extreme measures like breast liposuction. Being large-busted isn't always a blessing. However, any breast surgery has the potential to impact milk ducts, making it dangerous during your childbearing years. If you want to take off weight in your breast area, wait until you are done breastfeeding children.

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Weight Loss Surgery

While liposuction doesn't specifically impact breastfeeding, there are reasons to put it off until you no longer have a nursing baby. An ultrasonic liposuction for example, not only costs much, but many of the anesthetics and pain medications used may not be safe to pass through your milk. In addition, the recovery can cause stress, leading to a lowered milk supply. If you do take the plunge, make sure you know exactly what to expect and adjust the anesthesia and medications to be as breastfeeding friendly as possible.

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Diet Pills

Even for women who do not have a breastfeeding baby, diet pills can be dangerous. Diet pills won't directly impact your breasts, but the ingredients are definitely not safe for you or your baby. Most diet pills are heavy on caffeine, which passes easily through your milk. Caffeine can contribute to colic, interrupt a healthy sleep schedule and cause your baby to be high-strung.

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Low-Carb or Fad Diets

It seems like there is always a new fad diet being promoted. While some people can find weight-loss success with low-carb and other fad diets, it's probably not a good idea for the breastfeeding mom. Following a fad diet can cause nutrition deficiency. Any deficiency in your body while breastfeeding means that your baby is also missing key nutrients they need. This may lead to immune-related diseases later on. Stick with a balanced diet until you wean.

Losing weight after birth is not really a bad idea. But it is always best to check with your doctor about the options that moms have to avoid compromising their and their babies' safety.

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