Many mothers wonder if they can safely lose weight
while breastfeeding. It is recommended that moms who are nursing
choose a healthy weight
loss program, or simply adjust their diets so that they are
eating less fats and sugars, rather than attempting quick weight
The *best* way to lose weight, and have it be healthy,
and long lasting, is to change your eating habits. It may be hard
at first, but with the right support, you CAN do it.
Weight Watchers offers
a great program for nursing moms that doesn't involve drugs or herbal
supplements, and encourages a nice, gradual weight loss. Purchasing
a video of yoga, light aerobics, or Line (or other type of dancing
video) Dancing, or just going for a daily walk will help mom to
lose weight. Another option might be to purchase the book, Eat
Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding by Eileen Behan - it comes
Products that should be avoided by breastfeeding
mothers are those that contain Ephedra. Ephedra, (also known as
Ma Huang, Chinese Ephedra and epitonin) is an herbal amphetamine
- a stimulant - a *nice* way to say "speed". Yes, it will
suppress your appetite, but it will also increase your heart rate
and most likely make baby very cranky. It can cause heart damage
to baby as well.
The FDA has issued a warning on Ephedra. Use of
it can (and has already for some) result in: high blood pressure,
irregular heartbeat, nerve damage, injury, insomnia, tremors, and
headaches to seizures, heart attack, stroke, and death.
Natural weight loss products should be used
with caution. They can be harmful
because they generally don't issue warnings about the possible serious
side effects of using the product. Some of the natural weight loss
products list the ingredient Ma Huang rather than "ephedra"
because they can say then that it's a "natural" herb.
(it is, but poses some serious health issues for many people). Herbalife,
for example, has products WITH Ephedra, and some without (those
without may be some that could be used safely by the bf mother).
For this reason it is VITAL that you read the label and also discuss
this with both the representative of the product, and an IBCLC PRIOR
to your purchase.
For more information on Ephedra (and all it's variations):
More on Hazards
Soy Protein Drinks
Protein drinks do not seem to be a problem for the breastfeeding
mother as long as she doesn't replace a balanced diet with the drink,
but adds it to her diet as a source of protein. Look for powdered
drinks that contain only soy or whey protein; not the other herbal
additives or stimulants (most of them untested and unstudied) that
these drinks sometimes contain. Also read the nutrition labels to
see how much protein she's consuming. Staying within or near the
RDA should prevent trouble for the kidneys, which have to get rid
of the unused protein.
drinks like Ultimate Orange, which contain Ephedra(ma huang).
Picolinate is a nutritional supplement, advertised as being
effective in controlling appetite and increasing metabolic rate
while increasing protein synthesis and retention of muscle. There
have not yet been studies done to determine the safety of these
supplements while breastfeeding.