How do you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror? Most women are rarely happy about weight gain, and that doesn’t change when it’s pregnancy weight. It’s not uncommon to see women take on extreme diets to lose some pounds.

The truth is your body can naturally shed some of that pregnancy weight on its own just by you doing your job as a mother. Pumping breast milk is one part of the equation, but not many people talk about its significance.

Does pumping help you lose weight, and how do you make the process easier on yourself?

Why Women Gain Pregnancy Weight

How much weight a woman gains during pregnancy will depend on their individual situation. For example, underweight women will need to gain more weight than overweight women. However, some level of gain is expected due to the growth of your baby. 

This weight comes from a few different sources, aside from the excess poundage gained from a change in your lifestyle and diet.

First, a baby can grow up to 8 pounds on average before it’s born. Some will weigh more, especially if you have a late birth. 

The placenta and amniotic fluid can weigh up to 6 pounds in total. An increase in blood supply can weigh as much as 4 pounds. Then there’s whatever extra tissue that goes into your breasts. 

In short, a woman’s body operates much like a factory that has gotten a large order they need to produce. However, anything over 35 pounds or so can be considered excess weight gain you’ll need to lose later on.

Expected Postpartum Weight Loss

Directly after giving birth, you can expect to lose about 12 pounds. This weight is not fat and should not be considered as such. Most of it comes from the baby’s actual weight, the placenta, amniotic fluid, and other factors that go into growing your newborn. 

After the birth, you can expect to shed some extra weight due to a lower blood supply as well as a decrease in fat stores. 

There’s also the issue of any extra weight gained due to changes in your physical activity as well as diet. After all, hardcore gymgoers can’t do all the same workouts they would do before pregnancy. 

While you may want to rush back into the gym, you should take it slow at first. Your body still needs to recover from birth, and your newborn baby will need a lot of attention in the early months. 

Does Pumping Help You Lose Weight?

Some women may wonder if pumping breast milk can help them shed some weight. As it turns out, the essential ingredient in breast milk is some of that “extra” fat you’re carrying around. Your body stores it up so your baby can get the nutrients and nourishment it needs. 

In fact, pumping breast milk burns calories. The more you pump, the better the results. 

Some celebrities have performed extreme breast pumping as a way to shed the pounds even faster. However, this is unhealthy behavior because it puts more strain on your body and can diminish the quality of your breast milk. 

How Often to Pump

The frequency you should pump will depend on whether you’re breastfeeding or not. 

For anyone planning to breastfeed, you should always prioritize your baby’s needs over your desire to lose weight. Try to breastfeed as often as your baby needs nourishment.

If your baby has eaten their fill but left you with some excess milk, then you can always pump out the rest. You can stash away this milk for later if you plan on having a day trip away from your infant. 

Mothers who have no interest in breastfeeding can pump as often as they need to. However, overuse of a breast pump may cause your body to produce even more milk when it should be running dry.

How to Use a Breast Pump

New mothers may not know exactly how to use a breast pump, when to use it, or how to store excess milk. 

To begin with, read all the instructions for your pump and keep all spare parts with you. Find a good place to pump and wash your hands before assembling the device. 

Position the breast shield over your breast and start on a low suction level. Increase suction as your milk begins to flow and turn it off when your breasts are empty. 

When you’re done, you’ll need to store your milk in a refrigerator or cooler as soon as possible. It can be kept for a few days, but you can also freeze it. If you aren’t keeping the excess, you can always dump it out. 

Try to pump between feedings, but give yourself at least a half hour before the next breastfeeding session. You need to let your body generate more for your baby. 

Safe Ways to Shed Pounds After Birth

You may also be interested in pursuing other weight loss methods. Keep in mind you will be limited in your first few weeks after birth. Your body will still be healing, so it’s recommended you wait at least twelve weeks before engaging in intense workouts. 

Waiting reduces your chances of hernias, muscle tears, and pelvic organ prolapse. You may need a longer healing period if you suffer from postpartum depression, have excessive scar tissue, or had a C-section. 

Instead, start by walking up to 30 minutes a few days after your delivery. Pay attention to your body and don’t push it too much. You can also do yoga to improve your flexibility in a safe environment. 

A good postpartum diet will scale back your intake while focusing on healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. 

Get Help With Your Postpartum Weight Loss

Does pumping help you lose weight? Yes, pumping and breastfeeding are both natural ways to lose weight after you give birth. However, they might not be the best weight loss solution for everyone. 

If you need help shedding the pregnancy pounds, look no further than Divine Weight Loss. We offer three types of weight loss programs in Riverview, FL. Sign up for our newsletter online and contact us for more information.