Breast is best. This should be our motivation for nursing our babies but, hey, that whole “you lose weight faster” thing is pretty appealing, too. I can honestly say this was not my motivation for breastfeeding but I know for some moms, it is. Personally, I don’t really care what your reasons are. Breastfeeding isn’t easy, especially in the beginning weeks. So, if you are breastfeeding or have breastfed I say good for you!
Ok, back to the point.
Although, weight loss wasn’t at the forefront of my mind in my decision to breastfeed, I definitely liked the idea that I would lose weight “faster”. . As I’ve mentioned previously, weight has always been a struggle for me; the thought of getting a little help by nursing was most definitely reassuring.
Well, guess what?
It didn’t quite go as planned. I’m not saying nursing didn’t help me lose weight faster. There’s no real way for me to know that. But at 6 months postpartum I still hadn’t gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight and I was not a happy camper. Maybe that was a lofty dream of mine but from what I had heard about breastfeeding and weight loss I really believed that this was highly probable without doing a thing. I also thought that there was little that I could actually do to lose weight since I was nursing.
I was wrong on both accounts.
There is a reason that breastfeeding moms lose weight faster. Our bodies are made to acquire some fat during pregnancy (approximately 5-9 pounds). That fat is then used for the baby. If a mom is not nursing then she has simply acquired a bundle of fat from her bundle of joy.
In theory, this is great news for us breastfeeding mamas but that would be assuming we stay within the healthy range of weight gain during pregnancy (I did, by one pound and I thought I was fairly “strict”). Also, I was not prepared for the fact that I would be starving. At all times. And, yes, I needed to keep my caloric intake up. So, as it turns out it wasn’t quite as “easy” as I thought. Sure, for some it might be, but for many women there are some obstacles to getting back to our pre-prego weight easily.
As part of Real Moms Talk Losing the Baby Weight, I put a call out to my Facebook friends for women that lost their baby weight while breastfeeding. I am really excited to share an interview with you of one of the women that responded. Melissa is a high school friend of mine. It is rare that I can hear a No Doubt song without thinking of Melissa (I know, I totally dated myself). I was really excited that she was willing to answer and let me share her story with you. I was personally inspired my her answers and I hope you are, too!
Interview with Melissa
- Did you have a weight loss plan prior to having your baby? I never had a weight loss plan prior to having Abby. I had tried Weight Watchers and did well on it years prior, but I just worked out and tried to eat healthier. I worked out at the gym until I was 7 months pregnant. Just light workouts like walking on the treadmill and elliptical. It made me feel good!
- At what point did you actively start trying to lose weight? I started actively trying to lose weight when Abby was about 6 months old. The weird thing is, right after I had her, I was actually thinner than I was before I got pregnant. I know your body does weird things, but I never thought I’d look better after having a baby. It was awesome! But then it caught up to me…especially during the holidays. I was in my little “mommy happiness bubble” and just really let myself go during the holidays. My co-workers and I decided to do a 6-month weight loss competition to really get us motivated.
- Did anything significant happen to make you decide it was time? Putting my weight back on during the holidays while on maternity leave is what finally made me decide it was time. I was so disappointed with myself. I also knew that my husband’s first wife had really let herself go with his first 3 kids and I DID NOT want that to happen in this marriage. I wanted to feel good about myself – my daughter was perfect, my husband is gorgeous, so Abby needed a HOT mommy!!
- What did you do to lose the weight? In March 2015, I began crossfit with my co-worker and friend. She had been going for some time and really loved it. She was a wife, mother, and worked full-time just like me. If she could do it, I could do it. Another co-worker of mine started the 21-Day Fix and it seemed to work for her. Combined with the crossfit, I was able to lose 25 pounds and win the weight-loss competition.
- Did you have any challenges with maintaining adequate milk supply? I did have a hard time keeping my milk supply up. At times I felt discouraged because I didn’t know if I was able to give her as much as she needed. I began to take Fenugreek and drink lots of water to get my production going and it worked.
- Do you feel you had any misconceptions about losing weight while nursing prior to losing the weight? I had always felt I shouldn’t try to diet or lose weight while I was nursing because you need to consume more calories than I normally would. These calories and nutrients were necessary for Abby and that wouldn’t make it easy to shed the pounds.
- What tips would you give to a mom about losing baby weight while nursing? Make sure you exercise (taking baby for a jog/walk with the stroller and eat healthy). It can be done….I did it. I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight my whole life, but once I figured out a good plan and what works for me, it was absolutely possible and totally motivating. I felt positive about it for the first time in my life.
Did you have any misconceptions about losing weight while breast feeding?