Your Postpartum Body

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Below is an overview of information on diet while breastfeeding, and a few words about postpartum weight loss.

Diet and Breastfeeding:

The latest thinking is that there is generally no need to eliminate particular foods from your diet while breastfeeding. Furthermore, a varied maternal diet may help to prevent fostering a picky eater. If you believe that your baby is having a bad reaction to something you eat, however, you may choose to eliminate it from your diet for a week or more (more than two weeks for dairy) to see whether your baby’s symptoms disappear. Read more about food sensitivities in infants.

Diet and Milk Supply:

Some foods and herbs can increase milk supply (oats, yams, and fenugreek, for example), while others can decrease supply (sage, mint). The quantity of herbs needed to affect milk supply is generally much greater than typical culinary amounts. (A word of caution: medicinally effective doses of fenugreek can lead to weight gain.)

Postpartum Weight Loss:

Whether you gained seventeen pounds or seventy while you were pregnant, you may be surprised by how your body adjusts postpartum. While some women shed their pregnancy weight almost immediately and effortlessly after giving birth, many find that several months into the postpartum year (maybe four, maybe nine), the weight starts to come off — and quite a few find that the last five pounds (or ten, or more) are still around when their babies turn a year old. While exclusive breastfeeding helps many women lose weight, others find that they can’t lose it until weaning. We’re all different. If you are eating well and starting to get some exercise, you are doing about all you can and should in the first few months as far as getting back into shape goes.

Recent studies have found that body dissatisfaction typically peaks around six months postpartum. Most of us have heard this, but it bears repeating: it took nine months to gain the weight, and you should expect it to take at least that long to lose it. Go easy on yourself! To your baby, you are the most beautiful woman in the world.