Topic Overview

Keep the following in mind as you start an exercise program or try to lose weight while you are breastfeeding.

Exercise

Being active helps promote
weight loss, improves your energy level, and can help you relieve
stress. Follow these tips when you start an
exercise program while you are breastfeeding:

  • Start out slowly. Walking, swimming, and cycling
    are all good low-impact ways to begin an exercise program. Gradually build up
    your time and intensity.
  • Wear a supportive bra. Not all sports bras
    offer enough support, so try on a bra before you buy it.
  • Eat more calories when you are more active.
  • Drink
    plenty of water before, during, and after you exercise.
  • To ease breast discomfort, breastfeed or pump right before you exercise.

Weight loss

You may gradually lose weight without trying while
breastfeeding. The rate and ease of
weight loss varies widely. You may
lose about 1 lb (0.5 kg) to
2 lb (0.9 kg) a week. Some women find that it takes up
to a year to lose the weight they gained during pregnancy.

If you wish to lose weight while breastfeeding, both diet and
physical activity have a role. Physical activity or exercise is the safest way
to lose weight during this time. Moderate calorie restriction (eating less) may
be safe for some overweight women, but breastfeeding women should generally
eat more calories. Extreme
weight-loss diets should be avoided while breastfeeding. For more information, see the topic Nutrition While Breastfeeding.

Talk to a nutritional counselor, registered dietitian, or your
doctor about a safe and healthy diet.

Other Places To Get Help

Organizations

La Leche League International
www.llli.org

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Women’s Health
www.hrsa.gov/womenshealth/index.html

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 16, 2017