I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked if I am breastfeeding my baby, here in Boulder there is a lot of mom-shaming if you aren’t. I actually got the feeling they might not let me leave the hospital with my baby if I wasn’t planning to breastfeed her (not REALLY but there was a lot of pressure).
When I respond that, yes, I am breastfeeding my baby often times the response is oh great, the weight will just FALL off. When this is said I can’t help but feel my eye twitch and blood pressure rise a little. This is decidedly not the case for me and many other women I know. Serena Williams has talked openly with her struggles with weight loss and breastfeeding. Here is another article explaining some of the reasons.
It was harder the first time when breastfeeding wasn’t helping me lose weight and in fact seemed to impede my weight loss attempts. I had heard for so long how it helps so much and how the baby weight would just melt off. I did struggle with my supply with Cannon I worked hard to get my supply up enough to feed Cannon and have a freezer supply for him for when I went back to work. But no matter how I ate or exercised the weight barley budged. By the time Cannon was 10 months old my supply was drying up and Cannon didn’t care too much about nursing, he was happy to take a bottle. I was emotional about stopping, there was guilt about not making it to the one year mark but I had a freezer stash and it just wasn’t working for us anymore.
The one lucky thing was that I didn’t have any trouble weaning, we just stopped and my supply dried up, no need to slowly taper our feedings. That’s when things shifted, my hormones changed, I had much more energy and the weight literally did fall off. I was able to run further and I felt better than I had in months.
This time around is a little easier, I have tempered my expectations. Again the weight is not falling off but I don’t expect it to until we stop breastfeeding.
I did some research and found that the most important macros for creating breastmilk are protein and fat. After my research and talking to my Midwife I decided to try cutting out all processed carbs and raising my fat and protein percentage.
It’s not my easy but it does seem to be working, even if I have to fight for every pound. After eating this way for a month I have lost about ten pounds and my milk supply has stayed the same. I also have been increasing my exercise volume so I try to focus on lots of healthy fats and staying hydrated.
My point in writing this is not to complain, I know how lucky I am to have had two healthy babies and to be able to nurse them at all. My reason for writing this is to hopefully shed some light on women’s’ different experiences so maybe one new mama won’t be so caught off guard like I was. Everyone has a different experience, for some women the weight does fall off and I have even heard stories from women where they put weight back on when they stop nursing, Serena explains that she couldn’t lose weight at all, for me it just makes it that much harder. And for now, that’s okay.