Myth or Fact: Breastfeeding & Weight Loss

Myth or Fact: Breastfeeding & Weight Loss

Breastfeeding is often heralded for its numerous benefits to both baby and mother. From providing essential nutrients to boosting the baby's immune system, the advantages of breastfeeding are well-documented. However, one aspect that doesn't receive as much attention is its potential impact on postpartum weight loss for mothers. In this article, we'll delve into the fascinating connection between breastfeeding and weight loss, exploring how this natural process can aid mothers in shedding those pregnancy pounds.


The Science Behind It:

Breastfeeding is a calorie-intensive process. It requires energy for milk production, and this energy is predominantly sourced from fat stores accumulated during pregnancy. Research suggests that breastfeeding mothers typically burn anywhere from 300 to 500 extra calories per day compared to non-breastfeeding mothers. This increased calorie expenditure can contribute significantly to weight loss, particularly in the early postpartum period.

Furthermore, the hormone oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, can help the uterus contract, aiding in its return to pre-pregnancy size. This process, known as involution, further contributes to postpartum weight loss as it disburses additional energy.


Benefits Beyond Weight Loss:

While the potential for weight loss is undoubtedly appealing, the benefits of breastfeeding extend far beyond mere calorie burning. Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mother and baby, provides optimal nutrition tailored to the infant's needs, and lowers the risk of various health conditions for both mother and child.

For mothers, breastfeeding has been linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. It also aids in postpartum recovery by helping the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly and reducing postpartum bleeding.


Challenges and Realities:

While breastfeeding can facilitate weight loss, it's essential to recognize that individual experiences may vary. Factors such as metabolism, diet, level of physical activity, and genetics all play a role in weight loss postpartum. Some mothers may find that breastfeeding alone isn't sufficient to shed excess weight, and additional lifestyle modifications may be necessary.

Moreover, the pressure to lose weight quickly postpartum can be overwhelming for many mothers. It's crucial to approach weight loss with patience and kindness towards oneself, focusing on overall health and well-being rather than solely on the number on the scale.


Nutritional Considerations:

Maintaining a balanced diet is essential for both breastfeeding success and postpartum weight loss. While it's tempting to resort to drastic calorie restriction to accelerate weight loss, it's important to prioritize nutrient-dense foods that support milk production and overall health.

Including plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your diet is key. Additionally, staying hydrated is crucial for milk production and can aid in appetite regulation.



Breastfeeding offers a multitude of benefits for both mother and baby, and its potential role in postpartum weight loss is just one of many. While it's not a guaranteed solution for shedding pregnancy pounds, breastfeeding can certainly aid in the process, thanks to the increased calorie expenditure and hormonal changes it induces.

However, it's essential to approach weight loss postpartum with patience, self-compassion, and a focus on overall health. Every mother's journey is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. By prioritizing a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and self-care, mothers can navigate the postpartum period with confidence and grace, embracing the transformative experience of motherhood in all its complexity.

*This blog is for educational purposes and not medical advice.  Please consult and work with your medical team on your health and wellbeing.  

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