It's normal for a woman to be concerned about such things as weight loss and fitness, particularly after a pregnancy and during the breast feeding period. However, many new moms also want to know how diet, exercise, and a weight loss program will affect their ability to effectively breast feed their baby. Here's a few basic bits of data on the subject. For specific advice concerning you, your baby, and your breast feeding program, talk to your doctor.
While your particular diet has less impact on the breast milk you provide your baby than you might think, it is important for YOU to be healthy during this period. There is going to be a lot of stress, a lot of lost sleep, and it will be a difficult time to add the burden of "going on a diet" to everything else. The last thing you need at this time is more stress, and trying to maintain your energy level and enjoy your new baby while you are cutting your own personal nutrition is not a good choice. Most "diets", particularly those of the fad sort, tend to shortchange the dieter in terms of necessary nutrition, and even if this does not directly affect your baby, it affects you, and what affects you can affect your child.
If you must "diet" as part of your personal weight loss plan, look into NutriSystem, the South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers, or similar weight loss programs as they stress proper nutrition, exercise, AND have a support mechanism which will put your in contact with others like yourself…often including new moms! If you don't want to get involved with such organized program, then at least make sure that you are following a healthy eating plan and getting regular moderate exercise.
It is normally perfectly okay to exercise during the breast feeding period. Some research has indicated that regular moderate exercise may actually help milk production. As always, in the face of particular circumstances, check with your doctor first. Here's a few things you might want to think about.
One thing that is always a consideration but which is even more important at this time is to protect your breasts. Injury or stress to them can result in conditions such as infection or mastitis which could interfere with your ability to feed your baby and might even result in more extreme health problems. So, always start with a good fitting, comfortable, effective support bra. Avoid exercises which may cause stress to the breasts or pressure on, or impact to, the breasts. Here's where I make my usual plug that for many women, yoga is an excellent fitness choice.
If you were previously an exerciser, ease back into your routine. You may have to modify your routine, providing low-impact alternatives to your familiar high-impact exercises. Don't overdo it. Stick to your healthy eating plan, and drink lots of fluids. Nurse before exercising. It's no good to be hot and sweaty, or in the middle of your favorite exercise routine and have to stop everything to take care of a hungry baby.
Exercise does not have to be a scheduled rigid routine. That walk with your new baby in the stroller may be just the physical activity you both need at the moment. Of course, having to stop for all the compliments on your beautiful new child may interrupt the proceedings a bit.
After your pregnancy, you will certainly be interested in losing the weight that seems to have appeared from nowhere. As always, the key to weight loss is going to hinge on two main points; physical activity and nutrition. If you are following some of the advice above, are getting some regular moderate exercise and have a healthy eating plan firmly in place, there is a good chance that most of that unwanted weight will disappear. However, if it is not going away fast enough, or that last little bit is sticking around, maybe you will need to ramp up your exercise a bit. However, stick with the plan, make your adjustments in bite-size increments, and don't overdo it.
After all, you're getting healthy for two.