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Are you a breastfeeding mother? You are probably trying to eat the healthiest foods you can because you are aware that your eating habits can affect your baby's development.

But you still want to shed those postpartum pounds and get your toned abdomen back. How can you safely lose weight without putting your baby's health or your milk supply at risk? 

Can you start dieting right after you give birth?

Weight loss after pregnancy starts right at birth, when you "lose" the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid. Even the higher blood volume and edema associated with pregnancy count toward those pregnancy pounds! Most women lose a considerable amount of weight in the first few weeks after giving birth, and also visibly shrink down. While you recover from birth, you can and should certainly watch what you eat. Breastfeeding mothers will usually already make sure they consume healthy foods for their baby, and a balanced diet free of junk food will help you lose weight, too.

Beside that, you burn 200 to 300 extra calories just by nursing your baby. It may be too early for an actual weight loss diet, but the good news is that you will be losing weight! Breastfeeding a baby is essentially a supply and demand system, and your body needs around eight weeks to get used to your baby's demands and get a steady, secure supply of milk going. By that time, you will be able to reduce your calorie intake gradually without putting your milk supply at risk.

In other words, you can go on a diet when your baby is two months old. Avoid making sudden changes, and reduce your calories slowly. If you do lack nutrients because of a diet, it may not be the quality of your milk that will suffer it can be your own health, and perhaps even your bones instead. The quality of the calories you consume is most important. Cut non-nutritious calories out first, and focus on a power diet that will boost your health and energy, while possibly reducing the amount of calories you eat.

How much can you lose?

Once your baby is around two months old, you can safely lose around 1.6 pounds each week. As always, the quality of the foods you eat is more important than how many calories you take in. Everybody should, of course, avoid a starvation diet whether they are breastfeeding or not. Having these two crucial rules in mind, breastfeeding moms are best off starting with eliminating refined sugars and trans fats from their lives, and enjoying plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and dairy products instead.

Keep in mind that responsible post-baby weight loss is normally a gradual process, and be proud of your progress without having unreasonable expectations. Weight loss is one thing, but a toned belly is a whole other story! A lot of the moms who say they are desperate to lose weight actually want to get rid of the jelly belly that appeared after their uterus was vacated.

Having a flat abdomen again is entirely possible, but only if you add working out regularly to your diet program. Walking, jogging, indoor aerobics or fitness exercises are all things you can do while you have your baby with you. If you have a good baby carrier, you can even jog and nurse at the same time! (See postpartum work outs you can do with your baby for more ideas) Achieving the weight loss and fitness level you want after giving birth requires a combination of three things a healthy diet, regular exercise, and time.

It's very reasonable to expect to reach your fitness and weight goals by nine months postpartum, and you may even be able to get there a little earlier.

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