Having a baby is a wonderful occasion, but it also comes with additional health risks if we don’t take care of our bodies during and after pregnancy. Many moms want to lose weight after having a baby and wonder if Weight Watchers is safe while breastfeeding.
If you’re anything like me, you want an easy way to drop the baby weight without worrying about a drop in your milk supply. In this post we will explore if Weight Watchers is safe to do while breastfeeding and if it is the best plan for you in order to lose weight while nursing.
How Does Weight Watchers Work?
Over the last few years, Weight Watchers has been revamped to include additional aspects of the weight loss process. This includes not only a weight loss nutrition plan based on a points system, but also key focus areas like activity, sleep, and your mindset.
Managing these other key areas will help ensure a well-rounded approach to weight loss and a healthy way of eating and living. Without these other factors, weight loss may stall and your hormones may remain unbalanced, keeping you stuck.
When you deliver your baby, you will experience the greatest plummet in hormone levels ever in your life. This is important to point out because it is through proper recovery and nutrition that you can begin to balance those hormones, even if you’re breastfeeding. A healthy nutrition plan is a really important factor in this process, which is why Weight Watchers is safe while breastfeeding with proper modifications.
Based on your personal assessment that you’ll fill out when you sign up for the program, you will be assigned specific points (referred to as SmartPoints) to meet during the day. These points can be satisfied through the foods you eat.
Different foods account for different numbers. The company creates a customized food plan based on your preferences and needs. They call these plans Green, Blue, or Purple.
The idea behind Weight Watchers is you can eat anything in moderation. You create your diet plan based on your way of eating. It sounds good in theory, and it does work for some people.
How Weight Watchers Works While Breastfeeding
Because you are breastfeeding, you’ll get additional points for your daily diet routine. It is important you consume all your points because your body needs to maintain at least 1,800 calories (more if you’re breastfeeding twins) each day.
When you sign up for Weight Watchers while breastfeeding, you are assigned a health advisor initially to get you started. Then, you have the option to either do a recurring membership online, in person, or hybrid.
They still host live meetings in your area usually, depending on your location. The live meetings can really help with accountability if you’re forced to weigh each week.
Many Weight Watchers “foods” are prepackaged which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to heal your body and recovery after a baby. If you choose to sign up for the Weight Watchers program while breastfeeding, you can utilize the points system to still meet the requirements of the program without buying food made in a factory.
Instead, focus on eating healthy foods that are the least processed. When you hit a plateau, you can track your food to better understand where you’re eating your calories. The foods I suggest focusing on are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and pasture-raised or wild-caught meat, poultry, and seafood.
Is Weight Watchers Safe While Breastfeeding?
With some easy modifications, Weight Watchers is safe to do while breastfeeding. When you join Weight Watchers, they will give you a personal assessment to do and this will help them identify the right number of “points” and the specific program that is best for you.
It’s important to consume all your points for the day because you are breastfeeding. You will be allowed more points because your body is using energy to make milk.
Your body uses between 250-500 calories to produce milk for your baby each day, depending on how often you’re nursing. For example, a mom that is nursing exclusively (baby is under 6 months and has not been introduced to solid foods) will produce more milk, and will therefore use more calories to make milk.
If a mom has introduced solid foods to the baby and the baby is over 6 months of age (but under one year), the baby is relying slightly less on the milk produced. Under one year of age though, the baby’s primary food source should still be breast milk.
No matter what diet or nutrition plan you are following, it is important to watch for signs that your baby is getting plenty of milk to drink. You can watch for dehydration by monitoring the baby’s diaper output (wet and dirty diapers), as well as the color of the urine in their diaper–darker urine may indicate dehydration.
Work with your pediatrician if you suspect your baby isn’t getting enough milk. You may need to also drink more water, add more electrolytes to your diet routine, or eat more healthy food to add in more calories.
How Many Weight Watcher Points Do Breastfeeding Moms Get?
According to the Weight Watchers program, if you’re breastfeeding, you will be assigned additional “SmartPoints” if you have one baby or multiple babies. Here’s a breakdown of how many SmartPoints (SP) to add to your daily food budget when you’re breastfeeding (when breast milk is the sole source of nutrition for your baby) and baby is partially breastfed (when you’re supplementing breastfeeding with solid foods).
If you’re on the Green program:
Exclusively Breastfeeding: add 16 SmartPoints to your daily Budget (32SP for twins)*, and don’t drop below 52 SmartPoints a day.
Partially Breastfeeding: Add 6 SmartPoints to your daily food budget (12SP for twins).
If you’re on the Blue program:
Exclusively Breastfeeding: Add 12 SmartPoints to your daily Budget (24SP for twins), and don’t drop below 41 SmartPoints a day.
Partially Breastfeeding: Add 5 SmartPoints to your daily Budget (10SP for twins).
If you’re on the Purple program:
Exclusively Breastfeeding: Add 9 SmartPoints to your daily Budget (18SP for twins), and don’t drop below 29 SmartPoints a day.
Partially Breastfeeding: Add 3 SmartPoints to your daily Budget (6SP for twins).
*If you’re breastfeeding multiple babies, the above values should be added per baby.
How To Safely Do Weight Watchers When Breastfeeding
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While Weight Watchers is considered to be safe when breastfeeding, there are some things to consider when you sign up for a plan to ensure you can continue to breastfeed successfully.
Tip #1 – Eat All Your SmartPoints in Healthy Foods
It’s important to not only eat food, but to ensure the foods that you are eating are healthy for your body. After having a baby, your body will be in recovery and healing mode. You will also be producing breast milk if you’re breastfeeding, which means your body is working extra hard to provide for itself and your baby.
You can really use healthy foods to your advantage when you’re eating a diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and pasture-raised or wild-caught meats and seafood. Opt for organic or non-gmo foods when possible to get the most nutrients from your food as well.
Tip #2 – Continue Taking Your Vitamins
Your body will utilize nutrients from your body to make breast milk so it’s important that you’re not only giving it nutritious food but also supplementing if necessary. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins, or switch to a postnatal vitamin.
If your vitamin doesn’t have Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, and an Omega 3, I suggest supplementing with these also. All of these vitamins are important for your maternal stores as you produce milk and regain your strength after having a baby.
Tip #3 – Keep an Eye on Your Milk Supply
If you notice a decrease in your milk supply, be sure you are tracking your points and food. Double-check your point allotment and stick to eating healthy foods that have the most nutritional value for your body.
Tip #4 – Sign Up for Extra Accountability If You Need It
The Weight Watchers plans allow you to do them fully online or visit a group in person near you. Decide what method will provide you with the best rate of success and stick with it. Tell a friend or your partner what you’re doing for extra accountability and don’t forget to do your weekly weigh-ins.
Tip #5 – Give Yourself Time and Grace to See Results
Since you didn’t put on the weight overnight, it will take longer than that to get it off. Depending on many maternal factors, including what you weighed prior to getting pregnant with your baby, it can take at least 9 months to get the unwanted weight off your body.
Give yourself time and grace during this process and try to enjoy the food you’re eating as well as your baby. Your baby is only little once, so remind yourself of that.
Use your support system to take care of your mental health too. Make time for yourself to enjoy your baby and life on your journey to a healthier you!
Reasons Weight Watchers Benefits Breastfeeding Mothers Trying To Lose Weight
Weight Watchers can be a safe and effective weight loss tool while breastfeeding when following the above tips and modifications based on the program model. If you overindulged in pregnancy, it can help you get back on track in terms of portion sizes and the foods you’re eating.
It offers a balanced and flexible approach to dieting, although the results can be slow. The idea of the program is to promote building healthy choices over your lifetime which means no foods are off-limits, and you can beat anything in moderation. It also offers a lot of accountability and extra support if you need it.
Because it includes a well-rounded approach to dieting and weight management, exercise and other health factors are considered an important part of the program. I think this is important because it allows you to focus on key areas that are health-related in your life- not just nutrition.
Negatives of Weight Watchers for Postpartum Breastfeeding Moms
Although Weight Watchers sounds like a great program, there are some negative aspects to consider.
- It can be very tedious because it requires intense tracking of the foods you are eating.
- May include non-fat foods, which usually means more sugar which isn’t ideal for a recovering post-baby body and your long-term health.
- They promote many pre-packaged foods that are not ideal for a healthy diet long-term.
- Can be costly over time and requires a recurring membership fee that ranges from $6-20 depending on the model you choose.
- Does require weekly weight check-ins which can be time-consuming.
- May provide too much freedom in food choices, leading to overindulging and unhealthy choices over time.
Because of these reasons, I think it’s much easier when you follow an easy plan because you aren’t paying a recurring fee and having to track every bite. As a Lactation Counselor, Health Coach and breastfeeding mom myself, that’s why I created the L.E.A.N. Mamas program for breastfeeding moms like you. I lost over 50 pounds utilizing the exact steps in my program, which is why I put it together.
It is an easy program for busy moms, with a 21-day sample meal plan, shopping lists, how-to guide, and bonuses to get you jumpstarted on your weight loss journey. You can learn more about this super affordable program by clicking here.
The Best Weight Watchers Lactation Recipes
Since Weight Watchers can be a healthy way to lose weight while breastfeeding, I thought it would be beneficial to share some of the best Weight Watchers that help with lactation. You can use the recipes below to jumpstart your Weight Watchers while breastfeeding journey today.
Recipe #1 – Sheet Pan Salmon with Veggies
Sheet Pan Salmon with Veggies (makes 4 servings)
4 cups Cherry Tomatoes Four 5 ounce Salmon Fillets 2 Yellow Bell Peppers (sliced) 4 cups Broccoli (chopped into small florets) 1 cup Red Onion (sliced into chunks) 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil 3 teaspoons Coconut Aminos 1 Navel Orange (zested and juiced) Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the cherry tomatoes, salmon, bell pepper, broccoli, and red onion on the sheet pan.
3. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil.
4. Brush the salmon with coconut aminos, orange juice, and zest.
5. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until salmon is fully cooked.
7. Divide into 4 servings and enjoy!
The salmon in this recipe is great for moms to be able to boost their omega 3s while nursing. It provides healthy fats for both mom and baby’s brain development and mental health.
SmartPoints* approximately per serving (always do your own calculations based on the exact ingredients you use):
Recipe #2 – Chia Pudding with Berries
Chia Pudding with Berries (makes 4 servings)
2 cups organic unsweetened coconut milk (canned or refrigerated) or almond milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup chia seeds 1 cup fresh raspberries or blueberries 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut for topping
1. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon, and chia seeds and stir constantly to make sure the chia seeds don’t clump together. Remove from the heat. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes and stir again. Adjust the flavors.
2. Divide the warm mixture among 4 jars or small bowls.
3. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
4. Top with the berries and coconut. Enjoy!
Chia seeds are a great snack and addition to your diet. They add protein, fiber, calcium, omega 3s, and antioxidants.
SmartPoints* approximately per serving (always do your own calculations based on the exact ingredients you use):
At the end of the day, it is actually safe to do Weight Watchers while breastfeeding! But, in order to be successful you need will need to make some modifications to a typical Weight Watchers plan in order to continue breastfeeding and maintain your milk supply.
Losing weight after having a baby doesn’t have to be hard. You can incorporate healthy foods and slowly start dropping the weight while breastfeeding. Many moms worry about dieting while breastfeeding, but when you think of it as eating a healthy diet rather than dieting, your milk supply usually isn’t affected as long as you’re maintaining the required calories necessary.