Weightloss After Breastfeeding

Updated on June 08, 2008
D.T. asks from San Antonio, TX
31 answers

Does anyone know if its true about losing weight after you stop breastfeeding? I have a 6 month old daughter and I have always breastfed her and will continue to breastfeed until she is a year old. As soon as my milk came in, my body started to gain weight and hold on to the fat in my body. I only gained 36lbs. during my pregnancy and it was all baby. Now my face, arms, and legs are bigger than before my milk came in. My sister-in-law says my weight will go down after I stop breast feeding. Is this true? I hate my body right now.

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S.R.

answers from Austin on

I was 34 when I had my daughter and I breastfed her for 13 months. I had always worked out and continued to workout while I breastfeed but my weight loss only went so far then seemed to stop. Once I stopped breastfeeding, I did start to lose more weight.

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M.P.

answers from Austin on

I breastfeed my darling daughter until she was a year old. I could not loose the last 20 pounds until I stopped breastfeeding. Once I stopped my weight came off in about 3 months.

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S.O.

answers from San Antonio on

I lost about 10 pounds after ending breastfeeding each of my 3 children. Then, I would gain it back for some other reason. Ha! But, I did lose 10 lbs after each child.

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E.H.

answers from Houston on

Hi, D.. This is my first child too and she is 6 months old. I actually lost my weight that I gained with the baby during pregnancy and then 13 more pounds through breast feeding. You are burning more calories when you nurse and that is supposed to be the best diet. Try cutting down on your carbs, gassy foods and dairy products and that should help you lose the "fat". That is also what I did...doing still. (I also walk with a regular stroller with my daugther...maybe a half a mile a day)

P.S. I've been told that you gain after you breastfeed because you are not burning the calories anymore like you did.

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A.Z.

answers from Houston on

My encouragement for you is if you don't have a workout routine in place, get one going now. Everyone is different; I dropped all 29 pregnancy pounds within 6 months of giving birth and I swear it was the nursing because I didn't work out the first year of my son's life. I also got back into horrible eating habits and started to put the weight back on close to his first birthday when nursing began to slack off. When I stopped nursing completely, I felt like I gained 20 pounds overnight, and I just continued to sprial out of control because there never seemed to be the right time to workout or I was too tired. My son is 3 now and I just achieved pre-pregnancy weight last week, finally. The way I got it off was to make exercising a priority and of course, changed my eating habits back to healthy. But I can't encourage you enough to get that routine in place and stick with it. Once your precious baby starts walking, you're going to find you have less and less time and if you've got something set up it will be harder to give up when it gets tough. Best wishes!

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L.W.

answers from Austin on

I think that it is true that everyone is different. I've nursed three now and never could lose all the weight until after they were weaned. My body definitely would hold on to the weight until it was sure that I was done producing milk. I know others who had the weight fall off. It's frustrating, I know. I'm still getting rid of the weight from #3. Each pregnancy I gained a little more weight than the prior one besides the fact that I spanned the babies from the ages of 23 to 44. This last time is the hardest but it's going. Nurse as long as you feel you can. It's obviously great for the baby and I believe in the end it WILL help rid you of the weight even if it is after you've stopped. Good Luck!

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K.N.

answers from Houston on

get your thyroid checked. It is common to have thyroid problems after having babies. I had gotten almost down to prepregnancy weight and then all the sodden I went from a 10 to a 16 in a month. It probably has nothing to do with the breastfeeding. You may also notice dry skin, loosing hair and tiredness. Thoes are just a few symptoms, but its worth checking out.

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A.A.

answers from Waco on

I experienced the exact opposite. I lost weight rapidly while nursing. I was told you actually burn an extra 500 calories each day when you nurse. It was when I stopped nursing that I started to gain weight. I guess everyone is different.

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P.L.

answers from Houston on

I have a 2mo dd and nursing, also, so I understand your plight. But don't worry so much about the weight, Mama. Your body needs the help to produce milk for your baby. You may not think so, but you are a beautiful woman, no matter what size you are. Do something for yourself to feel prettier - get a new hairstyle, pretty red undies, a great dress, whatever. Feel good in your own skin and love your baby. That weight may or may not go away for you, but that precious baby girl will always be around and will always love you. Teach her to accept herself as she is by example. Start yourself a small at home workout (there are some great books and videos out that include baby in the workout) and just be healthy. Good luck.

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L.H.

answers from Houston on

I personally breastfed my daughter for 2 years. I'm not suggesting that you do that. Most women loose weight during the feedings themselves. I know that for myself it was hard to stop eating for two, because I thought that I had to to make enough milk for my baby. What I found out was, that it's not the amount of food, it's the amount of water that is drank. If you have been able to eat normal portions of food and are getting enough water, and you are still not shedding pounds like you should, I encourage you to speak to your doctor. They really have a wealth of information on what works,and the differance between fact and myth.

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C.W.

answers from Austin on

I gained a whopping 47 lbs. with my son and breastfed him until he was about 8 months. I lost the first 30 easily, but it wasn't until after I stopped breastfeeding that I was able to drop the rest. I've heard that some women hold onto fat until they stop. For me, I think it had to do with having more time to exercise once I stopped than anything. Hope this helps.

A little about me:

29 y/o who works part-time as a physical therapist. Married for 5 years to my best friend. We have a 21 month old son and I'm 13 weeks preggo with number two.

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W.C.

answers from Houston on

I can't speak for everyone but it was more than true for me. I actually gained a lot more than 36 pounds while pregnant with my first - I'd gotten pregnant at around 135 pounds and was about 190 when I had my son. I breastfed him exclusively the first 6 months and contontinued past 12 months. I got down to about 140 over the next year, but I held on to the last bit and was "cushier" until he was fully weaned. Then I was down to 127, and smaller than before. This was true for my second son as well, when all was said and done, I weighed less than when I'd gotten pregnant, although all during the time I breastfed I held on to some weight and padding. I'm actually down to 122 now... the breastfeeding did something to my metabolism is my happy guess. But the last 10-20 pounds don't come off until after your baby is all the way weaned at whatever age that is.

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K.H.

answers from Austin on

Congrats on your baby! And congrats on nursing!
As for weight and nursing... Some moms may notice more significant weight loss after weaning. Others, myself included, lose better while nursing. It took me about 10-11mos after my 2 babies were born to get back in pre-pg clothes. That may seem a long time, but it's really not too bad if you think about the fact that it took 9mos to gain it - so give it 9mos to lose it.
Make sure you're eating healthfully
Take your dd out for a walk - either in a stroller, or for a little extra calorie burn, put her in a carrier. I've worn my son in an Ergo for a while now since he was 20lbs at 4mos. I lost a lot of my weight last fall when I wore him while doing yard work.

hth and hang in there!

K., mama to
Catherine, 4y
Samuel, 15mos

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S.R.

answers from Austin on

Hey -- you are doing such a good thing for your baby by breastfeeding. I fed my children until they weaned themselves, which turned out to be about at the age of 1 or so. With just being 6 months old, your hormones are still trying to settle down, that is a factor. But just to understand what is going on -- you are carrying around a lot of liquid weight -- you know how heavy jugs of water can be -- it is the same carrying around on demand milk -- give it time - eat sensibly and exercise - walk, whatever. The weight will start dropping off soon - just be patient with yourself.

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H.F.

answers from San Angelo on

"True" is relative. I lost weight while I nursed, but lost more weight after I quit nursing. I wouldn't worry about the weight now, just make sure that you are not still "eating for two." Your body only needs about 500 more calories than your normal intake to cover the milk production so be careful and you can lose.

I just waited until after I was finished being pregnant and nursing and joined weight watchers...I lost almost 30 pounds of weight I had accumulated after having my three kids!

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S.L.

answers from Houston on

Good Morning D.,

My name is S. and I am a nurse and nutritional advisor and would like to share a plan with you. Please view www.presentation4women.com and if you interested please call [email protected]____.com a blessed day!

J.B.

answers from Houston on

Well girl I don't know about all the things I heard about breastfeeding and weight. I however gained a ton of weight during my pregnancy. But all my friends said not to worry it would just fall off during breastfeeding, wrong!! I did weight watchers and lost a some of the weight and I am now starting to work out and just eat healthy without worrying too much. I was at my wits end with it about a month ago, but I got through it and you totally will too. Your baby is still small so I think you are just getting to a good time to start thinking about your weight and health. For me the thing was I was depending on sugar and caffeine for energy. I think with all the changes a new baby brings it is easy to fall into a trap of eating junkie food because it seems easy to grab and even if you don't realize it, it spikes your bloodsugar quickly and gives an energy boost. Then you crash and feel super hungry.
So for me getting off sugar for a while and working out is going really great. As far as hating your body, that is a mentality thing. I had to change my attitude and make it about my health and not about my looks. I decided not to even weigh myself for a good long while. That way I am not living my life dictated by the numbers on a scale. And no matter what your body looks like right now, the reality is it is beautiful and super awesome. You are keeping another little human alive, that is pretty amazing if you ask me! You rock mama :)

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A.K.

answers from San Antonio on

Maybe.. but i lost my weight during breastfeeding. good luck.A.

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V.W.

answers from Houston on

That was the case for me. I felt like all my parts shifted back to the right places after my daughter stopped nursing. She weaned herself a week before she turned one.I am currently nursing number 2 and he is 4 months old and I didn't drop the pounds that I thought I would. I feel your frustation about the body thing. Nursing can be challenging but the benefits are so great for our babies. Hang in there and keep up the great work it gets easier.

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C.C.

answers from Austin on

Unfortunately, everyone is different! I get so tired of people talking about how much they lost nursing and how they were never smaller! With both my babies, I lost all but the last 5 to 10 pounds within a couple of weeks of nursing. But then, no matter what I do, my body holds on to those last 5-10 until I stop nursing! My weight did come off after I stopped nursing my first. I had to work, but it did come off. I have a few months left to go with my second, so hopefully it will be the same! Hang in there, you are not alone!

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S.R.

answers from Beaumont on

Like everything eles in life it is different from one person to the next with my first child that i nursed for 1&1/2 it took a long time to shed the pounds. now with my second I lost most of it in the first two weeks and still have 5 pounds to go. The second is now 9 months old. So try to be patient and watch your diet and exercise

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J.S.

answers from San Antonio on

I have the same problem. I didn't start to lose my baby weight until after I stopped nursing. But it does work for some people. best of luck.

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F.G.

answers from Austin on

I think it's different for every woman, but you do need to eat more while your breast feeding so you tend to put on weight, and then you're usually not as hungry after breast feeding, so it tends to be easier to get the weight off. I lost all of my pregnancy weight while breast feeding because I was exercising too, but then I gained 5 pounds of it back. Once I stopped breast feeding I lost 15 pounds. I hope I do the same thing again! Good luck!

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K.S.

answers from Houston on

Actually, I've know it to be the exact opposite. I have two daughters, one is 10yrs old and the other just turned one. I breastfed my oldest exclusively until she was a year old. I only got to breastfeed my youngest exclusively until she was six months old due to going back to work. Your body burns tons of calories just producing breastmilk. I found that with my oldest I lost the weight VERY quickly (I only gained 27lbs). With my youngest, of course 10 years later, I found that the weight was just a little bit harder to shed (I gained about 40lbs), but I was back to pre-baby weight within 3 months. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding though, I gained a few pounds back. I felt a difference in my weight as soon as I stopped nursing, but I gained weight. I think it's funny that I weigh more 1yr after my baby was born versus 3 months after she was born. Just eat healthy and drink a lot of fluids. They say to increase your calories while breastfeeding, but if you are gaining weight I would hold off on the extra intake.

K.

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M.T.

answers from San Antonio on

I think everyone's body is different, but I always gain over 50 lbs with my pregnancies and I've lost my baby weight while breastfeeding with all 4 kids, but only when I started exercising. With the first two I had more time to walk and rollerblade, and the weight just fell off. With the 3rd and 4th it took longer because I was busier! But even walking a few times a week makes a big difference. My 5th is 5 weeks old, and I feel like I have gained weight since I gave birth. But in a week or so I will start walking and hope for the best! The first year with a baby can be challenging. It is so great you are breastfeeding. Try taking some walks. It will help lift your spirits, too!

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A.N.

answers from Austin on

Well - I hope so!!! I am nursing STILL-my almost 2yr.old - he is a high-need baby/toddler so I will just keep this up till he weans, hopefully in the next 6mos. He is my 3rd. The first one I had at 21yrs and I was back in my jeans w/in 2weeks after delivery - nursed him till he was 9mos - never had any weight issues BUT look at my age back then. Then my 2nd son, I was 28 - nursed him till 5mos and this time it took me a month to lose the weight and this time my hormones were not right for 6 mos. NOW I gave birth 2 years ago at age 40! The weight dropped - more than half of it and I have nursed a long time - I am probably around 15-20lbs overweight and so soft/squishy, like I have never been, and I cannot get back to normal. I don't have a problem with the weight usually as you have read, however, I think when we are older that weight balance slows a bit and takes longer. I have to say that I feel exactly what you are getting at, is true. I have to eat regularly and well to b/f this child. Normally I would not eat as much as I do and I would be able to do more physically - SO I really do think that it will drop much easier after the b/fding stops - it only makes sense D..

I think breastfeeding is taxing on our bodies and I can relate - I have never felt so mushy and soft before while b/fding- and I have never b/f this long either. I think there must be a biological reason for getting softer and gaining weight - from keeping us down more - less active, and maybe that produces a better supply of good milk, to possibly just being calmer/sedentary which maybe is more gentler towards our offspring as we are still nursing them - these are guesses but I am sure there are answers on these factors someplace.

When I read your request I just felt such a commiseration(sp) - every day I just feel stressed looking as I do and how it just feels yucky! I am living with it but not liking it at all - I may end up having to nurse my youngest for another year too and I can barely deal with the thought of gaining more weight or just doing this for a third year - worth it for the baby though! We do not realize what we do body-wise for our children - it's not easy! Hang in there and I hope that we both drop weight instantly when we stop b/fding!

A.

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E.R.

answers from Houston on

Good luck with the breast feeding! Don't worry about the weight. I gained over 50 lbs with both of my daughter and didn't lose it with either one of them till they were over a year old. When you think about it it took you 9 month to put on the weight and you have only been trying to lose the weight for 6. A good rule of thumb when trying to lose baby weight is to double the amount of time you were pregnant, so it should take about 18 months to lose the weight. Just keep breastfeeding, and remember you need to consume more calories when breastfeeding to feed your baby, which is help to keep the weight on. Good Luck and go out and get a manicure and a pedicure and get something to make you feel pretty!
P.S. victora secrets now make very pretty maternity bra that are really comfortable.

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C.G.

answers from Austin on

Hi D.,
Weightloss happens during breastfeeding b/c you burn about 300 calories a day. I gained 31 pounds during my pregnancy and lost most of it by 6 months. When I stopped breastfeeding the only extra weight that went down for me was breast size. My guess is that everyones bodies go through the post pregnancy changes differently.
C.~

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A.E.

answers from Austin on

I didn't read any other posts so I hope I am not repeating -- I just wanted to let you know that I held onto my pregnancy weight until the day I stopped breastfeeding! I think everyone's body works differently. For some, breastfeeding helps them lose weight. For others, it's like the body holds onto everything you eat! That was true for me. Within 6 months of not breastfeeding (when son turned 15 mos), my weight dropped to within 5 pounds of original weight. I didn't change anything about my routine or diet except maybe switched from regular coke to diet! I bet if you make minor changes when the time comes, you'll lose most of it!
Just enjoy the nursing--

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C.M.

answers from Austin on

Hang in there! It takes a long time for your body to adjust to all the changes. You are so fortunate to be able to breastfeed your baby! The hormonal changes in your body are contributing to the "extra" weight, but you will get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. After I stopped breast feeding, I lost alot of weight without even trying. But meanwhile, I'd encourage you to walk every day and focus on eating as healthy as possible. Put your baby in the stroller and walk for at least 20 min a day. I remember it was around when my baby was 8 months old when my body started shrinking and every one started noticing. Enjoy your time with your baby, as everyone says, it will pass too quickly! If you can, find a la leche league meeting or breast feeding support group to get you through the next six months. Blessings!

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A.B.

answers from Austin on

I have 3 kiddos-my oldest-8 years now-I breastfed and it had a very positive effect on my body. I healed quickly and I lost all of the baby weight and then some. Now with the two babies that followed I didn't breastfeed and I have had the hardest time getting off the weight. I would check with your dr if you continue to gain weight. Good Luck to you.

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