The Link Between Obesity and Troubles Breastfeeding
If you were obese before becoming pregnant, there’s a possibility that your prolactin (the milk-making hormone) levels weren’t high enough to adequately prepare your breasts for breastfeeding. Additionally, lower prolactin levels after birth can be a leading factor in lower milk production.
Even if you have very large breasts that seem like they should be able to produce plenty of milk, you can still have a problem breastfeeding successfully. Often, very large breasts are mostly made up of fat tissue and other not glandular, milk-producing tissue.
If you believe obesity might be affecting your breastfeeding relationship, see your doctor and have your prolactin levels checked and follow the advice of your health care professional. In the meantime, there is some good news: you can safely diet while breastfeeding.
You may have heard that you have to increase your calorie intake by 300 to 500 while breastfeeding, however that only applies if you want to maintain your body weight. When faced with obesity, it is safe to diet and lose a pound or two a week through exercise as long as you are getting at least 1800 calories throughout the day. This is the minimum amount of calories believed necessary to maintain a healthy milk supply.
Your body has no problem with burning fat to make milk. But remember, fat may contain toxins that are released into the bloodstream when the fat is converted to energy. Too many toxins can overwork your liver and kidneys so keep weight loss to 1 to 2 pounds a week. Don’t worry though, research has shown that these toxins are not present in breast milk.
I personally have had success with “The Abs Diet for Women.” This widely available book isn’t really a diet, but a lifestyle change that increases the number of times you eat (3 meals and 3 snacks per day) and favors higher protein and healthier food over high carb food. However it is not a low carb diet. You can find it at Amazon.com or possibly from your local library.
Eating six times a day kept me from feeling hungry and is great for obesity-battling, breastfeeding mothers. Furthermore the meals and snacks are often quick and easy to prepare – something a mother of small children can really appreciates!
Another option is the Milk Up! Meal Plan detailed in chapter 8 of the Milk Up! book. An electronic copy of this book is included as a free gift with an order of Lactiful Supply Max. This nutritious meal plan is specifically for mothers who want to increase milk production and can be the basis of a healthy diet.
And finally, my sister lost a lot of weight with Weight Watchers and is now a lifetime member so if you haven’t found a diet that works with your lifestyle, keep looking! Obesity and breastfeeding are not best friends, but working on weight loss can lead to more milk production, more energy and better overall health. To help boost milk supply see the 11 ways to increase milk production.