What is the “ideal” weight gain during pregnancy?
It’s healthy for women to gain weight during their pregnancy. How much weight gain is normal depends on your weight pre-pregnancy. A woman with a BMI of 18.5-24.9, considered by the CDC to be “normal weight,” should gain between 25 and 35 pounds. A woman who was underweight before pregnancy should put on a little more. A woman who is overweight or obese should put on less.
Women who don’t gain enough weight many deliver an undersized baby, which can make breastfeeding more difficult. It may also put the baby at increased risk of illness and developmental delays. Gaining too much weight can lead to a larger baby, which can result in delivery complications and potential childhood obesity.
Where does the extra weight go?
About 7 to 8 pounds of your pregnancy weight gain is actual baby weight. The rest of the weight gain shows up in larger breasts and uterus, placenta and amniotic fluid, increased blood and fluid volumes, and fat stores. These fat stores, which can account for up to 8 pounds of pregnancy weight gain, are critical to breastmilk production.
Nursing and pumping both help to trim the fat
The “extra” fat that your body gains during pregnancy isn’t actually extra at all. Your body is storing up the main ingredient in healthy breastmilk. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that breastfeeding and pumping breastmilk both lead to increased weight loss after delivery. Your body is using up those fat stores to feed baby. Not only are you shedding the fat that becomes the milk, converting that fat into milk burns about 500-700 calories per day.
One study found that weight loss from one to twelve months postpartum was “significantly greater” in breastfeeding than in formula-feeding women. Another study found that breastfeeding or pumping could have long term benefits. Women who breastfed for more than 12 weeks postpartun were on average 7.5 pounds lighter ten years after their pregnancy than those who did not breastfeed.
How often should you pump?
If you’re exclusively pumping, you can expect to pump 8 to 10 times per day to start. Over time, you may be able to pump less frequently. However, more frequent pumping will lead to speedier weight loss.
Continue to eat healthy while pumping and breastfeeding
It’s normal to want to drop those pregnancy pounds, but remember that they’re the building blocks of your baby’s healthy future. Don’t rush weight loss. Allow your body a month or two to heal and to establish your milk supply. Consume at least 1800 calories/day of nutrient-rich foods while you’re producing breastmilk. By pairing a healthy diet with breastfeeding or pumping, healthy weight loss will come naturally.
Choose a comfortable, easy-to-use breast pump
Choosing a pump that fits your lifestyle and your body will make it easier to pump more frequently and over a longer period of time. At Milk N Mamas Baby, we provide moms with a wide selection of the most comfortable, innovative breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories on the market. Our in-house experts can help you identify the pump that meets your needs.