L.M. asks from Pittsburgh, PA on March 23, 2008
Breastfeeding and Weight Gain
Hi Everyone. Just wondering if anyone is having the same experience. I gave birth around December last year, my son is almost 4 months now. I have exclusively been breastfeeding and intend to do so for a year so until December this year. The only thing is (and this won't be stopping me from breastfeeding) I notice that when I eat my usual meals, small breakfast, light lunch, hearty dinner (this is how my diet has been all my life), my breastmilk is on the low side, I noticed that when I eat "extra" my breastmilk is really good. Eating "extra" has added an uncomtable 15 lbs on my body...it's like carrying a 15 lb bag around :) I am also drinking milk thistle and mother's milk tea to support increased breastmilk (and have done so since day 1 but only the eating "extra" helps my breastmilk supply) My body really feels heavy bec. I typically have been petite all my life and a short woman so this 15 lbs is a load to carry for me and it may even increase more. Just wondering if anyone has gone though this too. My friends who breastfed did not have this experience, they just ate (some even dieted to go back to their weight and still her breastmilk was ample!) the way they normally did and their breastmilk was healthy amount. I will continue to do whatever I need to do to breastfeed bec. I want to do this for my son. Please share your thoughts on this if you've experienced it too. Thanks a bunch.
M.M. answers from Pittsburgh on March 25, 2008
I hung onto my weight for a long time after my sons. I nursed and my body just needed and protected the situation by hanging onto my weight and increasing my appitite. I ate far more than 500 extra calories and I had very hungry babies.
When it is time the body will do its job. Selective calories were an important piece for me. If I stayed away from prepared foods and cooked at home I had a better success at starting to trim even with extra food in the picture.
4 months -- I would not be too worried about this yet. It takes the body a full year to recover from a pregnancy.
enjoy -- this is the only time you need not be so accountable to enjoying extra food.
C.W. answers from Philadelphia on March 25, 2008
Hi :) My daughter just switched to milk after a year of breastfeeding. I am also on the petite side and eat similarly to you... small meals/snacks during the day and a bigger dinner. I didn't increase the amount of food I ate by very much, but I did try to add some small healthy snacks throughout the day... like some almonds, rice cakes, granola, a glass of chocolate milk, and I lost all of the pregnancy weight very quickly. But, I did find my milk supply was a little less than I thought Emma wanted, at night it seemed like she wanted more milk than I had left. I started pumping milk during the day to increase the supply. I had enough to start giving her bottles of breast milk at night, and in the early months she was drinking 8-10 ounces of breast milk for her last feeding. So I continued to pump a little throughout the day, and every night before bed, and her father was able to feed her the last feeding at night. It was a little difficult (sometimes you just don't feel like pumping after you have been breastfeeding all day) but as the months passed Emma had less feedings and before you know it the first year has passed too :) I hope this helps. Good luck to you!
H. answers from Pittsburgh on March 23, 2008
I wonder if by increasing your food intake you are also increasing your fluid intake. I am breastfeeding my third and went 13 months with my first and 19 with my second. I never supplimented with formula. I do notice that my supply varies quite dramatically at times if I allow myself to become dehydrated. Drinking extra water or fruit juice definitely helps me to give my supply a boost. I try to take a big glass or water bottle to drink during each feed. Perhaps your increased food is really just helping you to put more fluids in your body? If you added more water maybe that would do the trick without the extra calories.
A.B. answers from Philadelphia on March 26, 2008
I believed the saying "eat like you're pregnant" while breastfeeding my first child and managed to gain more weight than during my entire pregnancy. It took a year past that to lose it. With my second child, I moderated my food and still managed to gain the weight. Not quite so much, but I am definitely "more to love" now! The only thing that I can tell you is that after a year-and-a-half of taking in enough calories for two, when you get control of your body again, it's a joy to have that control and you will lose the weight! Good luck, and enjoy this time with your baby!
the Pampered Chef
J.H. answers from Pittsburgh on March 24, 2008
I am currenlty still nursing my 7 month old. I nursed my 3 year old for a little over a year. I have found although nursing may help with some immediate weight loss, you can not lost the last 10 to 15 lbs until your done nursing. When I stopped nursing the last time, weight immediatley fell off, can't explain why. I may have read that your body stores the fat it needs while nursing, who knows. But I have talked to others with the same opinion. Good luck
J.M. answers from Pittsburgh on March 24, 2008
I gained weight while nursing my last 2 children, no matter what I ate. Once I weened my last, I did lose the extra weight. I think each mom is different. The trend is that moms lose weight during breastfeeding, but unfortunately some of us don't. (lucky us! lol) Just focus on the "extra" eating being good wholesome, healthy foods. And like others have mentioned, be sure that you are not getting dehydrated.
J.M. answers from Pittsburgh on March 24, 2008
Breastfeeding requires an additional 500 calories above your "normal" diet. But you shouldn't have to eat enough that you are gaining weight. Some women will have difficulties loosing weight while breastfeeding and dieting "can" decrease your milk supply - but you should be able to eat a normal diet and still have plenty of milk.
What are you using to determine how much milk you have? Does your baby seem hungry when you are't eating more? Have you tried drinking more water instead of eating more? The amount of water you drink will have a direct influence on how much milk you produce.
I wrote an article with pumping tips. If you are worried about your supply - you can also try pumping to help build it up a little more. This article was designed to give tips to moms who are working and pumping - but it has great advice for anyone who is pumping - so take a look and see if anything jumps out at you. Here is a link: <http://www.mothersboutique.com/woandbrtifor.html>
Also, your baby is now 4 months old, so you may be just getting to a point where your body is "equalizing". Your baby has become more efficient at nursing and your body now "knows" what your baby needs, so it isn't over producing like it does when the baby is first born.
Congrats on your new baby!
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S.W. answers from Philadelphia on March 24, 2008
Each woman is different. I had a similar experience to yours, and it wasn't until my dughter was a year old, and I weaned her, that I was truly able to focus on my body and what it needed in order to get back into shape. Unfortunately, I found out that I was pregnant again a few months after, so here I am again, and I am very concerned with gaining weight yet again since I did not have the time to lose everything I gained with my daughter. You may not be able to find a happy medium while you are breastfeeding your son, but it is only a short period of time out of your life, and it makes a world of difference in his. I have chosen not to breastfeed with my second child, not for this reason exclusively, but for many other reasons. So no judgement here, it is all about health and what is best for you and your baby. Once you wean your son, you will be able to focus on putting in your body only what your body needs, and with effort, you will be back in shape in time, though you'll never have the exact same pre-pregnancy shape. There is no way to stress how drastically pregnancy can change a woman's body.