Staying Slim And Healthy Through Lactation!Dr. Nitin Gupte
Staying Slim And Healthy Through Motherhood!
When I started my Slimming Centre in Pune, over three decades ago, the goal was not only to help people lose weight and stay slim and healthy for the lifetime but also to help people stay slim, during different stages of their lives.
After all, staying slim is so much easier than losing weight, even if it has to be done in an excellent slimming centre.
The commonest period when most ladies gain weight unnecessarily is around motherhood. We have already discussed how an expectant mother can stay slim and healthy through pregnancy in the article ‘Staying Slim And Healthy Through Pregnancy!’
Let us see now how a nursing mother can lose the few kgs of the extra weight that she still has, post pregnancy.
We have already seen in the above article that if a young lady goes through pregnancy properly, all the extra weight she needs to lose is 4 or 5 kg. Of these, one kg each is the extra blood volume that she needs during pregnancy, which the body will automatically correct soon, on its own and one kg is that of extra breast volume which is needed to support lactation, which the body will lose automatically once breastfeeding stops.
That leaves only 2 or 3 kg of fat which the body will burn off in the 7 or 8 months of breastfeeding as a ready source of energy in an emergency.
So this lady doesn’t really have to do much more than eat as per her needs of lactation and be physically active, to lose the remaining weight.
The extra energy required by a nursing mother would be about 400 to 500 calories, in the first 6 or 7 months of lactation and it would taper off when the demand for breast milk reduces as the baby is weaned off the maternal milk.
That means increasing small portions of cereals (chapati and rice) and pulses and legumes (dals and beans – ‘usal’), fresh vegetables and fruits and extra (3 or 4 cups) milk, in vegetarian ladies and consumption of moderate amounts of egg and fish and meat, in non-vegetarian ladies easily meets the increased calorie, protein and vitamin-mineral needs of the lactating mother.
She doesn’t need to eat too much.
Eating healthy, walking regularly and resting adequately throughout lactation, she will go through the period comfortably and slim down perfectly in the first 3 or 4 months post pregnancy, even without going to a slimming centre!