It is amazing to see how many celebrity moms seem to lose weight at light-speed only weeks after giving birth.
Actress Sohn Tae-young, who shook the nation with her sudden marriage to actor Kwon Sang-woo last September, gave birth to a son in February. But she is already getting ready for her comeback in a TV drama starting May and it appears on photos as if she had never been pregnant.
The same thing with actress Kim Hee-sun and comedian Park Kyung-lim. They both had babies in January, but are already back to looking how they used to before, if not better.
Aside from sticking to organic diets and working out a lot, the key to celebs` rapid loss of weight following childbirth lies in nature-given breastfeeding.
Actress Kim Hee-sun said she used to weigh up to 70 kg but has quickly lost most of the pregnancy weight gain thanks to breastfeeding.
Kim encourages breastfeeding and childbirth in general in a recently released book, "Kim Hee-sun`s Happy Mom Project," filled with tips and know-how for expecting moms.
Comedian Park Kyung-lim is another advocate of breastfeeding.
"I have heard that breastfeeding helps you lose weight gained during pregnancy, and when I tried, it more than worked!" Park exclaimed on her radio show on MBC FM. It has been only two months after she delivered her son, during which she lost 18 kg.
"As I started breast feeding, I became slimmer and my son grew fatter," she said.
In fact, looking more fit than she did before her marriage, Park is modeling in promotional photo shoots for her online shopping mall.
Actress Chae Si-ra, a former breastfeeding publicity ambassador of UNICEF, continues to speak up for the benefits of breastfeeding although she retired from the position.
Chae manages to squeeze out breast milk every day between her busy shooting schedule for the KBS TV drama "Iron Empress." She has the milk frozen and makes sure it is delivered to her son, safe and fresh.
"I didn`t drink any alcohol for the last 13 months to breastfeed my child," Chae said in an interview with KBS 2TV in January. She had also breastfed her daughter in 2001.
So, exactly how helpful is breastfeeding for losing weight?
"Breastfeeding 100 ml of milk makes a mother burn 75 kcal. Considering that babies need a maximum of 750 ml per day, breastfeeding mothers burn around 500 kcal each day," explained Yun Myung-hee, an international board certified lactation consultant.
"It all adds up, and after three to six months of breastfeeding, mothers can regain their slender physique," she said.
University of Georgia researchers Irene Hatsu, Dawn McDougald and Alex Anderson reported the results of their study on the effect of infant feeding on maternal body composition to the International Breastfeeding Journal last year.
They measured body changes among 24 mothers from 19 years old to 42 years old at 12 weeks postpartum.
According to their report, mothers who exclusively breastfed lost the most weight of 4.10 kg to 4.41 kg, while mixed feeding mothers lost 2.79 kg to 3.09 kg. Exclusively breastfeeding mothers also consumed more calories than mixed feeding mothers, 1,980 kcal to 2,598 kcal versus 1,541 kcal to 1,737 kcal.
"It was most likely due to breastfeeding`s high energy cost. This suggests that there is the need to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed as a means of overweight and obesity prevention," the researchers explained.
It is also common knowledge that breastfeeding not only helps mothers lose weight, but also makes the baby healthier and tightens the special mother-baby bond.
"Babies are most comfortable in their mother`s arms. Of course, breastfeeding is important in nutritional terms, but is also important in terms of building a bond between the mother and baby," said Lee Ha-baek, professor of pediatrics at Hanyang University Medical Center, at an event during the World Breastfeeding Week last August.
By Park Min-young