Want to shed those extra pregnancy pounds? A team of California researchers recommends that breastfeeding women try a combination of dieting and aerobic exercise to lose weight, rather than dieting alone.
"Short-term weight loss (about two pounds per week) through a combination of dieting and aerobic exercise appears safe for breastfeeding mothers, and is preferable to weight loss achieved primarily by dieting, because the latter reduces maternal lean body mass," researcher Megan McCrory wrote in her study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
McCrory and her colleagues from the University of California at Davis studied 67 breastfeeding mothers who had given birth 2 to 4 months previously. The team's goal was to determine if weight loss by dieting, with or without aerobic exercise, adversely affected lactation performance.
The breastfeeding mothers were split up into three groups. One group dieted, another group dieted and exercised and the third was a control group.
The study, which was conducted over an 11-day period, found that women in the diet-only group lost an average of 4 pounds. Women in the diet and exercise group lost an average of 3 1/2 pounds, and the control group lost less than half a pound.
Change in milk volume and composition, energy output and infant weight did not differ significantly among the three groups.
Although the results of this study appear to indicate that a combination of dieting and aerobic exercise is a safe weight-loss strategy for breastfeeding mothers, McCrory and her team note that longer-term studies are needed to confirm these findings.
The Abstract for the study noted above can be found at the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
(Abstract only, the full text requires subscribing)