30 answers

Fat and Breastfeeding

I am curious. I have a 6 month old that I have breastfeeding exclusively until I started adding solids recently. I still nurse her 6 times a day and will continue as long as she wants to.
My supply dipped around a month ago for about a week. I had had the flu and was in bed (still nursed her as usual) but when I was better, I had lost a few pounds because of the sickness. My supply was super low all that week. I worked hard to get it up again. Nursed her like mad(because she was hungry all the time!) and it eventually came back. I drank lots of water and began eating as I had been. I eat relatively healthy, got to the gym twice a week and go walking for an hour or two with the stroller probably 3 times a week.
So I am still 15 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight.
I am wondering if my body needs this extra fat to keep my milk production up and if it is hanging on to it to keep my milk supply. Does this make sense?
In other words, these final 15 lbs aren't coming off unless I start runnning 20 miles a week or something!
Any ideas about the extra fat = good milk supply idea?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all so much for your advice and experiences. Yes, I will be patient and no, I am not too concerned with being skinny. I will continue to eat well like I have been and take comfort in the fact that I am feeding my daughter the best I can.

Featured Answers

I just want to say that you are not alone. My daughter will be six months at the end of February and I am still 15lbs heavier. Don't worry it will come off.

Hi E. -- I had the exact same experience you are describing -- I lost about 30 pounds right after my daughter was born and then my body held on to the last 10 pounds until I stopped breastfeeding after my daughter's first birthday. I also got the flu when she was about 5 months, lost some weight and then gained it all back! Frustrating! I was jogging a few times a week, but still the pounds didn't budge. I was thinking I was never going to fit into my prepregnancy pants again but about a month after I stopped breastfeeding they fit. I think it also helped that once my daughter started eating with us at the table I made a real effort to provide healthy food for her so I was eating better too. I agree with the other posters who said everybody is different -- some people seem to lose a lot of weight while breastfeeding and others seem to hold onto some fat until they stop. So I'd say don't worry about those extra pounds --they'll come off eventually!

More Answers

lots of moms hand on to the last 5-10 lbs until they wean, yes. Also, remember 9 months on, 9 months off. My youngest is 7 months now and I also nurse her and am also still up 5 lbs from my prepreg weight. As long as you are eating well and drinking plenty your milk should be fine. Add exercise in gradually and your body will adjust.

Your body knows what it needs. I'm guessing if you were slender or had a low body fat percentage prior to pregnancy, this is your body's way of making sure it has the storehouse it needs. The same thing happened to me with both pregnancies, and once I stopped breast feeding I got a lot closer to my pre-pregnancy weight (Although I still had a few extra pounds that needed extra work to get off). I have friends that were heavier before pregnancy that found breastfeeding make them skinnier than BEFORE they had the baby. Everyone's body is different, but you are certainly not alone. Don't obsess about it- that's not healthy for anyone.

IIt sounds like ur doing a great job drinking water there is a great tea called mothers milk u can find @ any jewel or health food store works great. I have been nurserying for the last 4/ 1/2 yrs my daughter was 1 1/2 when my son was born nursed throughout pregnancy and nursed my son till 2 1/2. It also healths loss weight nurseying. Keep up the good work

If you're not losing that last 15#'s it's because your body needs it to nourish the little one. Wait until you're done nursing to pick up the exercise...it sounds like you get plenty already.

As they say, 9 months on, nine months off, Cut yourself a little slack, E.. Your body just went through something that redefined everything in your life. Give it a little time to bounce back. It sounds like you're eating right and you're doing the right things for your little one, so just give yourself a chance. You'll get rid of the last 15 soon.

Hi E.,
Every Mom's breast milk production eventually drops naturally. I am a mother of 2 boys 6 and 9 and breast fed them both for close to two years. I was really lucky to lose my pregnancy weight within a few months of having them, so I don't think you need extra bodyfat to breast feed. What helped my a lot was taking 3 tablespoons of flax oil every day in a protein shake. It helps to boost your babies brain development and it will help burn your fat! Breast feeding does burn a lot of calories, another reason I did it for so long. Sure beats jogging 20 miles a day!

You can find flax oil at whole foods, trader joes or any health food store. It's usually sold in the refrigerated section (except at trader joes).

Hope it helps! I know it will if you give it a try.


I have a friend who has 4 kids and every time she nurses she says she blows up. She puts on tons of weight while nursing every time. I've heard that you need a little extra weight for it. I doubt all those super skinny, flat bellied movie stars who look gorgeous 6 weeks after giving birth are breast feeding!

I have heard from more than one source (including a La Leche League Leader) that nursing mothers should not worry at all about any extra pregnancy weight they still have until their child stops nursing (which of course they feel should continue as long as possible). I myself have had to eat a lot of healthy fats (nuts, avocados, organic butter) to keep myself well supplied for my voraciously hungry 11 month-old who nurses exclusively.

If you are really concerned, you can always contact a La Leche League Leader - they are truly awesome and very resourceful.

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