Breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2019 Nov;22(6):413-417. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000597.


Purpose of review: Postpartum weight retainment is common in women, increasing the long-term likelihood of overweight and/or obesity. On the other hand, breastfeeding entails a high energy cost that contributes to the total energy expenditure of the mother, increasing the chances of a negative energy equilibrium that could potentially lead to weight loss. This review explores this association as depicted in the latest literature available.

Recent findings: Several studies reported a positive association between breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss while others reported no significant association. Several potential mechanisms, metabolic pathways and determinants have been described.

Summary: Even though several studies support the potentially beneficial role of breastfeeding in postpartum weight loss, more studies with robust designs are needed to reach a reliable conclusion. Healthcare providers should encourage breastfeeding, not only for its health benefits for both the mother and the offspring but also for its potential role in weight loss.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Gestational Weight Gain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Postpartum Period / physiology*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*