I remember side-lying in bed, nursing my eldest when she was just a month old. I had finally gotten into a bit of a groove for being her boob slave and was just letting my mind wander as she slipped into a breastmilk coma. Her suckling eased a bit, and she had that nice, full, satisfied, and sleepy look on her face.
It was then I began to wonder if I could do something drastic to lose the baby weight. I put on a lot of weight with her, and while breastfeeding did help a lot of it come off, I still had a way’s to go. 🙁
I thought about going on a diet or cleanse. Friends back home had shipped me a box of baby stuff plus some celebrity mags for me to read in moments like these where I was pretty much tethered by my boobs to a tiny little human.
And while that was a while ago, you can still flip through any of them and find the celebrity du jour talking about how she lost ALL that baby weight by doing the master cleanse while breastfeeding. Or a juice cleanse while breastfeeding. Or – gag – a colon cleanse while breastfeeding.
Maybe your favorite singer or actress is busy touting detox water or some other well-hyped method. You look at her wistfully, and you feel like a moose. I know I did.
But unless your fave celebs are doctors (and no, playing one on TV doesn’t count!), then it’s probably a better idea to ask a real doctor for the sake of your health and that of your baby’s.
While it’s true that your nutrition and diet are essential during pregnancy, you’re not entirely off the hook when you’re breastfeeding. Remember, caffeine and alcohol can have their impacts, though at least you now can have a little more breathing room when it comes to eating and drinking things that were strictly and absolutely forbidden during pregnancy.
So in today’s post, I’d like to talk to you about detox while breastfeeding. I get loads of questions about whether it’s safe or not and how to lose that baby weight, so keep reading and I’ll explain.
Can I Do a Cleanse While Breastfeeding?
Well, let me start by saying it depends on the cleanse you speak of. If you mean a juice cleanse or some other drastic measure, sorry, but I’m not going to encourage a restrictive regimen like that.
Your body needs enough calories and proper nutrients to help keep your breastmilk in tip-top condition for your baby. When you strip away what your body needs, that only causes trouble.
Besides, your body is designed to cleanse itself. That’s what your liver, kidneys, and colon are all hard at work doing every day. What you should be doing is ensuring you’re getting plenty of fiber. Don’t just take my word for it. La Leche League agrees as there aren’t any scientific studies that legitimately back the claims juice cleanses attempt to make. 😀
On top of that,
Those juice cleanses are too low in calories and lack the necessary fat and proteins your body desperately needs right now. When you’re not getting enough of what you need, your body takes it from your own energy stores. This might get you a few pounds of weight loss, but it’s mostly water that will all come back as soon as you nix the cleansing.
Now, if you want to cleanse your body by eating nutritiously with clean and whole foods, absolutely! I can get behind that. In fact, that and regular exercise is what’s going to get you results. Sorry, there is no magical way to lose weight.
And before you say, “But Leslie! What about my favorite movie star? She had a baby a month ago and looks amazing!” Guess what…if you had your dietician, chef, nanny, and trainer who worked with you 4 hours a day every week, you would too. Don’t buy into the hype either when someone famous claims they only drank juice from a strange fruit that comes from the Amazon rainforests and nibbled on the salad. Please just trust me on this.
If you’re interested in doing a proper and healthy cleanse, keep reading below!
Is Detoxing Bad While Breastfeeding?
Again, it depends on how you’re detoxing. If you’re going to extremes with some weird cleanse, it’s a bad thing. But if you’re doing it to clean up your life a bit in the way of more nutrition, I’m all for it.
As I mentioned, your body is designed to detox. But of course, our world is full of toxins and pollutants. So it makes sense that doing a more healthful cleanse would be a good idea, but it doesn’t involve starving yourself. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
My recommendation is to go as natural as you can with your intake of foods. Remember, the baby gets what you get, so make it nutritious and healthy.
Here are my tips to safely detox:
- Eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables. Organic is important to reduce the amount of toxins pouring in from your food sources.
- Additionally, you should be filling your plate with lean proteins, healthy fats, and fiber.
- Bone broth and fermented foods are ideal choices to help keep your gut in check and nourish the good bacteria to keep you healthy.
- Balance it out with supplements too. You should continue to take the prenatal vitamins your doctor recommended even while breastfeeding.
- Always drink enough water. If you want, add a lemon to it (I’ll talk about the benefits of that in just a minute).
See? There’s no miracle cure here. If you want to detox while breastfeeding, the best thing you can do is cut out the clutter in your diet and get back to eating real whole foods.
Try to consume these foods to increase your milk supply.
Don’t be tempted to try something like the keto diet now too. I’ve discussed that at great lengths in an earlier post, so read that to see why I’m not a fan. Just go with eating clean and healthy.
By the way, no judgment if you splurge on the occasional pizza, slice of cake, or some donuts. But in all honesty, if you want to see weight loss results, the less of those processed things you eat, the better you will look and feel.
Is it safe to drink apple cider while breastfeeding?
One of my best friends recommended taking a spoonful of apple cider vinegar diluted in water ages ago. I decided to look into it to see if it had any merit. As it turns out, studies conducted by Harvard had great results in mice. However, it can mess with your potassium levels and might not be a good idea for people with diabetes since it can cause trouble with your insulin levels.
You should ask your doctor, but apple cider vinegar is safe to ingest while your breastfeeding as long as it is filtered, purified, and organic.
While I’m not sold on the idea of taking a spoonful of it before breakfast, I have always kept apple cider vinegar on hand for making salad dressing. If you whisk it together with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, then season to your liking (like with Italian seasoning), you will never go back to buying that preservative-filled stuff from your supermarket.
Can I drink lemon water while breastfeeding?
Often, new nursing mamas wonder if lemon water can help with weight loss during breastfeeding. They also wonder if it’s safe. No worries! I definitely encourage lemon water. There are no ill effects for you or your baby.
In fact, lemon water made it easier for me to drink enough water each day. I’d get so tired of plain water, and I didn’t want to have sugary sodas or junk like that. This is the only detox water while breastfeeding that you’ll need!
When you add lemon to your water, you get more vitamin C, which is always a good thing. Keep your immunity strong, Mama! You need it now more than ever!
As a bonus, Healthline cites studies done in mice that show weight-loss benefits from drinking water with lemon. It’s not clear whether the lemon does anything special or if it merely encourages you to drink more water, which keeps you fuller, but either way, it definitely helps!
Hey, Leslie! How about Flat Tummy Tea while breastfeeding?
OMG, no, you guys. No detox tea while breastfeeding! Not this one and not any of the multitude of others similar to it. I wouldn’t even suggest it to you if you were all finished nursing months or years down the road.
Why do I feel so passionately about this? 🙄
It’s simple. This isn’t an officially regulated item. It makes all these scientific claims, but what it fails to tell you is that some of those ingredients included can be harmful to your body over the long term. Please don’t take this stuff. As I said, there is no magic cure.
This brings me to something even more unusual…
Can I parasite cleanse while breastfeeding?
Initially, I was a little taken aback by this question. I received several inquiries, and I thought surely my readers can’t be talking about the tapeworm diet. Ick! And if you are, please know that I do not at all advocate such a thing ever, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
So, I’m hoping against hope that those that asked were referring to cleansing away parasites while cleansing and that is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, though you should be working with your doctor if you suspect you’re an unwitting host.
In the homeopathic world, parasite cleanses are recommended yearly because they say you never know what parasites might be lurking inside of you. Don’t diagnose yourself, though. It takes a stool sample from your doctor to determine if you indeed have a parasite problem. Different parasites will require different medications.
The list of symptoms is lengthy and can range from stomach pain and diarrhea to flu-like symptoms and aches and pains. Again, call your doctor for anything unusual and have it checked out.
If your doctor does find something concerning, you might want to do a parasite cleanse under their guidance. Generally speaking, though, you should eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet and remove processed foods and refined sugars. More fiber is better, too, to keep your bowels moving along.
Is it safe while breastfeed? As long as you’re eating right, yes, but if you’re considering taking natural herbs to help, you should not take anything without your doctor’s consent.
So, How Do You Lose Belly Fat While Breastfeeding?
Try not to rush things, love. You will get there if you make an effort. The most important thing is taking care of your body’s nutritional needs as well as your baby’s. Go slow and steady as you approach, making sure you’re eating only quality foods.
I’m going to say this again…there’s no judgment if you indulge in something a little unhealthy here and there. Life is better with pizza. I totally get it. But if you want to lose that belly fat, keep your pizza splurges in check. Balance is absolutely the key to getting your body back.
Once we were in the states again, I’d get the dough out of whole-grain flour rather than refined flour. I’d bake my own pizza, and it was perfect for fulfilling my cravings without wrecking my hard work. Yay! 😀
I mentioned above why I don’t like the keto diet. The reason is you NEED carbs. But you need good carbs from brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and whole-grain bread because they will help you lose belly fat. That’s from this study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Bonus: you’ll get the fiber you need too, and you won’t feel nagging bits of hunger that will make you pull through the drive-thru.
And along with all my healthy detox, while breastfeeding tips above, you need to exercise 5 days a week. Get a jogger stroller and go walking until you can partake in more rigorous exercise. Put on an exercise video in your living room and put your husband in charge of the baby. Keep it moving and balance your diet healthfully, and it will be the only detox you’ll ever need.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.