Weight Loss
Is it Safe to Take Weight Loss Supplements while Breastfeeding?

Is it Safe to Take Weight Loss Supplements while Breastfeeding?

When you get pregnant you are bound to experience weight gain due to the additional weight of the baby as well as the placenta and amniotic fluid.

Pregnancy hormones can also cause you to gain weight during the gestation period.

While the weight gain caused by the baby’s weight typically goes away after you give birth,  your own weight gained in pregnancy tends to be more stubborn.

A lot of women usually have a hard time losing  postpartum body fat through exercise, hence they opt for alternative ways of losing weight  such as taking weight loss supplements.

There’s a lot of debate on the appropriateness of weight loss supplements for lactating mothers.

This article attempts to discuss how safe (or otherwise) it is to take weight loss supplements while breastfeeding.

DOES WEIGHT LOSS AFFECT BREAST MILK?

Is it Safe to Take Weight Loss Supplements while Breastfeeding?

While most women find it difficult to shed pregnancy weight, some actually lose it too quickly.

Fast weight loss after giving birth is neither good for you nor your baby. Excessive postpartum weight loss can leave you feeling fatigued and affect your breast milk supply.

Additionally, you may end up with breast milk that does not have enough nutrients, essential for your baby’s growth and development.

Excessive weight loss after giving birth can be caused by a lot of reasons including breastfeeding, not getting enough rest, not eating enough food among other reasons.

If you are worried that you are losing too much weight, tell your doctor about it.

The doctor can help you determine how much weight loss is healthy for your situation, depending on your weight before pregnancy.

HOW DO I LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT LOSING MY MILK SUPPLY?

Here are some amazing tips on how you can safely lose weight during the nursing period without compromising your breast milk supply;

STAY HYDRATED AT ALL TIMES

You must stay hydrated at all times during your nursing period to enable you to produce enough milk for your body.

According to research, water can also help you with weight loss by boosting your metabolism, enabling your body to burn more fat.

EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre and micronutrients.

The micronutrients will boost your baby’s health hence promoting growth and development.

On the other hand, Fibre can help you lose weight by keeping you satiated for a long time, which will prevent you from eating unnecessary calories, according to research.

STAY ACTIVE

Keeping fit after delivery can help you regain your pre-baby weight faster than you expected.

If you had a normal delivery with no complications, you could begin exercising a few days after delivery with light aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming.

As your body grows stronger, you may increase your exercises’ duration and intensity for optimal results.

However, make sure that as long as you are breastfeeding, you maintain a balanced diet that will supply you with the nutrients your body requires for recovery as well as those your baby requires for growth.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

New moms tend to overwork themselves trying to be perfect when, in an actual sense, you cannot possibly get it all right.

When you fail to get enough rest (read sleep) your body perceives that you are stressed and releases a hormone called cortisol which will increase your appetite and cause you to gain calories you’d rather not have.

WHY CAN’T I LOSE WEIGHT WHILE BREASTFEEDING?

There is a long-standing belief that if you exclusively breastfeed your baby, you should be able to lose weight within at least 12 months.

While some women who follow this belief are lucky to lose weight postpartum, some have a hard time shedding postpartum body fat despite breastfeeding their babies.

The reason for this delay may have something to do with how your body produces breast milk.

Some women produce enough milk to feed their babies and store the rest, while others produce just enough to feed the baby and have nothing left to store.

There is so much advice floating around regarding this issue that you may have difficulty figuring out which one applies to you.

But if you are breastfeeding and you aren’t losing weight, it could be that you are experiencing insufficient glandular tissue, aka hypoplasia.

Hypoplasia can affect your body’s ability to produce enough breast milk.

How this relates to weight loss you ask?

Here’s the answer.

For most lactating women who do not have a hard time producing milk, the body regulates weight loss on its own and they are eventually able to return to their desired weight within 12 months of giving birth.

Others who have trouble producing breast milk tend to retain their weight for a longer time.

It is alleged that there is a relationship between adipose (fat) tissue and prolactin (the hormone that stimulates breast milk production).

Most women who have trouble producing breast milk tend to hang on to fat for a longer time to help them with milk production.

Research suggests that women who do not lactate enough due to inadequate breast milk production may have difficulty mobilizing the fat accumulated during the pregnancy period, resulting in greater retained pregnancy weight gain.

For such women, weight loss can actually occur at the end of the nursing cycle rather than during the breastfeeding period.

SO, HOW SAFE IS IT TO TAKE WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENTS WHILE BREASTFEEDING?

Taking weight loss supplements while breastfeeding is not advisable.

One reason for this is that they can accelerate weight loss, leaving you with an inadequate milk supply for your baby or nutrient-deficient breast milk.

Secondly, the safety of taking weight loss supplements while breastfeeding is not guaranteed. Weight loss supplements that contain stimulants like green tea, citrus and caffeine, for example, can affect your baby’s feeding and sleeping patterns.

Likewise, weight loss supplements containing 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), a substance commonly used to manufacture weight loss supplements, can affect your baby’s neurological development.

To make matters worse, some manufacturers fail to fully disclose the ingredients of the weight loss products they manufacture, especially if they are a subject of controversy.

If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to avoid these weight loss supplements while breastfeeding completely so that you don’t put yourself and your baby at potential risk of suffering detrimental side effects.

FINAL WORDS

Understandably, you want to get back into shape after childbirth.

However, you need to take it slow and let it happen naturally.

Taking weight loss supplements while breastfeeding may end up hurting you and/or your baby. There isn’t enough scientific evidence proving that they are safe for lactating mums and babies.

Instead, try to be active and maintain a healthy diet that will provide your body with essential nutrients for your baby’s growth while keeping you from gaining unwanted weight.

Then when you are done nursing your baby, you can start going to the gym and trying other weight loss methods such as intermittent fasting.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Shedding that post-baby weight may take a while depending on certain factors out of your control, such as your genetic disposition and metabolism.

But if you stay consistent with exercise and a healthy diet, you will surely get there. Also, here is how to get fit while pregnant.

Good luck!

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