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Weight Loss During/After Breastfeeding

The Parents Network > Advice > Advice about Breastfeeding > Weight Loss During/After Breastfeeding



Safe weight loss while nursing

Oct 2006

Does anyone have advice how to lose weight safely while nursing? My son is nearly five months old, and I haven't loss any postpartum weight through nursing alone. I don't want to compromise the quality of my breastmilk, but I would like to be able to fit into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes! Any advice is appreciated! anon


Exercise! You need to walk a lot... it is pretty simple--you need to eat a lot while nursing (I think they say like up to 500 extra calories per day) but you will not loose weight if you are not using the calories as energy. I would continue to eat (do not diet, unless you are eating unhealthy foods, which in that case, do change you diet!) as you have through pregnancy, and just try to walk as much as possible. Or if you can exercise with a video at lome--but I think nonstrenuous exercise is the best answer! mama of 2
Hi nursing mama, I recommend the nursing diet through Weight Watchers. I wanted to lose my pregnancy weight but didn't want to compromise my milk supply, so approached this diet cautiously. As it turned out I lost all my weight and continued to nurse my son until he was 15 months old. Call WW for a local meeting location and good luck! A now slender mom! Karen
You can do alot of exercise without compromising the state of your breastmilk! You would have to be a serious athlete to have problems - especially since your milk supply is well established by now. Go to Babyfit.com for mild-moderate postpartum workout ideas.

But don't get your hopes up. I returned to running 8 weeks after giving birth and very quickly returned to my pre- pregnancy weight but very few of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. You'll maintain the saggy skin on your belly and even wider pelvis for about a year.

Good luck and definitely do make time to workout. It's worth it for more than just weight loss! It's a stress reliever, chance for fresh air, and just some thinking time! jane


Weight Watchers is a great weight loss program that REALLY works if you stick to it. They make special adjustments in their program for nursing mothers and have an overall focus on good nutrition, so I think it would be quite safe to join the program while nursing. I am newly pregnant now, but at the beginning of the year I lost 14 lbs on WW (my goal), and there were a number of new moms at the meetings. I plan on going back when I am postpartum for sure! Good luck to you WW fan
Of course you want to fit into your clothes, but try to be patient just a little while longer -- I found with both my kids that the 9-months-in-9-months-out saying held true for losing the pregnancy weight (and my weight was substantially up when I conceived my first child to begin with!). That is to say, by the time 9 months had gone past, I had somehow, almost miraculously (since I put no dietary restrictions into place) lost virtually all, if not more, weight than I had put on in the pregnancies! Down to a size 4, no problem! The trouble came when I stopped nursing -- instantly 5 pounds up. So enjoy the nursing, keep at it, and be patient! A Mom who knows that Nursing is the Wonder Weight-loss program
I actually lost more weight after I stopped nursing. So, don't despair. Also, some exercise will help. I'm taking a great Baby Boot Camp class in Point Richmond. Check out babybootcamp.com ab
I recently picked up a book on this very subject being 7 months post-partum myself. It is called ''Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breasfeeding'' by Eileen Behan, R.D. She is a dietician (and mom I think) and has a very reasonable approach to losing weight post-partum. A very down-to-earth and doable plan it seems. I have yet to actually do the plan due to a hectic schedule and procrastination but I think that it balances out the nutritional needs of the nursing mother and baby well. Good luck! Anon
Unlike many mothers, I also never lost the weight while nursing! But as long as you are eating healthy: lots of veggies and no junk food, you are doing well. Drink lots of water instead of juice or soda. It's also very important to make sure you are exercising. There are many things you can do while your baby is with you. Walking is excellent, taking baby yoga classes or check out Stroller Strides (www.strollerstrides.com) they have classes all over the area and specialize in working out with Moms who keep their babies in the stroller with them. You'll be back to your old self in no time! leslie
Try weight watchers, either online or at the meetings. You can go when you are nursing (and you get 10 extra points a day, I think) and lose weight Andi
I recommend Weight Watchers. They accomodate for breastfeeding and you can eat a really healthy diet (whole grains, veg, fruit, etc). Good luck! AS

Too thin from breastfeeding?

March 2005

I have a six month old baby who has been almost exclusively breastfed (we've just started a little solids recently). Ever since he was born -- within the first month, anyway -- people have been telling me I'm looking thin, and I'm starting to worry about all sorts of horrible possibilities. I am going to get checked by a doctor, but I wondered if others have experienced this. I am loathe to ask my mom friends because I think most of them are still trying to lose weight and would prefer to be in my position.

My baby is large (97+ percentile in height, a little less in weight), and I do get a decent amount of exercise walking with him in the Bjorn. I think I'm eating a good bit, but I have to admit that although people have been telling me I'm too thin (mostly mother-in-law types), part of me has resisted intentionally gaining weight -- it's just hard to not think that ''thinner is better'' even if you know gaining some weight would probably be healthy. I guess I'm afraid I'm going to start eating a ton and not be able to stop after I'm done breastfeeding. I was medium-to-thin before, and I'm now about 7 to 10 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm not sure if I lost it all at the beginning or if I'm still losing weight.

Has anyone else had this experience? A Good Milker


Hi there, After the birth of my first child, I lost weight really quickly. My midwives told me to start eating the full-fat version of everything I already ate---yogurt, sour cream, milk, etc etc., and that felt really good (and tasted good, man oh man). I didn't gain much weight, but had enough fat for the little one and myself. Good luck, DL
I was also a good milker who got to below my pre-pregnancy weight, somehow. I've been enjoying looking at the scale and seeing numbers I haven't seen since I was a freshman in college, 20 years ago. The most important issue is whether your baby is getting enough milk, which it sounds like he is, considering his size.

But what is concerning is the way you describe things: ''people have been telling me I'm too thin, (but) part of me has resisted intentionally gaining weight -- it's just hard to not think that 'thinner is better' even if you know gaining some weight would probably be healthy. I guess I'm afraid I'm going to start eating a ton and not be able to stop after I'm done breastfeeding. I was medium-to-thin before, and I'm now about 7 to 10 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight.'' It reads like you have a negative body image and/or eating disorder. I agree with you that you should see a doctor. Sue


I had your situation after I finished nursing my son after 5 mths. I dropped down to 123lbs and I'm 5ft9. This is the lowest I can remember weighing in a long time, I looked like a string bean. I didn't gain much weight during the pregnancy (about 25lbs) and I lost alot in the first 3 weeks after my son was born. During nursing I exercised daily and ate 3 meals but I could not keep the weight on, breastfeeding just ran my metabolism high. My weight is still low because I chase around after a 17 mth old all day and hardly have anytime to enjoy my meals anymore. But I do enjoy looking slim and I am very grateful for my figure and how breastfeeding help me loose a few extra pregnancy pounds. If you feel healthy and look good don't worry about it. Mother-in-law types always tell people they look too thin, I thinks its programmed into them. Enjoy being able to eat that extra cookie. Helen
It seems to me that nursing moms fall into two different camps: those that lose weight right away and end up 10-15 pounds under their pre- pregnancy weight when they stop nursing and those that hold that extra 10-15 pounds until they stop nursing. In both cases, although I am the former type and most of my friends are the later, we were all back to our pre-pregnancy weights within a year of weaning. It's the same for me the second time around, I can't eat enough to keep the weight on and people keep remarking that I'm looking thin (I'm sure the bags under the eyes from the sleepless nights doesn't help matters). I've even heard of women continuting to nurse as a weight-control aid. I have to tell you that most likely you will return to your pre-pregnancy weight after you stop nursing -- so enjoy the fast metabolism while it lasts! Another ''skinny'' new mom
I lost a bunch of weight during and after my pregnancy. Turned out I had developed diabetes -- Type 1, the kind normally developed by children. That's one of the primary symptoms of either type. You may also experience thirst, frequent urination, and exhaustion. And just in case you think lost weight is always good, about 10 pounds of the weight lost was due to dehydration. Definitely not good. Karen
When my son was 6 months old, I was 30 pounds below my pre- pregancy weight. I was so skinny and so uncomfortable about it that I was getting up to eat in the middle of the night, just like I did late in pregnancy. When we went to visit my inlaws, I asked my husband to call first and ask them not to say anything about my weight.

My son, it turns out, has an appetite much bigger than other children his age (and he's skinny). There was no way that I could have measured that while exclusively breastfeeding. I think he just drained me. When we quit nursing, my weight came back.

Sure, talking to your doctor wouldn't hurt, but don't worry yourself. It happens. Not Skinny Anymore


It sounds like you are taking good care of both your baby and yourself! I wouldn't worry what anyone else says to you, but if you are concerned about health issues, have your blood work done. My daughter is only 3 months old and like you, I am 5 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight (and just had blood work which showed everything was fine). Everyone is different in terms of gaining and losing, just consider yourself fortunate and make sure you are getting the extra calories you need for breastfeeding. Jodi
I also lost a lot of weight very quickly shortly after I gave birth to my daughter, who is also a big baby (95% all around). I am now about 5 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight and my daughter is 5 months old. It does get a little uncomfortable sometimes when people comment that I'm too thin; and so many others are struggling to lose weight, but I am confident that this is just a normal reaction some women have to breastfeeding. In addition, its hard to get good solid meals in when you have a baby. My doctor isn't concerned at all, but I do think its important to have your thyroid checked, as thyroid imbalances are common after childbirth. Your body needs tons of calories, so I would stop worrying about gaining weight and focus on eating very heartily. anon
it's not uncommon to lose a lot of weight while breastfeeding- the info i heard was that 800-1000 calories a day goes to the baby. my personal experience is that i lost all of my pregnancy weight (20 lbs), plus another 15 lbs., by the time my baby was about 8 months old. this is with me eating constantly, three meals and three to five snacks every day, with almost no regard to what i was eating. i.e., i ate ice cream every day under the theory that heck, it was calcium!

when i started to wean my baby, i started shifting my eating habits- i still ate almost as frequently, but i tried to eat stuff like fruit and veggies rather than cookies and brownies for snacks. i did gain some weight back, but at 3 months post- weaning, i am still 10-12 lbs under where i was before.

in my case, though, being 10-12 lbs under is a good thing- i was kinda chubby before and in fact i wouldn't mind if i had lost another 10 lbs. i can see how it would be a concern to you and others who see you, if you were on the skinny side before. i think the important thing is your energy level and a good diet. if you feel good, you think you're getting enough calcium etc., then i wouldn't worry too much about being thinner. however, i don't think you should go hungry now because you're afraid of gaining weight later- it's important to both you and your baby that you keep your strength up. your appetite will probably decrease as your baby gets bigger and nurses less frequently.

talk to your doctor if you are very concerned. if you feel mothers-in-law etc. are bugging you too much about it, maybe you can just smile and say 'you know how it is- my baby really keeps me on the go.' anon


You're not alone! I weighed close to 140 pounds when I got pregnant with my first son and after my second son was born I got down to 120 lbs. I didn't do anything really different in life. The only things I can point to as potentially contributing to my weight loss are going off the pill ( a maximum of 3-5 pounds of weight loss) and eating poultry (I was mostly a vegetarian prior to my first pregnancy and ate a ton of pasta and cheese to fill up). I definitely recommend getting tested by the doctor - I had my thyroid tested and I got checked out for diabetes as well (rapid weight loss can be a sign of diabetes). My girlfriends teasingly said they were going to hold an ''intervention'' to get me to eat - so I know how you feel about not being able to really talk about it with friends. As long as you know that you're making good eating choices, I wouldn't worry about it. I bet that running around taking care of your child, while still trying to do all the other things in life has just led to a drop in weight! enjoying being skinny!
I don't think it's so much a question of thin vs. fat and which is better. It's more about what's healthy for your body and of course your baby's. I guess it might depend on what your ideal weight should be (like, maybe you were overweight before pregnancy) and your body mass index, but I think you should guard against losing too much weight, since breastfeeding requires so many nutrients. You may be losing more than fat... muscle as well. You might also be losing calcium from your bones and other important minerals. Though nursing protects from osteoporosis, it also does cause a decrease in bone density during the nursing itself (which is regained after nursing stops, from what I understand, but if you lose too much calcium, maybe it would be hard to recoup the losses). I'm still attempting to follow the diet outlined in ''What to Expect when you're Expecting,'' even though it's very hard to consistently eat that well, and I'm still nursing a 17 month old. It seems like I lost a lot of weight during the first couple of weeks (no appetite and little energy to prepare all that food), but then gradually have lost some weight, but I'm not concerned about losing the rest after I stop nursing, since then I won't feel the need to eat so much. I have also noticed that the times I've lost weight quickly have been times when I've let myself go hungry off and on. I figure I'm eating enough if I don't ever get too hungry, but I also don't feel like I've gorged on food. Good luck! Susan
Hello! Your message resonated with me. I was lean before getting pregnant and now I'm a little leaner. My baby is 10 months old and starting to wean. I've been eating a ton- very frequently. Sometimes I feel like I have a tapeworm but I know it's making the milk. I'll sometimes finish a meal and feel hungry again an hour or two later. I've just eaten whenever I'm hungry, healthy foods. I think your natural body weight is probably where you should head. It's probably healthier to eat lots now and just trust that you'll taper back to your normal diet once the baby weans. It sounds like you're probably underweight right now. It's probably better for you and the baby to put on a few pounds. Good luck! a fellow breastfeeder
In my experience, nursing really, literally, sucked the weight off of me. I'm down 22 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight, and 64 lbs from my weight at term. I wasn't thin to begin with, and am now a size 10, so I definitely don't look too thin, but there was a period of time where I was really worried about the weight loss. I was having some other strange medical symptoms, so I imagined the worst about the weight loss. My doctor didn't think it was normal just from breastfeeding, but she didn't have an explaination either. I turns out I'm in perfect health, and the weigh loss finally tapered off when my son was around 15-16 months. We're still nursing at almost 2 years of age, but now I have to watch what I eat or the scale starts creeping up again. My son, too, is in the 95+%ile for height and was the same for weight for a long time, though now he has thinned out a bit. I think big babies take a lot out of mothers. Lost weight breastfeeding too
I was slender before babies and quite thin while nursing. The same people who commented on how thin I was often also seemed concerned about how chubby my nursing babes were. I did gain a bit of weight back in the year after my last child weaned and am now back to slender without being ''too thin.'' My observation is that naturally slender women loose weight easily and rapidly while nursing. If you are eating well and feel healthy it's probably just a gift of genetics and nothing more. A good idea to check in with your doc though... slender mama with chubby babes
When I was breastfeeding and had similar concerns my midwife said ''The baby will get what it needs, but you could be robbed.'' Meaning: you can be as skinny as a stalk and the baby will get all the nutrients from your breastmilk. The problem, she explained, is that you are being *stripped* of all those nutrients. She said you need at least 300 extra calories a day to support breastfeeding, and if you don't consume that extra, your body will just take everything and put it into the milk. This is a real concern -- calcium loss, bone density, osteoporosis, etc. are serious issues for women. I know a mom who got rail thin after the birth of her baby (determined to get back into her size one jeans ASAP), and her ankle snapped like a stick just stepping off a curb. No proof that those things are related but it makes sense to me. (There are plenty of old wives tales/sayings about ''A tooth for a child'' -- it was not uncommon for a mother to lose a tooth after the birth of a child. I met a mom in the playground who said she lost SIX!) So your nourishment is what's key here.

Breastfeeding is very draining on your body's resources -- it will keep you thin even if you eat like a horse! (As you've noticed -- you're already thinner than you were pre-baby.) So don't worry so much about your weight, eat well, and know your baby will be nourished either way. But *you* could suffer life-long health effects by not eating enough to protect yourself. Skinny-ish Mom


This happened to me too, all three kids. It just resolved itself after weaning, though I did feel a lillte unhealthy at times. By the third kid, I swallowed my vanity & ate my head off. Didn't help, I was still too skinny. I didn't get much sympathy from other mommies! Just be sure you're eating enough to stay healthy, consult a lactation specialist, she'll tell you what kinds of foods to eat. anon
Try as I might, I could not gain weight while breastfeeding. I lost over 60 pounds, and weighed 98 pounds at my lowest! You didn't say this in your posting, but I know that there was a tremendous cost for my body in this: I was tired much of the time, slept badly etc. Once I stopped nursing my son (at 14 months), I slowly gained all of the weight back and finally felt like my normal self again. I think that some women just burn more calories during breastfeeding: I wouldn't worry about gaining too much weight now or later. You are eating for 2!
I am also a skinny mini.. even more so now that I am breastfeeding. I think it is totally normal- you are burning so many calories this way. I remember my Mom saying that she was also super tiny after nursing my sisters. In my family, the weight tends to catch up to us later. Maybe you are like us. Just be happy you are the way you are, and eat as you would like to! And you'll be fine. 5'7'' 105 lbs...
I had a similar experience after the birth of my son 2 and a half years ago. He was a constant breastfeeder for about a year and a half and always demanding to be bounced and held. I didn't realize how skinny I was at the time, but I was about 10 pounds less than pre-pregnancy. My theory is I either had a temporary thyroid problem, or my metabolism simply went into high gear, since I really was eating a ton. In the last six months I have gained all the weight back, and I am now trying to come to terms with my bigger body (completely normal, but it's still hard when all your clothes are too tight!). Too skinny as well
I have a good friend who was also losing weight during breastfeeding. After seeing her doctor, it turned out she has an overactive thyroid which is causing her weight loss. She didn't have this problem before the pregnancy and was told it happens sometimes. She has been prescribed a thyroid medication, (though she refuses to take it until her child is weaned). I obviously don't know if this could be your situation, but it might be something to mention to the doctor when you see him/her. Kim
I have a nearly 9 month old and I too am about 10 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight. While I LOVE the compliments I too have worried about something horrible being wrong, but I feel great (well, aside from the sleep deprivation). My guy is big too and he's not into solids, so he's nearly exclusively breast fed. I think that have lost the weight because I'm no longer sitting all day ( I quit my office gig) I don't get to snack the way I did before (no time!) and I do baby squats all day and baby bicep curls. Of course the other bummer is that NONE of my clothes fit anymore and I can't afford new ones. Sigh. Poor me ;). I'm interested in what others have to say, maybe I'm overlooking some horrible illness, but again, I feel too good to really worry about it. I'd say, enjoy it, and ignore your mother-in-law! Post Partum Size 6
If you're worried, you should see the doctor, but I think it is possible to lose a lot of weight while nursing. I also lost weight while breastfeeding (though I don't think I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight until my baby weaned), and I definitely know what you mean, that it's hard to get over the 'thinner is better' attitude. So, first of all, don't worry about what happens once you wean the baby. I was wondering about that, too, but my apetite really did decrease once I stopped nursing (and I lost more weight). Second, remember that breastfeeding takes A LOT of calories, so make sure you eat a lot of high energy foods (e.g. nuts, cheese, meat, if you're not vegetarian, etc.), snack a lot, and don't worry about fat intake - remember that you're making whole milk! Third, remind yourself that eating well will ensure that your baby is getting everything s/he needs. And finally, I wanted to add a note regarding weight. I used to be underweight when I was in college, and didn't really understand how skinny I was until I stopped menstruating. The one thing that helped was that, when I went to my doctor, she gave me an estimate of what my 'normal' weight should be (I was well under at the time). I've kept that number as a guide, and it gives me an 'objective' measure of how skinny I am. I make sure I don't go under, and if I do, I eat. Maybe you can figure out what's normal for you and just aim to stay in that neighborhood... and give yourself a few extra pounds for nursing :) Eat well and enjoy your baby
my daughter is seven months old and I've had the exact same experience as you. I have been breastfeeding intensively, and though I do eat three meals a day (AND snacks AND dessert) I've lost a hell of a lot of weight. I'm figuring I'll gain a little bit back after I wean her. Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it. As long as you are actually eating, and drinking lots of water, you're probably fine. But such dramatic weight loss is a little unnerving, I realize. anon.
Your baby seems to be thriving on breastmilk just the way nature intended. It is pretty impossible to be too thin for breastfeeding. Even truly malnourished women are able to fully breastfeed their babies. Your body automatically takes the nutrition it needs to create milk for the baby. Of course, this means that it could be pulling the nutrition from your bones and organs if you are not properly nourished. Breastfeeding in and of itself is the perfect weight loss plan. You typically only need 500 extra calories but a good rule of thumb is eat to satisfy your hunger and drink enough to satisfy thirst. As our babies get older it is also easy to start thinking we can get out and do everything when really our postpartum bodies still need plenty of rest and nutrition. Breastfeeding is the best thing you can give your baby and yourself. It not only protects and nourishes your baby but it protects moms against cancer and other diseases. In order to fully take care of your baby also take care of yourself and eat plenty. This is no time to worry about watching your weight. Nursing will keep it off naturally. La Leche League meetings are a great place to be supported and get questions answered. Feel free to call our east Bay referral line for more info 510-496-6009. LLL Leader
I don't have much advice, but I can sympathize, being in the same position myself. I was EBF until a couple of weeks ago. My son is 6.5 mo, and at 20lbs and close to 29'' he's also towards the 95th percentile in height and around the 75th for weight. I walk him in the Bj?rn and stroller usually daily, and given the hills where we live, this is quite a workout. I think it's easier for some people to lose weight carting around a heavy baby, especially if you're inclined to be on the thin side.

If you're worried you should probably talk to your doctor, but your situation doesn't sound much different from mine. I lost the 40-odd lbs I gained during the pregnancy within about 5 months, and lost the first 35 or so within closer to 3 months. People generally commented that I looked good--and I too assumed it was because of the societal bias toward being thin. Then they started saying I was looking thin. I wasn't trying to lose weight but was just eating three reasonably healthy meals. I stopped regularly snacking on pregnancy favorites like big peanut butter sandwiches, ice-cream, and burgers because I also didn't want bad eating habits to set in for after I stopped nursing. For what it's worth, I think you're wise to start healthy eating now rather than later.

I'm now about 4 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight. (I figure that with my breasts being bigger--and so heavier--I could take off a few additional pounds on top of this.) Once I hit my pre-pregnancy size, old ''tight'' clothes started looking baggy, and I kept losing weight, I started to become concerned. I started ''compensating'' by eating muffins, scones, homemade pies, etc. But I gave up this strategy when I realised I was just loading myself up with a bit too much saturated fat (as much as my husband loved my between-work pie-making frenzies!) It does seem better to eat as healthily as I can because I enjoy eating this way too.

I'm sorry I don't have a whole lot of advice. But I wanted to share my experience because the frustration in your post resonated with me. It _is_ hard to talk to friends who are frustrated to not have lost their pregnancy weight. I attempted to complain about losing too much weight once and didn't get a whole lot of support. There are others out there in the same boat! also thin


Briefly, I had a similar experience with nursing both times (weaned around age 1). The first time I worried that when I weaned my ''nursing eating'' would continue and I'd gain a ton of weight. But things self-regulated - I did come back up to my pre-pregnancy weight (not that I necessarily needed to). But most important, my appetite naturally diminished and instead of snacking constantly I found myself forgetting about food for hours at a time without trying. I did have to stop reaching for the hot fugde sundaes whenever I wanted, but don't worry too much about weaning. Given good health and lifestyle otherwise, you'll probably find yourself +/- back where you started without really trying one way or another. - nursing: the ultimate diet plan
I'm sorry to all of you ''too thin from breastfeeding'' posters, but I just have to add this: Although my weight was in the normal range, between losing babyweight and breastfeeding my son (18 years ago), I lost about 50 pounds, weighing in at around 100 lbs at 5'6''. I felt marvelous -- wonderfully skinny and with big boobs to enjoy for a few years! Then, the kid got older and I did too, and now I'm 50 pounds overweight. So... assuming you all aren't malnourished, I'd say, enjoy it while you can!! Anon
Be aware of exteme weight loss. I lost most my pregnancy weight and then some after my first daughter was born. Also resumed menstruation 7 weeks after she was born even though I was breastfeding. When she was almost 2 I ws diagnosed with extreme hyperthyroidism which frequently has an onset after the birth of a baby in those with a likelyhood to develop it. Is in check now after taking noninvasive prescription meds. rebecca

Breastfeeding, Domperidone, and Weight Loss

May 2004

I have been breastfeeding and taking Domperidone to increase my milk supply for about four months, since my daughter was born. I have not been able to lose any of the weight still left over after pregnancy -- in fact, I seem to have gained a few pounds. My diet and lifestyle don't account for this. Could it possibly be the Domperidone? Has anyone else had trouble losing weight while taking Domperidone? If so, is there anything I can do, other than wait until I'm done breastfeeding? Thanks for your thoughts! anon


Hi - I can't comment about the domperidone factor, but regarding weight loss, I've had two kids & the big weight loss didn't really hit till after 6 mo of breastfeeding. Around 9 mo - 18 mo I could eat ANYTHING and still lose weight while breastfeeding. The ability to eat anything tapered off after 2 yrs of nursing (I'm sure due to the much lower number of calories my child was needing from me). But the first 4-5 months were pretty minimal weight loss (for me). Now at 6 mo with my baby, I'm starting to notice weight loss. By the way, I'm doing minimal exercise - outside of caring for a toddler and infant :) - and I'm not dieting in any way - just eating as healthily as I can. Here's also some unsolicited advice... take care of yourself & love & appreciate your amazing body that was able to create this child and nurture it. I have many friends that couldn't conceive and I'm very grateful that I was (after a bit of struggle) able to conceive, carry the babies to term, and nurse. It is hard to remember sometimes, but we are so very lucky - and your body (even if it isn't runway-ready) is the foundation. Best of luck, Christina
I'm not sure why you're taking domperidone to increase breastmilk supply. It seems to be more of a side effect than aid. You might want to consider switching to more of a natural alternative such as fenugreek, Mother's Milk tea from Traditional Medicinals, or drinking lots of warm broth. Also check if your baby is latching on properly because your body knows how much to produce milk if he/she sucks enough. Regarding weightloss while BF, it took me 6 months (with no effort) after baby was born to see any significant weight loss. anon

Does weight come back after nursing?

June 2002

I was losing weight successfully with nursing, exercising and healthy eating and I am even 10 pounds under my prepregnancy weight. I think it was so easy to loose because of nursing. Before I always exercised and ate healthy but the weight just never came off. I am afraid the weight will come back when I stop nursing. I now that hormon levels are very low when nursing and the female hormon estrogen is the kind of hormon which makes you gain weight. very easily. I would like to stay at my current weight but I am just afraid what happends when I stop nursing. Do most women keep the weight off when they stop nursing ? I would like to know about other womens experience with this issue. alex


To my dismay, the weight did come back. I was enjoying wearing clothes I hadn't worn in years! My daughter started weaning herself about six weeks ago and I am now only nursing a couple of times a day and I've gained back quite a few pounds. I think part of the problem is I got used to eating a lot when I was nursing constantly and I haven't really cut back at all. Anon
I lost more weight after nursing, I stopped when my daughter was 8-9 months. I had overabundant milk supply and I ate lots of food during nursing, not always healthy (lots of p.b. sandwich I remembered). I have lost all my weight during nursing and I lost more after I stopped, I think I actually slim down since my breast are not as big. I'm back to my normal weight, 5 lbs overweight for my height.
So far, so good for me! I always struggled with my weight and was shocked when the weight came off so easily after birth. I breastfed for 19 months and ended up about 10 pounds below my pre-preg weight. Right after I stopped nursing I gained a few pounds, but then I realized that I was still eating extra for that milk! I started listening to my hunger signals again and those few pounds dropped right back off. It has been nearly 3 months now and I am still at my lowest weight in many years. I hope it goes this way for you too! anon

I've lost all my weight, but what happens when I ween?

May 2002

I am still nursing my 16 month old boy. He nurses an averae of 2 times during the day and during the night he nurses from 3-4 times. My question is that I have lost all my pregnancy weight and am thinner than before i got pregnant. That's nice, but I am worried about what will happen once I stop nursing, which I don't have a ween date for, probably let him ween himself. Anyway, what are your experiences of when you stopped nursing. Is it that I am burning those nursing calories or is it because I am running after my baby OR both. What can I do when I do stop nursing? My eating habits are bad. I sometimes cannot eat enough. nursing mother


I had that experience with my first child. When I quit nursing after two years, I found that my fertility was shot (as measured by ovulation kits). I went to an acupuncturist who got me back into shape pretty quickly and I went back to my normal pre-pregnancy weight. I was 41 at the time--it may have been different if I had been younger. anonymous
If you are thinner than you were before you were pregnant and you are nursing, eating a lot and not exercising, you may want to get your thyroid checked. There was a thread about the opposite problem a week or two ago - pregnancy affects thyroid both ways, making it either tough to keep weight on or tough to take it off. I have a friend who had the former problem. After her first pregnancy she had to take medication (it affects your heart, or something) and after her second one she is borderline - very thin but her heartrate is OK. In any event, I don't think nursing is keeping you thin - most people seem to say the reverse. Fran
Are you sure that your weight loss is due to nursing? You don't burn *that* many calories while nursing. I lost a lot of weight with my last baby, and it turns out that I was hyperthyroid, which comes on after pregnancy (I got it with my second baby, but not my first). You might check this out with your doctor (some of the symptoms are weight loss, shaking hands, fast heart beat, irritablility, poor sleeping...). A simple blood test would tell you the results. Mary
I'm due with my second child in a month and I've had the fortunate problem of not being able to put on much weight during my pregnancies, less than 10 lbs. We keep a VERY close eye on my baby and me to make sure my lack of weight gain is not harming the baby. I lost lots of weight when nursing my first one and I assume the same will happen with the second. I'm about 30 pounds overweight normally when I'm not pregnant/nursing, so my Doctor wasn't too worried. I don't have great eating habits and I don't exercise regularly. I hate to tell you, but after a few months when I stopped nursing (when the baby was about 7 months old), I put all of the weight back on. I didn't have my thyroid checked then, but I've had it checked twice during my current pregnancy and it's fine right now. The interesting thing is that with this second pregnancy I've had a rougher time physically - probably just age (38), the fact that I have a more stressful job and the fact that I have a two year old to watch out for. I really feel disabled or as if I'm getting a glimpse into old age - I can barely walk up three flights of stairs. I curse myself for not exercising more during this pregnancy, but when could I find the time? What it has made me think about is that after the baby is born I WILL strive to start exercising more so that I never feel this out of shape again. It would be lovely if I lost more weight again as well while nursing. I was much more active before I had my first child - hiking, biking, running, etc. I'm just going to have to miraculously make some time to start taking better care of myself. I really can't stand to be this incapacitated. One of my best friends also had a similar weight loss/gain experience with her two children. She credited her weight loss to the fact that she was going out less, so she wasn't eating as many rich restaurant meals, nor was she drinking. She too put the weight back on once she stopped nursing though. We've often joked about how our best diet was getting pregnant. Unfortunately, like most diets, if you don't make permanent changes to your lifestyle it doesn't last. Jane
Like you, I am now thinner than my pre-pregnancy weight. Like you, when I stopped nursing my toddler about two months ago I wondered if I'd gain the weight back. I haven't had any weight gain since, but I have noticed that my appetite has decreased (but it's only been a few months). Personally, I don't think that it's automatically a thyroid problem. I think that it's more an issue of your body type. I've always been thin, I've never had a problem with weight, and I've never had to be really careful about what I eat--but I am a reasonably heathly eater and moderately active. I have a few friends whose body types are like mine and whose nursing weight-loss experience has been similar to mine. If this weight loss is completely abnormal for your lifestyle and body type, then I'd be worried and check with a doctor to see if it's another problem. Otherwise, I think that once you stop nursing you'll just have to be cautious about what you eat and how you maintain a healthy lifestyle if you want to stay in the area of your current weight. Jennette
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