Last update: March 22, 2019

Hypo-Caloric Diet

Very Low Risk for breastfeeding

Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Despite of a deficient diet with inadequate nutrient intake, women are capable of producing milk in appropriate quantity and quality that may be enough to maintain growth and health of their children. However, it would suppose a risk for depletion of their nutritional reserves and damaging their health.
Moreover, well-nourished mothers compared to malnourished, they have a greater daily volume of milk and a slight increase in protein, fat and calories per 100 ml of milk, so the chance of raising a healthy child is higher.

There is controversy on whether postpartum weight loss is greater or the return to pre-pregnancy weight is faster in lactating mothers than in non-lactating mothers.
Many nursing women lose half a kg per month during the first months, but some do not lose or even gain weight.

Slow weight loss (less than 1.5 kg per month) through a balanced diet with at least 1800 calories or no less than 15% of the recommended one together with moderate aerobic exercising is safe for the mother and the infant.
Prolactin levels increase under conditions of negative energy balance, which ensures the production of milk and hence protects the infant’s nutrition.

It is unknown whether a low calorie diet may affect milk production during the first three postnatal weeks, so any kind of diet over this period is not warranted.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

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  1. Schalla SC, Witcomb GL, Haycraft E. Body Shape and Weight Loss as Motivators for Breastfeeding Initiation and Continuation. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Jul 11;14(7). pii: E754. Abstract
  2. López-Olmedo N, Hernández-Cordero S, Neufeld LM, García-Guerra A, Mejía-Rodríguez F, Méndez Gómez-Humarán I. The Associations of Maternal Weight Change with Breastfeeding, Diet and Physical Activity During the Postpartum Period. Matern Child Health J. 2016 Feb;20(2):270-80. Abstract
  3. Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding. A guide for the medical profession. Eighth Edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016
  4. Ares Segura S, Arena Ansótegui J, Díaz-Gómez NM; en representación del Comité de Lactancia Materna de la Asociación Española de Pediatría. La importancia de la nutrición materna durante la lactancia, ¿necesitan las madres lactantes suplementos nutricionales? [The importance of maternal nutrition during breastfeeding: Do breastfeeding mothers need nutritional supplements?] An Pediatr (Barc). 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Neville CE, McKinley MC, Holmes VA, Spence D, Woodside JV. The relationship between breastfeeding and postpartum weight change--a systematic review and critical evaluation. Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 Apr;38(4):577-90. Abstract
  6. Amorim Adegboye AR, Linne YM. Diet or exercise, or both, for weight reduction in women after childbirth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Sámano R, Martínez-Rojano H, Godínez Martínez E, Sánchez Jiménez B, Villeda Rodríguez GP, Pérez Zamora J, Casanueva E. Effects of breastfeeding on weight loss and recovery of pregestational weight in adolescent and adult mothers. Food Nutr Bull. 2013 Jun;34(2):123-30. Abstract
  8. Hatsu IE, McDougald DM, Anderson AK. Effect of infant feeding on maternal body composition. Int Breastfeed J. 2008 Aug 6;3:18. Abstract
  9. Butte NF, King JC. Energy requirements during pregnancy and lactation. Public Health Nutr. 2005 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Dewey KG. Impact of breastfeeding on maternal nutritional status. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2004;554:91-100. Review. Abstract
  11. Dewey KG, Cohen RJ, Brown KH, Rivera LL. Effects of exclusive breastfeeding for four versus six months on maternal nutritional status and infant motor development: results of two randomized trials in Honduras. J Nutr. 2001 Feb;131(2):262-7. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. McCrory MA, Nommsen-Rivers LA, Molé PA, Lönnerdal B, Dewey KG. Randomized trial of the short-term effects of dieting compared with dieting plus aerobic exercise on lactation performance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):959-67. Abstract
  13. Dewey KG. Effects of maternal caloric restriction and exercise during lactation. J Nutr. 1998 Feb;128(2 Suppl):386S-389S. Abstract
  14. Motil KJ, Sheng HP, Kertz BL, Montandon CM, Ellis KJ. Lean body mass of well-nourished women is preserved during lactation. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  15. Dewey KG, Heinig MJ, Nommsen LA. Maternal weight-loss patterns during prolonged lactation. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Aug;58(2):162-6. Abstract
  16. Kramer FM, Stunkard AJ, Marshall KA, McKinney S, Liebschutz J. Breast-feeding reduces maternal lower-body fat. J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Apr;93(4):429-33. Abstract
  17. Butte NF, Garza C, Stuff JE, Smith EO, Nichols BL. Effect of maternal diet and body composition on lactational performance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  18. Paul AA, Muller EM, Whitehead RG. The quantitative effects of maternal dietary energy intake on pregnancy and lactation in rural Gambian women. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1979 Abstract

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