No, breastfeeding by itself does not cause your body to store fat. In contrast, breastfeeding actually burns calories, as energy is required to produce and let down your milk supply. So breastfeeding can help you lose weight!
With that said, consuming too much of the wrong type of calories can cause you to gain weight.
Why Am I Putting On Weight While Breastfeeding?
Weight gain while breastfeeding can happen due to a combination of factors such as:
- the total number of calories you are consuming,
- the actual foods you are consuming,
- lack of sleep,
- and the added stress of a newborn.
How Can I Avoid Gaining Weight While Breastfeeding?
To avoid gaining weight while breastfeeding it is important to understand the the quantity and quality of the calories you are consuming on a daily basis. You can begin losing weight from breastfeeding as early as 4-6 weeks provided you are maintaining a healthy intake of calories, nutrients, and water.
Remember! Breastfeeding requires about 400 extra calories per day. The rest may help to your weight gaining factor.
When your stress level is high, your adrenal glands increase the production of cortisol – aka the stress hormone. This stress can:
- increase food cravings, and
- increase your risk of obesity.
The absolute best way to improve your cortisol levels is to try and maximize your sleep quality. It's close to impossible to improving the numbers of hours you sleep when you have a newborn baby. Instead, try to focus on the quality of sleep you are getting.
To improve the quality of your sleep, you can try the following:
- Sleeping in a very dark room,
- Not using your cell phone in your bed,
- Keeping your room cool,
- Taking the TV out of your bedroom, and
- Taking a warm shower before bed.