My client is breastfeeding. Are there any dietary guidelines she can follow to lose weight?
Prior to engaging in a weight loss program, your client should consult with her physician to ensure there aren’t any contraindications involved.
It is important that your client takes a slow approach to losing weight; approximately one to two pounds per week are safe. It is best to combine an exercise program with a healthy diet, due to the maintenance/increase in lean body mass that occurs. The more muscle a person has, the more calories they will burn throughout the day.
As far as calories go, a nursing mother generally needs to take in an extra 200-500 calories a day for lactation. The nutritional quality of human milk generally remains unaffected during a slight calorie deficit. However, a very low calorie diet may affect milk production. Optimally, nursing mothers should consume a well-balanced diet, rich in nutrient-dense foods. A calorie intake of at least 1800 calories is recommended for the average nursing mother.
Be sure your client is receiving enough calcium; at least 1,000 mg. is recommended for nursing mothers over the age of 18. Increasing the intake of carbohydrates and vitamin C rich foods and drinking lots of water is recommended. It is also good insurance to take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
In conclusion, your client should eat a well-balanced diet and perform daily exercise in order to lose weight. Just remember that her caloric requirements will probably be around 200-500 calories higher than an equivalent person who is not nursing.