Many woman try to lose weight after they have their babies, and it may be tempting to hurry the process along. Fat burners are diet pills that have a variety of stimulant ingredients, designed to speed up your metabolism and decrease appetite. If you're breastfeeding, though, it is not a good idea to take any fat burners. Many ingredients can transfer through breast milk to your baby. If you're considering taking fat burners to help speed your weight loss while breastfeeding, there are several safety factors to consider.
Most fat burners use stimulants, including caffeine. Another common ingredient in fat burners is phenylpropanolamine, which acts as an appetite suppressant, according to BabyCenter.com. Other common ingredients in fat burners include the herb ma huang, or ephedra. Even though ephedra has been banned by the FDA, it is still present in some fat burners available for purchase online.
Dangers to Baby
Taking fat burners while breastfeeding may be unsafe for the baby. Although not all ingredients pass from mother to baby through breast milk, some ingredients in diet pills do pass through breast milk and are consumed by the baby, says Laura Fijolek McKain, an OB-GYN and contributor to BabyCenter.com. Since ingredients like caffeine and ephedra have not been tested on babies, there is no way to know if they are safe for babies to ingest, but it is highly likely that these ingredients could be harmful to the baby, she states.
Dangers for Mothers
Fat burners can carry dangers for breastfeeding mothers as well. Dr. McKain states that phenylpropanolamine, an ingredient in several diet pills, can cause strokes. Other ingredients in fat burners, such as ephedrine, have been linked to high blood pressure and seizures. If a woman experiences these dangerous side effects of fat burners, she may not be able to continue breastfeeding or even caring for her baby.
In addition, fat burners may interfere with a woman’s ability to make enough breast milk. According to the Children, Youth and Women's Health Service, breastfeeding women require extra energy to make enough milk for their babies. They state that if a woman loses weight too quickly (for example, by using diet pills to speed her metabolism), her body may not have enough energy to create a good amount of breast milk.
If you're breastfeeding, it's unlikely that you need fat burners to lose weight. Women burn extra calories just by breastfeeding their babies or pumping their milk, according to La Leche League International. (In fact, La Leche recommends that breastfeeding mothers eat extra foods to make for some of the calories they’ve burned, even if they are trying to lose weight.) Because of the energy it takes to produce milk, women who breastfeed lose significantly more weight by one year postpartum than mothers who use formula, says La Leche.
Instead of taking fat burners, eat smaller portions and exercise a few times a week to help you to shed weight faster. Eat small frequent meals, suggests BabyCenter.com, as that boosts the metabolism without causing any side effects. It is also important to realize that since it took you nine months to gain the baby weight, it will take you a similar amount of time to lose it. Depending on your own metabolism, how much you breastfeed and your activity level, it could take you six months to a year to lose the baby weight. Just be patient and enjoy this special time with your baby.