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The Skinny on Nursing: Will Breastfeeding Make You Lose Weight?

The Skinny on Nursing: Will Breastfeeding Make You Lose Weight?

Breastfeeding is frequently touted as a weight loss aide, but countless moms in Circle of Moms communities say it just didn’t happen that way for them. Are the weight loss benefits of breastfeeding a myth?

Not exactly.

Some women do lose weight while breastfeeding, because breastfeeding burns extra calories. Melanie M. found the weight melted right off: “I gained 70 pounds during my pregnancy, and I lost 60 pounds by the time my son was 4 months old!" Tracey G. also lost weight easily while breastfeeding: "I've been breastfeeding for 5 months now. Lost a total of 50 pounds...I love it. I call it the easiest workout ever!"

This weight loss, however, is not universal. Other women say that while they quickly lose significant weight in the few months after giving birth, the last pounds stubbornly refuse to melt. Melissa H. shares: “I'm still holding on to 15 pounds that just won't budge! I don't really eat [poorly] and I even exercise...my body is just holding onto it, I guess to help me make better milk!"

Many women share Melissa's experience, finding that they carry some extra weight until they begin weaning. Kim S. explains: “While nursing helps you shed the first pounds faster, your body will hang on to the last 10-15 pounds. Your body is doing this in case you can't find food and start to starve. It will come off after you stop nursing.”

What can you do if you’re stuck with stubborn pounds? As hard as it is to be patient with your post-partum body, experts often advise waiting until the third month to make an effort to lose weight, and to then take a gradual approach. One of the most popular programs touted by Circle of Moms members is Weight Watchers for nursing moms. As Jennifer B. shared: “If you're getting frustrated, I would encourage you to check Weight Watchers online. I actually did it for about 3 months (while nursing) to help lose pregnancy weight and it totally worked!...It's very safe for nursing moms to try!!!”

Above all, don't feel discouraged if breastfeeding doesn't melt off the baby weight. As Beth M. wisely advises: “I've nursed 3 children now, and not once did breastfeeding help me lose weight…Don't feel bad about yourself if you are not losing weight. As long as you are maintaining your weight, eating a nutrient-dense balanced diet, and are getting 30 minutes of exercise a day (or 2.5-3 hours each week), then you are fine. And if anyone tells you any differently, just thumb your nose at them. This isn't a popularity or beauty contest. The real beauty is that you CHOSE to breastfeed and CAN.”

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Amandaramirez1379720453 Amandaramirez1379720453 2 years
I unfortunately was only able to breasted for a month but in that month I lost the 21lbs I gained while I was pregnant plus an extra 5lbs! Once I stopped bfing I lost another 5lbs. I guess it really is different for everyone :)
Elizabeth47228 Elizabeth47228 3 years
I only breastfed for 4 months and wound up weighing less than my pre-pregnancy weight. I wasn't trying to lose weight though and I think that was the key... or not... idk. Breastfeeding actually caused me to feel sick all the time and get a vitamin b12 deficiency. Not only that, but I felt like all I did was eat and express milk (my daughter couldn't latch on so I couldn't actually nurse) it seemed like I could never get enough food. Eventually I just had to stop because it was consuming my life and I got so stressed about it that I just stopped producing milk.
PamDunn PamDunn 4 years
but my babies are big and healthy, very healthy....and cute
PamDunn PamDunn 4 years
yeah no weight loss for me... I lost weiht at first because I was tandrum nursing my toddler and baby, then I stopped nursing the oldest one and gained 20 pounds back while I am still fulltime bf my youngest, I feel so fat... so much bigger than I have ever been... sigh~
holli71640 holli71640 5 years
I gained fifty pounds while pregnant, and am still breastfeeding my six month old, I lost twenty almost immediately but that last thirty is still hanging on. I eat healthy but don't get much chance to exercise, strangely I am losing serious inches but no weight.
EricaKnecht EricaKnecht 5 years
I do think that for many women, breastfeeding helps melt off some of the baby weight. But it is not a magic bullet. You still have to eat well, exercise, and be patient. I'm normally pretty thin, but put on 60+ lbs in pregnancy. It took 9 months or so, but all that weight (plus an extra 7 lbs!) came off. The one weight-related benefit of breastfeeding though, is that I can eat as much as my husband does and STILL lose weight.
SarahMcDermott SarahMcDermott 5 years
I am breastfeeding my 3rd baby, with my first the weight just melted off and i was skinnier than i had ever been but he drank so much milk it wasn't funny, with my 2nd she drank the normal amount a baby should drink and i only lost 3 kilos then i was pregnant with my 3rd and i put on 20 kilos!! she is now 4 months old and i have lost 20 kilos!! i eat normally but she is allergic to dairy so i can't eat any dairy products therefore i am limited to healthy food :(
MollyAguilarMcLeod MollyAguilarMcLeod 5 years
I gained 70lbs during my pregnancy. I breastfed for 7 months and I lost 60lbs. But when I stopped breastfeeding I gained some of that weight again.
SoleyThorsdottir SoleyThorsdottir 5 years
I breastfed my son, and I lost alot in weight really fast ! now my son is 2 years and is 1 year and 8 months since i breastfed him last time, i stopped loosing weight, but didn't gain it back either.. Think it's very different from mom to mom.. everyone is different, some might loose weight, some might not..
BrookeAstonReese BrookeAstonReese 5 years
I breastfed my first daughter and am currently breastfeeding my 11-month-old. I am at a weight I haven't seen since highschool! With my first I gained 40 lbs and lost that and more. By the time I got pregnant with my second (my first was 21 months), I was under my pre pregnancy weight. I gained less weight with my second pregnancy and am currently about 10 lbs lighter than my pre mommy weight. I want those 10 lbs back! I am tall and slender and hate feeling like I'm too skinny! I have had blood tests done, I eat constantly, however I can't stop shedding the pounds. I guess it's from the breastfeeding!
EllenaNavarro11983 EllenaNavarro11983 5 years
I found that I lost weight while breastfeeding if I wasn't eating properly. I was getting pretty skinny. I didn't want to put my baby's health at risk or mine by not eating right so I went back to eating normally and then the weight would no longer budge.
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