Q&A: Nursing and weight loss

Heather writes:

"Do nursing moms really lose weight just by nursing or does that only happen to Hollywood moms? I eat like a health nut and chase two kids yet 9 months later I am gaining weight. WHY?????"

Well, I hate to say it, but not everyone loses weight while nursing. I think most people lose the baby weight over time (9-12 months), but some women seem to hold on to an extra 5-10 pounds until the baby stops nursing. I have no idea why–it's probably just genetics.

If, however, you're actually *gaining* weight a few months out post-partum, and you are being honest about your diet, then I'd 1) pee on a stick, 2) look at how much sleep you're getting, because lack of sleep causes weight gain, and 3) go to your doctor and get your hormones levels checked. Wacky hormones and your thyroid can cause weight gain, depression, sluggishness, etc.

Anecdotal stories of breastfeeding and weight loss? How long did it take you to lose the baby weight? Did you ever lose it? Did you lose more?

110 thoughts on “Q&A: Nursing and weight loss”

  1. I breastfed for two years and after the initial postpartum loss I slowly gained weight. I just weaned a month ago and I don’t know whether I’m gaining or losing weight or staying constant now, and other than that I hate buying new clothes, I don’t really care. I’m fine with my body at whatever weight it equilibrates at.If you want to work towards accepting your body, a good place to start is http://kateharding.net/ . They’ve started getting more fluffy lately, but the archives are gold.

  2. I have a bit of an unusual story – my tongue-tied son could never effectively latch, so I have been expressing milk since he was 3 days old (he’s just past 13 months now); he is my first. I ended up with a WICKED oversupply (as in expressing over 1.5 L per day at the height)and as such, I lost the majority of the weight within 3 months and all of it within 6. That said, I had about 5-10 lbs to go before I hit my desired weight, and I was struggling to lose those lbs while expressing. And then I got pregnant again (almost 14 weeks now) so all bets are off.

  3. With #1, breastfeeding didn’t help me lose weight, but I admit that I wasn’t really honest with what/how I was eating.But with #2, I made a deal with myself that I’d eat healthy, real foods whenever I was hungry and only until I was pleasantly full. And that I’d get out and take a nice walk (as in a pleasant walk, not pushing myself) every day. I was shocked at how much I could eat and still lose weight. I thought how am I going to breastfeed this kid until she’s 18 years old? 🙂
    But I did hang onto those last 10 lbs. and I have to say they didn’t go away even when I weaned. But I will admit that I haven’t really worked at it.
    Now at 9 months, could weight gain be perhaps because you aren’t breastfeeding as much since the baby is conceivably eating solids? But maybe still eating the same quantities as if you were breastfeeding full-time? I know I tend to look at my diet over the past short-term and think well I was eating like this last month and there weren’t any problems…

  4. I’m still working on beating it off with a stick, and my baby will be 3 next week. In my experience, I lost the baby weight with my first in 4 months. She was 100% formula fed. of course, I also had PPD that was causing me stomach problems and had been given a lecture on how fat I was by the midwife (note: I wasn’t *that* fat) while I was in the hospital, so I was going on what a friend called “death marches” around town – put baby in carrier. Walk 3 miles. Continue. (is it any wonder I failed at BFing that one?)With my second, I was 25 pounds lighter than when I got pregnant. I am now down to my prepregnancy weight from the first, but am nowhere near the second. My goal is actually 10lbs higher than I was when I got pregnant with the 2nd (that’s the lowest I’ve been able to maintain consistently as an adult). I did gain and lose repeatedly with the second, who nursed until he was 2.5. A contributing factor was that I was taking domperidone as a galactagogue, which significantly increases appetite and affects metabolism.
    Ad now the relevant part: in the last year that I was nursing, I found that I kept gaining weight (even though I was nursing and had a physically demanding job) and was seriously sluggish, kind of depressed, had joint pain, etc. After recognizing that it was a problem (this took about 8 months) the doctor and I went through many options. Thought it might be thyroid. nope. Lyme disease? Nope. Finally did some seriously comprehensive bloodwork and found out that I had a deficiency in vitamin D.
    Vitamin D levels are correlated with body fat levels. From what I can tell, it’s not certain whether low D levels contribute to weight gain because people with low D are often lethargic, depressed, and in pain. Or if weight gain causes low D because D is fat soluble and body fat deposits can act as a sink so that the vitamin isn’t accessible to the body. Regardless, a supplement can help significantly. It’s easy, doesn’t really have a side effect, and they even come as gummy bears or chocolate chews if you’re inclined that way (my kids are).

  5. No time for a lot of detail, but with my third I had a Mirena, and WAS NOT losing a thing. Until I got it out, and lost 10 lbs within a month..

  6. As a metabolically-skinny person, I dipped to 5 pounds below pre-baby weight at the 9-10 month mark with both my kids (OMG the hunger those kids had), and had to work to keep weight on. Was back to normal weight by a year, even though I bfed for 2+ with each kid. Didn’t menstruate with either until 15 months post-partum either.

  7. I think a lot of it depends on genetics and body type. For some, the weight just falls off and they morph back into the their old shape and size (with some tummy fluff and stretch marks added). Others, like me, get really big and hold onto that weight until some serious effort is made. Serious effort, by the way, which feels almost impossible and certainly not a priority if you’re up all night with an infant and feeling hormonal swings, PPD, or just general exhaustion.My data ponts: I breastfed for almost a year with each of my two kids and lost *some* of the pregnancy weight, very slowly. There came a point with each, though, when the weight stopped coming off and started going back on. I attributed this to utter sleep deprivation, depression, lack of control of the crazy appetite that come with nursing.
    With each one, I didn’t get it under control until after the babies had stopped nursing and were sleeping at night. Baby #2 is now 16 months old and I still have a long way to go before I’m back to my pre-first-preg. weight.

  8. Here’s another data point:I actually lost weight at first – and then didn’t for a few months with my now 8 month old. Once I got her to eating solids I lost a quite a bit more – I chalk it up to my breasts are finally evening out and getting smaller because I’m feeding her less. My boobs get HUGE with pregnancy and breastfeeding. So I’m feeding her 2 less meals with the boobies AND I’m eating less because I’m not as hungry with the not feeding her 24/7 from the boobies, my bra size is finally coming into somewhat of a human size and the weight is dropping elsewhere too.
    Hollywood moms not only breastfeed, they hire nutrionists, chefs and personal trainers not to mention nannies. So they get their food prepared for them and aren’t just grabbing whatever is handy to eat when you get a break from doing something with the baby. And have the nannies mean they are getting sleep which aids in weight loss and the nannies mean they have time to work out with the personal trainers.

  9. I’ve lost and put back on again. It’s hard for me to be at home surrounded by yummy toddler food and still stick to reasonable portions. I’m making homemade biscuits and muffins, but they’re all toddler-sized and I’ve found I’m eating far more of the little bites than I would if they were larger–it’s too easy to loose track of them. Plus my little guy really is a little guy, so we have very calorie-dense, high-fat snacks around (nuts, whole milk, full-fat cheeses). So I think I’m going to have to go back to the tried-and-true method of writing down EVERYTHING I eat, because I think I’m going to be pretty shocked at just how many calories I’m actually consuming. That and make sure I’m eating at least 2 servings of fruits and veggies every day. I did that while I was nursing and lost weight effortlessly (the first and only time that’s ever happened).Part of my problem is getting motivated. I know I need to lose weight for health reasons (4 generations of diabetes in my family history, and my asthma has gotten significantly worse since I’ve put on so much weight). But it always feels like I can just start next month. Moxie, if you have the bandwidth, how about another challenge? That was really helpful in holding me accountable for the changes I wanted to make in my life.

  10. I’m actually 10lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight after bf-ing for 10 months. In my experience, the weight has sort of fallen off, and I eat like crazy.. mmm donuts..

  11. I lost SO much weight when initially breastfeeding. Within 3 months I was half a stone below pre-pregnancy weight, & I hadn’t been large then. I looked skeletal, frankly! The weight loss definitely slowed off but it’s only now, at 20 months, that I feel nursing isn’t making any difference & I am actually back at pre-preg weight.

  12. This would be the first thing I’ve ever had in common with a “Hollywood mom”. I’d lost 100% of the baby weight within 4 months. I breastfed exclusively for over a year. I also co-slept, so was never massively sleep-deprived; that may have helped.

  13. With my first baby, the weight was off in two months and I even dropped below pre-preg. weight after that. She was a great eater and it was definitely the breastfeeding because I was eating whatever I wanted. With baby #2 it took about 4-5 months. However, I just had baby #3 in Oct and I’m still working on it. I have about 8-9 lbs to get to where I want to be. It is definitely getting harder as I get older. As someone else stated about the Mirena…that could be the difference for me because I had it put in this time and not the previous two…maybe it makes you hold on to a few extra. Who knows. I think everyone is different and you have to find out what works for you. Lucky for me I get to have to work for it this time! =(

  14. I lost all the weight within 4 months while almost exclusively pumping. I found carrying around that child was pretty good exercise. You do have to be careful about not taking advantage of the “extra 500 or so” calories you need while nursing. But, I’m sure it will be different for number 2. I didn’t gain all that much preggo weight though and am naturally slim. It was all the fluid that they put into me in the hospital that accounted for a lot of it. Taking time for yourself is a good idea.

  15. I’m weird this way, but if it helps someone: I have PCOS which leads to easy weight gain and difficult weight loss. I gained maybe 10 pounds with baby #1 and 5 with #2, so I was well below my pre-pregnancy weight with both of them once the dust had settled from giving birth –which I ascribe to pregnancy normalizing my hormones. After that I got even a little lower weight because of nursing every two hours and having babies who were VERY talented at sensing I was about to sit down to a meal and announcing their need to nurse. Then I’d level off at about 5-10 lbs heavier than I’d been immediately after the baby was born. Then I’d stop nursing and all the weight that was waiting in the wings for me to stop nursing ballooned me in like a couple weeks, no kidding. Time to pay the piper for all the chocolate and cheese and second helping nursing was letting me enjoy!One thing that’s helped me be realistic about my eating is Fit Day.com. When I started entering in honest calorie counts and portion sizes I discovered I actually WAS eating lots more than I thought I was even though about 80 percent of my diet is healthy wholesome foods (we will not discuss the sweet tooth). I’ve also heard good things about sparkpeople and MyCalorieCounter. My husband uses that and has lost 11 lbs. since the beginning of the year.

  16. I lost most of the 16 pounds of pregnancy weight by 4-5 months or so. My little one was 6 weeks early but a good (albiet slow) nurser. It was funny how my shape changed despite the scale being the same number. I count myself a lucky one. No exercise other than struggling to keep up. I, too, coslept but was sleep depirved because he has never been a good sleeper. When I got pregnant with #2, the first was 14 months old and I was another 16 ponds lighter than when I got pregnant the first time. The one thing I did do was try to be aware of my eating. As he nursed less and ate more solids, I tried to not eat out of habit but out hunger. (which was tough.) but like a pp, now that I am pregnant all bets are off. So far in this pregnancy, I am 28 weeks, i have already gained the same amount that I did with the entire first pregnancy.

  17. i was back to within 5 lbs or so of my pre-preg. weight by 6 wk checkup. but in the almost 2 years since then it has been a struggle to not gain even though son is still breastfeeding. there’s the mirena and the celexa both of which seem to have the effect of weight gain if i even so much as look at an extra serving of ANYTHING. and we also have whole fat milk, yogurt and cheese in the house for the first time in…FOREVER…for the little guy. we don’t consume enough dairy to justify buying two different cartons and can i just say it actually is rather tasty!?!? but, yea, i definitely notice the scale is not budging.also not sure if anyone else has said this, but even if the numbers on the scale are the same as before the pregnancy–or less–your clothes may not ever fit the same again. at least that’s what i am finding…

  18. I lost all but 5lbs of the pregnancy weight within 1 month of breastfeeding my son–it must be genetic, as my postpartum doula kept looking at me and saying, “I’ve never seen a woman loose the ‘pooch’ so quickly.”That said, those 5 lbs are still with me–all of them hovering around my tummy and hips–now with my son at 16 months, still BFing. I feel like they’re there to ensure the supply never dips too low.
    However, I just started exercising 2-3 times a week again and notice that I’m already losing a bit of the saddlebags and love handles. Also, I’m able to eat even more than usual now (er, a pint of ice cream in one sitting? alas, it’s true), and my appetite is through the roof!
    This all makes me a little ambivalent about weaning, honestly. I know I won’t be able to pack in the food like this once the kid’s off the boob.

  19. There’s a theory that nursing women hold on to the last 5-10 lbs as an emergency reserve. Like if back in caveman times, there was a famine, those extra lbs would keep you and your baby from starving.

  20. I didn’t gain much weight when I was pregnant. I was overweight to begin with, and I’ve found that many people with “reserves” (my OB’s polite term) tend not to gain as much as others. So I gained about 15 lbs total. But my mom got sick & subsequently died while I was pregnant, so I’m sure that had a lot to do w/ my lack of appetite.My son weighed 7lbs, 7oz at birth. I was back in regular pants at his bris the following week. I have no idea when I “officially” lost the weight; I definitely had a huge amount of fluid buildup. I breastfed exclusively for 9 months & my metabolism & appetite were never so good. Unfortunately, it took a while to get out of the habit I was in of eating so frequently, so I gained weight AFTER I stopped breastfeeding.
    Now he’s almost 4, I went back to work & sit most of the day, so I could stand to lose some weight. And get back on the treadmill!

  21. I gained 60lbs during my pregnancy (I started out at 116, so I wasn’t significantly underweight). 30 of those pounds disappeared in the first 2 weeks postpartum (obviously I had a lot of water weight), but the rest of them stayed put until my baby was about 10 months old. She had been exclusively breastfed that whole time. Then the weight just kind of started disappearing. She’s 13.5 months now, still getting most of her nutrition from the breast and I am only about 5 lbs heavier than I was before I got pregnant.

  22. I totally think it depends on the person. I’ve heard stories both ways. I lost the majority of the baby weight in the first 3 months or so and was back into most of my pre-preg clothes by about 8-10 months. A couple of things that seemed to help, I imagine (no proof really):- I was really good about exercising while pregnant (not because I was pregnant but because I’d been regularly exercising for years prior)
    – I ignored EVERYONE who, even jokingly, advised me to eat for two when I was pregnant. I just ate until satisfied. I figured the extra 200-300 cal/day they say you need was easily consumed without trying. Thus, I didn’t gain a ton of pregnancy weight (unlike my sisters and some friends) so started with less to lose!
    – Like my attitude while pregnant, I ignored advice to consume extra calories needed for milk production. I didn’t really focus on quantity of food, just ate as much as I needed to not feel hungry. And our normal diet is pretty healthy so I didn’t mess with that any.
    – One key thing was that once I was home with baby I had a cabinet and fridge stocked with food and available all day for grazing. When I realized I was snacking more than I should, I started preparing a lunch like my husband’s (night before). Lunches are typically a sandwich, an apple or pear, a Tupperwear of veggies (carrots, sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, etc), a Tupperwear of snackfood (Triscuts & almonds for example). Then when I was feeling snacky during the day I’d grab something from my “lunch”. Portion control built in! And healthy snacks ready to grab. It kept me from eating boxes of Triscuts or entire tubes of Ritz crackers. The 10 min required to prepare the night before was well worth it (my husband and I still take turns with lunch duty 18 months later).

  23. @Elizabeth I was going to say the same thing and we have the same name!! Crazy.Anyway as I sit here and finish up my french toast and sausage…… I gained 55lbs with my Son and did that eating 3 healthy meals and a snack or two. I firmly believe your body is going to do what it needs to do to support the other being your growing either pregnant or nursing. I had lost all but 10lbs by 4 mths and wasn’t trying to do anything, then we suspected my guy had food sensitivities and I went off all Dairy/Casein, Soy, Wheat, Corn and nightshades. I lost a lot of weight and that was a year ago, I added everything back 6 mths ago and still maintain the loss while I eat everything I want. But I don’t really sleep, I nurse this nocturnal babe all night long and I suspect that is why I’m still skinny. I figure if I can sleep I can at least eat cookies and look great in my jeans…

  24. I gained 65 pounds with my first. I nursed for 11 months. He only napped in the stroller so I walked a lot. I ate a lot of granola bars. I was still 10-15 pounds over pre-pregnancy weight when I weaned at 11 months (but most of that weight came off in the first week…literally 30 pounds in 2 days after birth), but I lost all of the last 10 lbs in the month after that, so by his 1st birthday, I was back at pre-preg weight. Weight yes, shape no. I just wasn’t the same. A little softer here, a little squishier here, a lot droopier here and also there and oh-my-gosh does that go all the way back there now?With my second I got a Mirena (which I have a love-hate relationship with), I nursed for 13.5 months. I lost all but the last 10 pounds by 4 months. Once I weaned the last 10 pounds plus a few more came off (mostly from my chest). I ate better the second time around but did less exercise. I also have PCOS (but apparently, without insulin resistance…I have no idea how that works).

  25. Oh, I should add I gained 60 lbs with the second, and I ate better, but certainly not less. We joked that I ate like a lumberjack truck driver (whole restaurant portioned meals with no doggie bag! and appetizers and dessert and then come home and have a snack.). I have no idea how many calories I was eating per day but 2500 wouldn’t be out of the ballpark I don’t think.I was very aware that I was eating like that while nursing so when I weaned, I was careful to scale it back to regular portion sizes. I was sad because cookies and ice cream and onion rings and I really liked eachother. And it’s Girl Scout Cookie season here.

  26. Elizabeth, that lunch idea is genius. I have a problem with portion control and that might work great.The pounds did melt off for me while breastfeeding, but I also had to be on elimination diets with both kids. (If you limit your diet to five ingredients, you will lose weight no matter how much you eat because you’ll be so sick of the same foods!) So I ended up below my pre-pregnancy weight both times, but the weight that’s left has definitely shifted around. Very strange.

  27. Same as flea…am a naturally slender person, and could not keep weight on while breastfeeding, no matter what I ate. When I look at my post partum pictures I actually look pretty terrible and bony, though must say I enjoyed pigging out that first holiday season with my son! I’ll be interested to see if the same thing happens the second time around. Anyone find that breastfeeding took of the weight with #1 and did not with #2?

  28. I was like Anna and lost weight way too fast postpartum, from breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, and unintentionally skipping meals or else just not eating very well because I had some PPD/PPAnxiety. I was skipping breakfast because my mood was so awful; for a while the only way I could make sure I ate something for breakfast was if I made myself a protein shake. Then I would eat another half a bowl of Weetabix. Sigh, those early months were awful.Believe it or not there was a period early on when I subsisted on 2 packs of ramen a day. It’s so gross/bad now that I think about it 😛 I was down to my pre-preg weight 8 weeks after delivery. I was skinny but didn’t look good at all, and had to get some new clothes because my pre-preg clothes were too loose.
    Now at 16 months I’m still BF-ing (and no depression, and minimal anxiety, yay!) pretty much back to my normal pre-preg weight, give or take 2 lbs (I have no idea how much I gained during pregnancy, because here in England they don’t weigh you?!). Then again my “normal” weight fluctuates up to 4 lbs, depending on time of month and when I weigh myself during the day 😛

  29. I lost the baby weight in 4 months, and within a year I was ~8lbs & a size or two smaller than I was pre-baby. I breastfed the whole time but I’m not sure that had anything to do with it, it was just the damn hard work of half-marathon training.

  30. I lost all the baby weight (about 30 lbs) from my first within about 9 months, doing nothing for exercise except A LOT of walking (she slept in the stroller… not so much anywhere else). I was back in my “regular” pants by 6 weeks postpartum. She was born vaginally and was exclusively breastfed.I am now about 5 months postpartum with my second. Again, I had about 30 lbs of baby weight. She was a c-section and is also exclusively breastfed. She actually eats more than the first (she’s a bigger baby). I don’t walk nearly as much, but I do chase a toddler around. I am still about 8-10 lbs over my starting weight, and had to buy a bunch of new pants. I asked a couple of doctors about the slower weight loss, thinking maybe it was something about the C-section. They said that the C-section wasn’t the cause- it is pretty normal to lose the weight more slowly for baby #2.
    I know several people who never lost the last 5-10 lbs until after they weaned.
    One possible reason for weight gain could be that your baby is getting fewer calories from you as he/she starts eating more solids. If you haven’t decreased your calorie intake, you’ll gain weight.

  31. Gestational diabetes = best weight loss plan ever. Not easy to manage the blood sugars. The danger is afterwards when I can finally eat normally again. I have eight more weeks and the first thing I want to eat after delivery is a giant bowl of cereal. But with my first, I kept that last few pounds until after weaning. I was convinced it was just how my body was going to be, until I weaned and they finally left me.

  32. I have real issues keeping the weight ON as long as I am nursing. I am a skinny person to begin with but get to the more skeletal looking stage whilst nursing. It makes my soo hungry and I crave stuff I don’t usually eat. Ice cream, nuts, whipping cream topped lattes… Lots of calories in other words. Everyday if I would only have the time. I eat three largish meals a day and a few snacks, so there is definitely no dieting.I nursed my first born for just over two years and did gain a kilo or two when he stopped. Now I am nursing number two who is 16 months old and he is showing no inclination to give up boobie any time soon.

  33. I nursed for 2 years and was comfortably back in my pre-pregnancy clothes – except the boobs – by the time I went back to work at 6 months. I’m a natural A to B and I was bigger than that while nursing so it was awkward to find things that fit once my waist was its usual size again. But then, the ensuing winter with a baby getting sick over and over – I got down close to college weight while thinking I was eating everything in sight. (Much of that came back after Mr. C started seriously worrying about me and giving me extra food when I was thinking about other things – I’ve always forgotten to eat when stressed, so a sick nursling was kind of a perfect storm as far as weight loss.)All that said (and I’m grateful for it, I do agree it’s just genetic chance) I really didn’t feel like myself athletically until I weaned. I’m not sure you could tell much by looking, but something was still in nursing mode in my body even when it was only 5 minutes a day. Once I weaned Mouse I felt much more like “myself” though the actual awesome prepregnancy body will come back exactly next time I have 10 hours a week for ashtanga yoga. Sigh.

  34. I have always heard 9 months on, 9 months off is the average for most women.I also think it’s normal to lose, then plateau, then lose more, then plateau. I think it’s very related to how much the baby is eating, growth spurts and how much sleep you are getting.
    For me, it’s not even those last 5 pounds that bother me. It’s the fact that my body is simply a different shape. My pre-pregnancy clothes have never fit me quite right since having my first. I wish I had the money for a new wardrobe, but that’s not going to happen.
    I am really worried about what I’m going to do once I wean though. Cause I’ve spent the last 3.5 years indulging in my sweet-tooth’s greatest fantasies…

  35. I lost a ton of water weight right after my son’s birth (thanks preeclampsia), and was hoping that BF would help me keep it off…but I’ve slowly been adding lbs and am finally finding time to work out in the evenings.I think it depends on your supply, your intake and just how your body works, not how Jessica Alba’s body works 🙂

  36. So funny-I was just talking about this yesterday!I was the smallest that I have ever been at 14 months postpartum with my son-with not trying at all. I started to run with him around 11 months, but it seemed to just come off without trying.
    Now with my daughter who is 9 months old-I have been running 4 days a week (5-6 miles a time, with a half marathon in November) since 8 weeks postpartum (crazy yes, but my only alone time!!!). This time I have held onto about 10-15 pounds of it until 2 weeks ago when I had to take a break due to a foot injury. I haven’t ran in 2 weeks now AND I have lost 7 pounds. WHAT!!??? I think with the combination of lack of sleep and lots of exercise my body was being protective and thinking that I was trying to starve it. That is the only thing that I can think of.
    Funny how the body works.

  37. I exclusively breastfed twins. It took me a year to lose most (all but 5 pounds) of the weight. The twins are now 3.5 and I’m still hanging on to those five pounds plus another two or three more that have crept on somehow.I did not find that breastfeeding was some kind of magic weightloss activity; I think I would have lost the weight in the same way even if I hadn’t been breastfeeding as I was very active and eating healthfully and like many other commenters, I think it’s all about individual body types and metabolisms.
    I am now actively struggling with my body image for the first time ever in my life, and wow, does that suck. Why do I hang on to the notion that losing 10 pounds will make my life magically better? And why do I use my lack of control around food as a way to repeatedly beat myself up? Ugh.

  38. With baby one, I put on around 26lbs and I lost 22 of them after a week (must have been mainly water). The rest I lost by the end of the first month. Weight continued to drop off until the 6 month mark. In total I lost an extra 11 lbs, most of which I managed to keep off until I got pregnant with no. 2, 14 months later. I breastfed on demand, and boy was my boy demanding!! I also walked around 4 miles a day which helped with the weight loss.With baby two, I put on about 29 lbs. This time it took me 6 months to lose them all. I also breastfed on demand, but she wasn’t as ravenous as her brother. I walked the same amount daily. When I finally weaned at 2.5 years pp, I was 3 lbs above my second pregnancy starting weight.
    Just a note: almost all the women I know who have had more than one child have told me it took longer to lose the baby weight, with the subsequent babes, breastfeeding or not.

  39. I’m with @caramama- god help me when I wean, because I’m used to eating like a pig. I got pregnant with #2 before I weaned #1.To add more to my data point above… I am naturally of average build, but with a D cup. I’m something like a G cup now, while nursing.
    I also got a Mirena in recently. Like @SarcastiCarrie, I love some aspects (not thinking about birth control!) and hate others (who knew “a little spotting” = “bleeding all the damn time”?) But I haven’t noticed it doing anything to my weight. I am still slowly losing my last 10 lbs. Last time I got on the scale (the toddler likes to play on it, so I get on a lot) I was about a few tenths of a pound down for the month.

  40. I lost a lot of weight in the first 3 months, then stayed the same until about a year out (a little after she weaned), where I lost about 10 lbs, and then stayed the same until I got sucked into a dental work nightmare. (It’s fun being told “whatever you do, don’t bite down on this side. See you in 4 weeks!”)So, no Hollywood weight loss here. Still about 5-10 lbs above pre-pregnancy weight, but I don’t worry too much about what I eat.
    A couple of dietary sabotages when you have toddlers and small children in the house is that you get stuck eating what they eat, when they eat. My mom caught me finishing off what was on my daughter’s tray after I had eaten my dinner, and she asked me “why are you doing that?” Just something to think about, it’s hard to be conscious about what you’re eating when you’re trying to make sure everyone else is eating and especially if you’re home all day.

  41. With both kids I didn’t gain much weight during pregnancy. (15 Lbs with the first and about 10Lbs with the secnd) The weight came off within two weeks of giving birth. Though with my first I gained and then lost ten pounds while nursing him. (for two years) I think some of that had to do with the poor amount of sleep I had going. (he was a lousy sleeper) About the time I stopped nursing I got pregnant again and again the weight came off fast and I have lost another 15 pounds since then. (second baby is now nearly six months old) I don’t know if it is nursing. I do know I eat a lot more fiber/greens/legumes and less meat than I used to. Plus chasing a toddler with a minor death wish does a lot for cardio!

  42. With both pregnancies (25 lbs w/singleton; 38 lbs w/twins;) I was in my pre-pregnancy jeans within a week of giving birth. Both times I gained at least half of it back by 4-6 weeks postpartum. I finally lost the last 10 lbs from the first when I was pg with the second because I was so sick. Not sure what I’ll do this time around.I like the Elizabeths’ theory about holding on to that bit of extra weight for emergency purposes. Can I use that excuse the rest of my life?

  43. My data points:I lost all baby weight plus more not long after; maybe within the first 5 months. I also ate like a horse, and had a serious ice cream habit. I joked that she sucked the fat off of me. It was the skinniest I’ve ever been without situational depression causing it.
    Now I’m 42, she’s going on 4, and middle age weight plus seriously hard core winter are conspiring to make me chubby. I have gotten way more serious about what/how/when I eat, and will exercise when I find time, which isn’t often.
    Among my friends and stories I’ve heard, it’s common to lose weight without effort (even actively “fighting” it), but with the subsequent babies, you gain or don’t lose.
    I’m not having any more, so I won’t be testing that theory.

  44. @Mirena folks, interested if your OBs pushed the Mirena over the ParaGard? Mine strongly did, but based on my research I thought the ParaGard was better for me and I’m really happy with it. Mirena seems much more heavily marketed however…

  45. With kid #1, I didn’t lose a lot of weight in the first 6 weeks (I don’t own a scale, so the only time I have a hard number is when I go to the doctor’s office) and breastfed for 9 months. My memory is hazy, but my feeling is that I lost a lot (probably 10-15 lbs) when DS weaned himself. The loose skin didn’t really start tightening up until he was 1.5 years or so, or until I became pregnant with kid #2.With kid #2, I lost a little more weight in the first 6 weeks (I honestly don’t know whether this was a difference in expectations) but also weighed slightly less at the height of pregnancy. I exercised a lot less while pregnant, but started exercising (ie: walking, a little T-Tapp, a little mom exercise video with DD in carrier, emphasis on little, like 10-45 min total per day in chunks) sooner post-partum. I have struggled to continue exercising since I started full time work again 4 months ago, but I think I’m within 10-13 lbs from pre-preg weight, but certainly not shape. I expect I’ll shed some more weight when DD decides she’s had enough boob, but I’ll have to work harder at the shape part then. I don’t expect to fully snap back (if ever!) until she’s at least 2 yo.

  46. Data points:I was maybe 10-15 lbs higher than my ideal weight pre-pregnancy.Gained 35 lbs during pregnancy. BF exclusively until 6 mos, and still BF now at 20.5 mos.
    Lost all but about 2-3 lbs by 6-8 weeks.Last bit came of by 4-6 months.Now 5-10 lbs lower than my pre-pregnancy weight.
    I’ve eaten with abandon since I’ve been pregnant. Not gorging, but not limiting either. And oh, @cloud & @caramama, I hear you about the sweets. I’ve scaled back a fair amount knowing that I’ll probably be weaning sooner rather than later. But I still like having desert most nights (which I didn’t pre-preg…I’m more of a salty person), and I’ve been frequenting the vending machine at work a bit too much in the last few months.
    I do eat fairly healthy otherwise (very little processed food, lots of veggies etc.), and my exercise until recently consisted of walking the dog 1x per day and vacuuming 1x per week with DS on my back (still do that with him @25 lbs.). Now I’m going to the gym 2-3x per week, but that’s only been for the last month. I think I’m just lucky. And I guess genetics has something to do with it. But pre-pregnancy it was really hard for me to lose the last 10-15 lbs, and I definitely ate less than I do now. My sleep, for the record, has been crap, so not sure if/how that’s affected things. As others have mentioned, body has shifted. Luckily, the butt has almost returned to normal (i.e. not sagging so low). That was hard on the ego in those first months post partum. Butt was so flat and low. Probably took a good year to get back to pre-preg state (or pretty close).

  47. @Charisse- no I do not feel I was pushed either way. I sort of wish I had gone with the ParaGuard now, but chose not to because of reports of heavy periods and cramping. Given my natural tendencies in that direction, I chose the Mirena. In retrospect, maybe heavy periods would have been better than the non stop spotting? Hard to say. (And my doc tells me the spotting may taper off with time.)

  48. Data points:5’3″ @135# pre-baby #1
    Gained 28# during pregnancy
    EBF but periods resumed @ 4 months
    Down to 130# by 13 months (still BF) when I got pregnant again
    Gained 28# with pg. 2
    EBF & periods resumed @ 8 months
    Down to 127# by 12 months
    Still BF now — 17 months and 127#

  49. I lost the baby weight both times within a year or so, but I never lost the “baby shape.” My waist is thicker, my boobs are bigger and hang lower, my belly button looks wider – that’s my new silhouette that I must embrace!I was a short-term breastfeeder both times (no more than about 12 weeks), and I always had to supplement with formula, so you really can’t draw much of any conclusion about weight-loss there. However, I do know that breastfeeding caused uterine contractions (afterpains) for me that were super strong for the first week postpartum with my second baby, and I know this caused my uterus to start to shrink back down very quickly.
    Also, I wore Spanx to a party some friends threw for me 9 days after I had my second child, and people were amazed that I didn’t look like I had just had a baby – my tummy really looked flat. (Don’t hate on the Spanx. They give us a choice sometimes. I like choice.) Then next day I went to Tarjay and wasn’t wearing any special undergarments of course, and the cashier asked me “When are you due?” So I pointed to my newborn baby sleeping in her car seat there in my shopping cart and said “Over two weeks ago.” She replied, “Oh, well you look great!”

  50. This is my breast feeding weight loss story that makes everyone I know hate me for it. I am typically overweight. I weighed 175 lbs when getting pregnant w/ my first child (I’m 5’6″ so I was certainly overweight) and weighed 191 lbs at my nearly 9lb daughters birth. I exclusively breast fed her for 6 months (added solids and some formula after that) and at the 3-4 month mark, I was down to 145 lbs. And I ate whatever and whenever I felt like it. I tried to make sure I had plenty of protein, water and vegetables, but I also craved Oreo cookies and marshmallows during that time and had plenty of them as well.But when my daughter quit breast-feeding at 10 months, it was like my metabolism just SHUT DOWN. Even when I cut back the sugar stuff, I couldn’t keep the weight off and I was back in the 170s 2 years later when I got pregnant a few months ago. I’m hoping to BF longer this time around – I’ve learned from my first experience – but I truly believe that I was burning some serious calories while breastfeeding.

  51. My experience was a little backwards. I had a horrifyingly huge supply and breastfeeding was the magic bullet for me that people talk about. I lost everything and more within a couple months. BUT, I then spent the next year and a half getting used to eating pastries and cheese with abandon. So I slowly, nearly imperceptibly, started gaining again when my daughter started eating solids. It was disconcerting–I thought I had it made after I lost the pregnancy weight so quickly!

  52. I was 150 when I got pregnant. Gained 35 pounds during my pregnancy. Lost 35 pounds within the first few months. Dropped down another 20 pounds in the months after that. I nursed on demand for 5 months and then went back to work and started pumping. Shortly after that, I went back up to 150 which is where I remain having just ended 2x a day nursing at my son’s 2nd birthday.The thing that I attribute my dramatic weight loss to was not so much the nursing. It was the fact that I wasn’t eating anything because I was so whacked out on hormones and sleeplessness. When I finally went back to work I had time to eat again. I also have not exercised at all. So I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight but my body looks totally different post-pregnancy.

  53. I’d like to reiterate that even if you lose the baby weight, your body may not be the same shape and you may not fit into the clothes you had pre-pregnancy.Please do not let this be something you beat yourself up about. You’ve just had your organs shifted around, you’ve had an entire person INSIDE YOU. That is amazing. Your body is probably going to show that.

  54. Good lord — my experience was EXACTLY sfsaf’s — down to the EXACT weight. How weird. And yes, it was about stress, hormones, and sleeplessness. Except when I started pumping, I pretty much lost all milk supply. I continued pumping until daughter was 14 months old, but I was getting almost nothing. Daughter finally turned her nose up at my salty, bitter milk — which I’ve read can happen when your supply is so low. I attributed the low supply to stress, weight loss, and Wellbutrin. So what I’m trying to say is … I wouldn’t worry too much about losing weight while nursing, if nursing is important to you.

  55. I gained 40+ pounds during each pregnancy. I nursed my son for 4 months. I lost all the baby weight in that time. And I ate like a pig, but it was because of that crazy nursing hunger. I wanted FOOD!It took 6 months to lose all the weight I gained with my last pregnancy. I’m still nursing my 7-month old daughter. I plan on nursing for a long time with her because 1) this is my last baby 2) nursing & pumping at work are just so much easier with her than it was with my son and 3) I’m vain. There I said it! Its so easy for me to keep my weight down while nursing and I get to eat all time! I only half joke that I want to nurse her until she’s 10.
    Of course, my body is completely different. But I’m happy with it. I have the huge HUGE boobs from nursing (32H anyone? I’ll be happy when those are gone). My small waist is now gone, but so is the huge butt I used to have. I mean big ol butt. Clothes fit so much better now. And my hips are smaller. I used the Srinkx belt this last time and it really really worked.

  56. My son is now 26 months old I am juuuuuust about 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I gained 45 pounds. It took me over 2 years to lose 30 pounds even though I dieted and exercised like crazy. No hormone issues. Nothing out of whack. My body was just all about being fat. And even though I am now only 10 pounds away from where I was before I got pregnant, my body looks completely foreign to me.I think we breastfed for about 8 months total before the girls crapped out. So I don’t think that had anything to do with it for me.

  57. I lost 10 lbs my first tri, gained 25 in the next two. Lost 35 in the first month– some nursing, mainly pumping, eating mainly healthy, with a few too many snacks. (I figured, I “needed” the cookies for fuel :)!)Got back in my pants about 6 weeks after giving birth– cause my weight might have been lower, but my gut was bigger. Weigh 20 lbs less than I did when I got pregnant, but still wear the same size. Still overweight though.

  58. It’s been a while since I posted ladies, I’ve missed it. Reading today’s post has helped me understand what happened to me 28 years ago. I gained 25 lbs with both kids. I lost 20 lbs at birth with both kids. With taller my second, I kept loosing. I lost about 10 more lbs during his 1st yr of life. Which at the time I thought was great, I didn’t give it a second thought. For me I was skinny and figured pregnancy agreed with me and benefited me.Now as I’m reading this you guys keep mentioning sleep deprivation and I had an aha!
    I never really slept during the 1st yr of taller’s life, not really. Taller slept for 20 minutes at a time for 10 looong months. That was due to health issues that required we address every sound to make sure he was breathing. He would wake, I would go in to make sure he was okay, that would disturb his sleep and I would have to begin again. This went on and on.
    Even after that had been resolved I was too scared to let him find his own sleep pattern so I never slept more than 20-30 minutes at a stretch. Now I see how I lost weight.
    As always another mystery solved on Ask Moxie! Thanks ladies!

  59. Two babies, two nurslings, similar experiences:When into pregnancy overweight for my height. Gained 30-35 pounds during pregnancy. Within the first 6 weeks of nursing about 10-15 pounds just melted away. Another 10 slowly worked off over the next five months. The last 10 did not budge, no matter how honest my diet, unless I was engaged in some sort of exercise routine (working out for 2-3 times a week in half hour sessions, more strength building than actual cardio).
    For what it is worth, this was exactly like my OB preached it to me that it would be.

  60. @Cloud, @Charisse – My OB didn’t say anything about the Mirena. I liked the idea of no periods (with PCOS, Lybrel, pregnancy and bf, I hadn’t had one in a long time and had NO desire to go back). BUT, I spot all the time. I’ve had it for over 13 months. Every single day I spot. Although, since I weaned, I have had a few days with no spotting at all. Maybe 1 of 4 days I don’t spot. Maybe. That would be me being generous to the Mirena. I was so looking forward to my lactational amennorhea that this was quite a bummer. I even had an ultrasound to confirm correct placement (and it is correct). It does nto appear to be irritating my cervix. So, we’re looking for something hormonal next. I probably should have gone for the Paraguard. Hindsight and whatnot.

  61. My data point: I gained 4-5 lbs while trying to get pregnant, then gained 40 lbs with pregnancy. I EBF’d until 13 mos (DS started solids at 5.5 months). The first 20 lbs I peed and sweated out in the first two to three weeks. After that I lost maybe 5 until 3 months postpartum, at which point I did Weight Watchers and started running again. Weight Watchers for breastfeeding moms is basically 2,000 cal a day– wouldn’t be a diet if you weren’t breastfeeding, so it feels like you get to eat a lot, plus they encourage extra dairy and vegetable intake. By the time my son was 6 mos. I had lost a good 15 lbs on WW and I was down to my weight when I got pregnant (which was still about 4-5 lbs over where I wanted to be). After that nothing budged until I stopped nursing at 13 mos, at which point 10 lbs just melted away and I wound up at a lower weight than when I started and have more or less maintained it (w/ healthy eating and exercise).I know a couple of overweight moms who breastfed a ton and didn’t lose an ounce. I really don’t think breastfeeding alone works because b’fing also makes you more hungry– for a lot of us, you just eat more to compensate for the calories the baby is eating. The thing that breastfeeding does give you a huge advantage in calorie burning–it’s equivalent to running 5 mi. as long as the baby is only on breast milk, less as solids start to take over. So if you can limit yourself to c. 2000 (healthy well balanced) calories a day (which is basically normal pre-preg intake), b’fing can make things go a lot faster.

  62. With both of my babies, I had an initial weight loss of 20-30ish pounds after delivery, but then it just crept back on! I can’t EBF due to low supply, but I nurse 8 times a day on average, and he gets 60-70% of his milk from me. I am hungry all the time, and definitely eat, but I certainly do not feel like my metabolism is running any higher while BFing. I steadily GAIN weight the longer I nurse. This happened with my first daughter too. Just plain crummy. I am already on thyroid after my first birth, so low thyroid isn’t it…I usually really enjoy a good mystery, but let me tell you…not this one!

  63. I nursed my little one exclusively for about 5 months, then she started on solids and gradually lost interest in nursing – preferred the sippy cup (never did take a bottle, the little imp). Done nursing by just after her first birthday.Data points: Gained 40 pounds pregnant, had 10 pound baby, was back to before-preg weight after about 4 months, then dipped below for a few months (my kid was huge – and hungry!), and now that’s she’s 2 1/2 I’m about where I was before pregnant – maybe just a little saggier. Oh – and I’m on my 3rd different set of bras since baby – these boobs are all OVER the place!
    My 2 cents – its genetics. Nursing helps, and walking a ton was probably a big part of my fast weight loss, but some people just bounce back faster. I think its the luck of the draw.

  64. I gained between 25 and 30 pounds for both pregnancies (thanks extended morning sickness!) I lost around 15 by 3 months pp, another 5 or so 6 months pp, the rest of it was gone by 9 months pp and then I went down a couple more pounds after that. I didn’t watch what I ate at all and ate vast quantities in the 5-7 month stretch.

  65. I’m like Moxie suggested – my body always held on to 5-10 extra pounds until I weaned. I gained 40, 45, 35 lbs with each of my three pregnancies and I’m naturally pretty thin. I always lost about 5 lbs in the week or two after weaning (12-14 months each). After weaning my third, I was about 8 lbs above pre-pregnancy (the first pregnancy). So I started running again (after 7 years of body-sharing) and lost about 5 more lbs, then stabilized. I’m never going to see 124 lbs again, but I look good! (sucking stomach in)

  66. @charisse…I’ll tell you the truth, she didn’t really mention the Paragard, and I had sort of leaned toward the Mirena from my own research, so it didn’t come up. I said “no mini-pill”, she said, “what about a Mirena?”, I said, let’s do it. That was more or less how it went.

  67. I was overweight when I got pregnant and only gained (a very healthy) 17lbs. I was 5lbs BELOW my pre pregnancy weight at 8 weeks post. Now after being mom to a high needs, nurse around the clock 6 month old I’m 20lbs below my pre pregnancy weight. Motherhood has been the best diet ever!

  68. My experiences are more in the middle. I gained about 30 lbs with my first pregnancy and felt like the weight just melted off for the first three months of EBF. (Not that all of it dropped off, just that I was steadily losing weight – probably twenty pounds that summer.) I was starving while initially BF and ate alot and never worried about losing weight. I only exercised via activities with the baby (ie, walking to soothe). I didn’t look skinny though, I had a belly and scary-huge boobs, had to buy new pants, etc. But I would say by around 9-12 months I had lost all but the last 5 pounds, and I had no intention of losing it since I’d been too skinny before pregnancy. I also gained weight when I weaned and then lost it again fairly quickly (but this time through some effort – more walking with a toddler on my back and by cutting back on fatty stuff). When I got pregnant again (DS was 15 months old), I was happily 5 lbs over my last pregnancy weight. My body didn’t look the “same” as before, though – but I didn’t care, either.I wonder if there’s any correlation between women who lost weight quickly/easily while BF and women who had delayed return of periods due to BF.

  69. I was about 10 pounds overweight when I got pregnant. I gained about 30 pounds during pregnancy. Baby was 8 and a half pounds at birth, as we nursed until he was 21 months old. I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight when my son was about 9 months old. I lost another 10 pounds by the time he turned one, and was feeling quite pleased with myself. I was still eating what I wanted (but heathily) and active but not exercising.However, I then managed to gain 20 pounds in the next 6 months. I’ve since started actively exercising and counting calories, but it is slow to drop the weight. Figuring out a way to exercise and work full time and be a parent is hard for me. I miss the metabolism I had in my 20s!

  70. In my experience NONE of my weight moved from number 1 until after I STOPPED breastfeeding. I mean, I dropped 17 lbs when she came out and not a single thing for 10 months. Then 6 months after I stopped feeding I was back to normal (ish). It’s a family trait. I wish my mum had told me while I was pregnant then I wouldn’t have piled on the weight!Having said that, I just had number 2 3 weeks ago and I piled the weight on again. And am still eating. I like the idea of eating whenever you want as long as it’s healthy and real and only until full. Maybe I should get rid of the chocolate I bought today?

  71. Those early weeks/months are a blur, but I lost all my pregnancy weight, plus another 15 within the first 2-3 months (I honestly don’t remember, but it seemed really, really fast to me). I was significantly overweight to start with, and had twins, so YMMV. I’ve gained about 20 back in the last 2.5 years and have lost 10 recently while trying to take better care of myself.I think when the girls were nursing, I was just so BUSY, either taking care of them or trying to get sleep, that I didn’t eat much. I lived on wheat thins for awhile, because I craved them and they tasted so good. We did our best to feed ourselves, but most of our energy went toward the babies.

  72. I am just weird. I lost about 5 pound initially, and then nursed for 2 years, during which my weight stayed constant. After I weaned, I still stayed constant. And then I got pregnant and lost 20 pounds in the first trimester – so I was back to my pre-baby weight. Now I am in the same situation again, constant weight, nursing for a year now.Clearly I need to get pregnant again to lose that weight…but sigh.

  73. I am hypothyroid, and naturally thin. I was about 5 lbs over my ideal weight when I got pregnant the first time (about 2 weeks after starting thyroid meds). Between the new meds, morning sickness, and lots of exercise, I only gained about 25 lbs during pregnancy. I literally sweated most of it off during my 45 hour labor, and was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans after 2 weeks. I continued to lose while breastfeeding, got about 5 lbs below my ideal weight and really had to struggle to keep healthy. We stopped BFing at 15 months, and I gained back those 5 lbs fairly quickly.

  74. I have a similar story to Mama Fuss above.I lost weight effortlessly while breastfeeding. And I pretty much ate like a pig. LOTS of chocolate. (As well as lots of healthy stuff).
    I never tried to lose weight, and normally, although I’m a healthy weight, I’m prone to putting on weight rather than being on the skinny side. For interest’s sake I didn’t put on a whole lot of weight during pregnancy as had all-day-sickness for about 6 months.
    I know for sure that breastfeeding helped the weight literally fall off as when my baby was 4 1/2 months I travelled home to Australia (we live in the Caribbean) and stayed in my parent’s house with my daughter in the room with me. I guess sharing a room and the long trip, being away from Dad, etc, meant she started waking during the night for voracious feeds which she had stopped several weeks earlier. During that 4 week trip I lost a further 5 kgs (about 10lbs). And I promise, I was indulging in all the treats I miss when I’m away from home!
    My daughter is now a year old and I’ve been right on my pre-pregnancy weight since about 4 months post-partum. I’m still feeding her twice a day and I’m definitely feeling a little, if not heavier, not as toned as when I was feeding more often.
    I’ve heard and read a lot that people hold onto the pregnancy weight until they finish breatfeeding, but that is almost the opposite case fro me. I feel I’m on the verge of putting on weight now we’re finishing up. I have to really make an effort now to put some exercise into my day.
    Also, if anyone who has always been frustrated by having big boobs might be happy to know you may go down a size when you finish feeding. I’m VERY happy about that!

  75. With my first one, I BF for a year and lost a ton of weight (steadily), was back in my “fat” pre-pregnancy jeans two weeks later and by the time he was weaned at exactly 12 months, I was 5 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. Pregnant again three months later, BF my daughter for a full year and ended up 10 pounds below original pre-pregnancy weight. Had a surprise pregnancy three months later and now three months postpartum, am expecting much of the same.After my middle child weaned, I was the thinnest I had been since high school. We went on a beach vacation and my husband couldn’t stop gushing about how great I looked in a bikini. I was thrilled.
    To be more annoying, I didn’t work out a day after having either of the kids, but did walk a lot just because we live in the city and walk everywhere. Was off dairy with both of them for nine months, so wasn’t eating pizza, ice cream, etc. which I think made a difference.
    Hoping this time goes as smoothly, although this babe doesn’t appear to have a dairy insensitivity, so that makes it hard to stay away from the pizza and the ice cream.

  76. Thanks everyone for the wonderful feedback. I waited until everyone in the house was asleep so I could sit and read the responses and not be bothered. What a treat!I gained roughly 40 pounds with all three of my children, give or take 5 pounds. With #1 I lost it all at 12 weeks. Breast fed him for 12 weeks.
    #2 I gained 40 pounds but was given so much IV fluid that I left the hospital actually weighing more than when I went in to give birth. I was so swollen three days after coming home with baby that I actually went to the ER to have my feet/ankles checked out. I never lost the last 20 pounds from #2. I bf #2 for 8 weeks. He had colic, reflux, screamed 24/7 and had to ultimately be fed Alimentum.
    Now here I am with #3. When I got pregnant with #3 I has not lost all the weight from #2. Again, I was pumped full of fluids for a c-section. I bloated. In the first two weeks I lost 20 pounds, much of it water weight. Here I am 9 months later and I am still 30 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. Still bf at 9 months.
    It’s tough to swallow that because I can honestly say I am not over eating, not *that* sleep deprived, and I am fairly active (meaning I don’t sit on my butt all day). I walk with the 2 year old and baby to the park, to the store, around the block, I clean, I chase the kids around the house, I carry the baby everywhere (20 pounds!), I carried the toddler everywhere before the baby came.
    I am going to make an appt to have my thyroid tested. I’ll also request that my vitamin d levels be tested, although I am taking a dropper of vitamin d each day. I don’t think I am depressed. Watching my two smaller children all day can be boring and monotonous but it doesn’t make me depressed. I do sleep, waking once a night to nurse.
    There is just so much pain when I see other moms just melt the baby weight away and fit back into their smaller clothes and here I am *still* as big as I was 5, 6, 7 months ago. It is just not coming off. I snack on carrots, I don’t eat junk, I cook and meal plan with a my children’s nutrition in mind. I don’t look to add any addition breast feeding calories, I just eat normal, healthy, balanced meals.
    Genetics might be to blame, although my mother and her sisters are all naturally thin. I was thin up until my 2nd pregnancy at which time I also entered my 30’s. Could a shift in my metabolism due to age be the culprit? I don’t expect the weight to just *POOF* and be gone, but 9 months after the fact I feel like a failure. Like I am not that mom on the sofa with a soda and donut. I am the mom running after her 2 year old with her baby in a carrier while snacking on green tea and an apple.
    Reading what other moms have experienced was very comforting. I’m so glad so many women have had good experiences with pregnancy weight loss, and I am also glad I am not alone in my experience.
    Thanks you Moxie, I appreciate you posting my frustration and gathering feedback! Now off to bed to get that precious sleep.
    Heather

  77. About 10 lbs overweight when became pregnant – gained about 18 and slowly lost to be back at 8-10 lbs overweight by one year.I found I lost most of my weight at around 15-18 mos. When my son started walking, and was heavier – still walked a lot in a sling. Had a huge growth spurt at about 18 when he ramped up nursing from a pretty constant 2 X per day to 5 or 6 for about 3 weeks.
    i started gaining weight again – imperceptably – around 2 years, although i was still breastfeeding. I realized that my excercising had all but ceased – with this newly independent two year old who now wanted to “walk” everywhere, I was now strolling at a bug’s pace down two blocks in an hour rather than making it down to the other end of main street and back with kid on back or in stroller. Finally weaned at 2.5 and joined a gym and the pounds melted away, it was the easiest 10 lbs I’ve lost in my life – then I broke my foot and was fearing for my waist line. But it’s been 2+ weeks and I think the hormone shift post-BFing is really been beneficial…

  78. I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancies. Breastfed each child for 2.5 years. Lost 10 lbs in first months after birth. Lost about 15 pounds over the course of the first year of their lives. The last 15 never came off until after I stopped breastfeeding. My experience is that breastfeeding did not contribute to weight loss and I held on to weight, in fact, as a result from breastfeeding. It bothered me during my first preg., because I was exercising, eating healthily, and still had a big belly and bum. With my second, I just chilled out and enjoyed the fact that my body was holding onto weight, because she NEEDED it.A side note about extended breastfeeding…I had horrid periods and mood swings after my kids turned 18 months. My doctor attributed it to the prolactin hormone, which can also affect weight-loss (or lack thereof). I agree that a hormone check is never a bad idea. Those beautiful body chemicals are responsible for so many goings on within.

  79. Definitely person-dependent. I got lucky.I was responsible– ate well and exercised during pregnancy, and was lucky enough not to be too sick to manage that. I gained 26 pounds. I give myself some credit for at least trying, but I know a lot of that is genetics and luck.
    By 1 week postpartum, I was down 20 pounds. Crazy. By 4 weeks, the other 6 had come off. I do credit breastfeeding! I’m certain it helped. It was a good 6 months, though, before I had any semblance of shape back. I was in maternity pants for a long time postpartum.
    I had gained nearly 10 pounds BEFORE I got pregnant, though, and I held onto those until I quit breastfeeding. About that time I started reading up on HFCS, (Michael Pollan, anyone?) and cut out all soda, all HFCS, and most artificial ingredients from my diet. Lost 7 pounds without otherwise trying. Wow. Started exercising to manage some serious joint problems, and I’m down the other three.
    I hear it’s a lot harder after #2, though. I don’t expect (though I can hope, right?) to get so lucky next time (which hopefully isn’t too far in the future. #1 is 2 1/2 years old now.)

  80. I nursed for 5 months and while I lost weight quickly at first, the remaining 5-8 lbs stubbornly stayed on. Once I stopped nursing (which I did cold turkey and I do NOT recommend-daughter was fine but my boobs, another story) I felt like I was more in control of my life and therefore made the conscious decisions to take care of myself. While I was still nursing, I was eating really well 80% of the time but eating crap the other 20% and when you are trying to lose weight, stubborn baby weight no less, there isn’t a lot of wriggle room for even 20%.After having my daughter and nursing, I have since scoffed at any celebrity that says they lost it all by nursing. It is such bullshit. They lose it quickly b/cause they have an army, or at least one other person, caring for their kid and taking care of the messy details of life that don’t magically stop when you have a newborn at home. THAT, my friends, is the true secret of weight loss.

  81. I gained 10kg during my pregnancy. One week after the birth of my son, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight; a fortnight after that, when I returned for the final post-C-section evaluation, I had lost a decade’s worth of weight gain, almost 14kg, thanks (?) to breastfeeding every 2 hours ON THE HOUR, and yes, we actually DID set a clock by him 😉

  82. My baby is 10.5 months old (still nursing) and JUST TODAY I was able to (somewhat comfortably) get into a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans. I’ve noticed the weight loss picking up slightly the past 2-3 months. I still have about 5 lbs to go. If I remember correctly with baby number one, I never felt like I was back to my “normal” body until he was almost 18 months (nursed until 16 months).I agree, hollywood moms lose it so fast because they have personal chefs and night nannies and so on.

  83. I gained 35-40 lbs while pregnant with the first two … probably more like 45 with the 3rd (I stopped getting on the scale with about 2 weeks to go!).With the 1st 2, I lost all the weight plus about 5 lbs by 8 months post partum, approximately when I weaned. I then promptly gained the 5 lbs back as I had been enjoying the extra calories I used from nursing! That seems to be normal for me … lose pregnancy weight plus a little more, then gain back the extra when I wean.
    With the third … I am now 2 months post partum and have lost 28 lbs. I am trying to lose another 7 by April 3 when I have to be a bridesmaid for my sister. 🙂 Then I would like to eventually lose another 10, but I’m assuming it will take awhile.

  84. I started out slightly overweight when I got pregnant with BG. I lost 5#, then gained 17#. I was in my regular clothes a week after giving birth (also back down to lowest first trimester weight – Yay!). I EBF’d for the first 3 mos, then went to work and started pumping. I kept the pumping up for 4.5 months and then stopped – I don’t get a ton of milk out and it wasn’t worth the effort, although I continued morning/evening feedings. I then gained 7 lbs – I totally didn’t adjust my calorie intake. BG is now 13 mos, and I am 10 wks with #2, and have lost 4#. I know better this time to watch what I am eating, especially when I start to wean and when #2 starts eating solids. Also I am hoping to carry high again – I could barely eat for one when I was pregnant with BG, let alone for two!

  85. I am curious about this whole subject- I am 26 weeks with my second kid. My stats from the first one=I started out at 5’2 and 98-100 pounds. I had been at that weight for something like 12 years, and though I was TECHNICALLY underweight, I was comfortable there- not sluggish and very healthy and active.
    I gained 40 pounds while pregnant. My OBGYN is this awesome cheerleader of a Dr, and she was just so! happy! when I gained weight.
    After my daughter was born, I literally walked out of the hospital at 115. She was an almost 9 pound baby, but still, t hat must’ve been a whole lot of water weight.
    I breastfed for two years, and the least that I weighed was 110- and I ended up being more along the lines of 120, which is quite frankly more attractive than 100 pounds or less.
    So that brings us to this one- morning sickness made me lose 12 pounds. At 26 weeks I am only 3 pounds heavier than my starting weight. I try not to worry, but I wonder, is this going to be a struggle? Weight isn’t something that I have had to fight or think about really, and frankly I don’t want to start with that.

  86. I’m sure people in the celebrity spotlight may bend the truth about how they lose their baby-weight, but as I and many other women on here have attested, some of us DO have the “bounce-back-quickly” gene. Not only did I lose all the weight plus more within a matter of months, but my shape hasn’t been changed by having a baby.I know I’m lucky as I didn’t try to lose weight at any point. Just wanted to say that is DOES happen to some women.

  87. If you are on any kind of hormonal birth control, I’d look at that, too. I gained while BF on hormonal birth control, but lost while BF without BC. Just another angle.

  88. I’m still trying to lose the last 5 pounds of the 65 (yep, 65) I gained while pregnant. I have to work my ass off. I have 2 trainers – a crossfit trainer that I work out with twice a week and a pilates/running trainer that I work out with twice a week and then I work out on my own 2 other days with one day off. I had a constant case of thrush (so did my DS), my supply was shit and pumping was extremely painful so I stopped after 2 months. I also had PPD and at a little over a year old, my DS is still not sleeping through the night. Some days my food is great and somedays it’s downright awful. I try to do the best I can. I work 40 hours a week and commute 12 hours a week so this is the best I can do for now. I live in Los Angeles and see these starlets first hand. It’s pretty sickening. I really think it has a lot to do with genetics and having help so you can sleep, exercise, etc. like other posters have said. It’s a real battle for me.

  89. I’m metabolically skinny with floppy, hyper-mobile joints so I don’t tolerate extra weight very well.As it happens I had hyper-emesis all during the pregnancy, and a very bad bad spell landed me in hospital at 26 weeks for re-hydrating. Consequently I actually weighed less, excluding the baby and the fluids for the baby, than before I became pregnant. I gained enough for my passenger but I had no fat reserves.
    I still listed sideways and needed a giant tubi-grip knitted support bandage to stay upright after 20 weeks. That’s trivia, sorry.
    I breast-fed successfully after a
    slow start and rapidly gained 10 lbs by cravings for nuts and sugar and oils in the worst way.And I ate and ate them.
    That went on until my baby was four months,and my appetite decreased and then I lost the ten pounds by 9-10 months. My daughter was 50th centile at birth to nearly the 99th in her first year and fed a lot. I soon looked haggard according to my good friends. And complete strangers.
    So I ate a lot extra until she stopped breast-feeding abruptly at 16.5 months and I was the same weight as before I became pregnant and my appetite decreased from when I was nursing. I didn’t get my period back until 18 months after the birth.
    I found that yes, I did burn lots of extra calories feeding. I had to supplement after nine months and can now eat a lot less to maintain the same weight as when I was nursing.

  90. I think I must be completely abnormal. I didn’t even get the hang of breastfeeding for a good two months after baby boy was born, and he stopped nursing altogether about a month ago (I actually didn’t take note of the day because I thought it was a fluke; by the time I realized he hadn’t nursed in a week, I’d forgotten which day he’d really stopped!).I didn’t weigh all that much to begin with, didn’t put on all that much during pregnancy – I know, you all hate me, but I have a lot of problems putting on weight (“waa waa, shut up skinny girl!” I can hear you saying it!).
    So when I finally did nurse “for real” (without nipple shield), the weight came off fast and furious. I was starving all the time, and ate more than when I was pregnant (lost my appetite a lot while pregnant) and STILL lost weight.
    Everyone is different, and every pregnancy is different, and every stage of life is different. I like Moxie’s comment about “go to the doctor” because hormones can seriously mess with your metabolism and you’d never know that was the reason unless you had the blood tests to show that’s what was going on.

  91. I lost most of the baby weight quickly while breastfeeding, but then something with my hormones (or thyroid, possibly?) shifted when my daughter was close to a year, and although I was still nursing her a lot, I started *gaining* weight and ended up weighing almost as much as I did 9 months pregnant, for over 2 years before I STRUGGLED to lose 25 lbs.It is my hypothesis that many new moms, nursing or not, have wonky thyroids. Those who are hyperthyroid are the ones where the weight just falls miraculously off. Those with hypothyroid don’t lose weight no matter what they are doing. I think a more normal pattern is to lose weight at a steady but nonalarming pace while breastfeeding; it’s not supposed to all fall off at once unless you really didn’t gain much! Nor are you supposed to inexplicably gain weight while bf, but this totally happens. In my case it was NOT diet-related.
    Thyroid issues also can cause major depression and anxiety which (again, in my humble anecdotally-based opinion) may account for some cases of PPD/PPA.

  92. I took about 3 months to lose my baby weight (I’d put on 10 or 12 kg in pregnancy – not sure exactly, I stopped weighing myself after 10), but then kept losing weight while I fed my son. I was thinnest when he was about 9 months old when he was really big and active but still not eating a huge amount of solid food. As he ate more food and nursed less I gained weight again, until he was weaned completely and then my metabolism pretty much went back to normal.To be honest, even though it was great to lose weight easily and eat lots of chocolate, I looked pretty terrible – I was back to what I weighed as a 15 year old but looked haggard.

  93. My story’s more about blood sugar. I’m tall and really skinny and have always had to be super careful about eating any sugar. As soon as I got pregnant, I could eat anything… and did, all the way through nursing. I had to eat several times in the middle of the night for months after my baby arrived. By the time he was 1, the nursing started to slow down and my blood sugar started to go wonky again so now I’m watching it. He’s almost weaned and now I’m trying to wean myself off baked goods;)My weight has always been super stable. I’m about 5 lbs less than my pre-baby work-out weight (muscle weighs more).

  94. Awesome topic, as usual. I was about 35 lbs overweight when I got pregnant, and gained another 35, which included HUGE amounts of water. When I left the hospital, I lost about 12 of that but was still retaining a *ton* of water.We are lucky enough to be EBF, and wonder of wonders, the weight started falling off. I was back in my regular pants at about 3 months (probably could have tried them sooner but didn’t want to face disappointment).
    However, I’m still about 5 lbs over my prepg weight, and would love to take advantage of this nursing calorie burning frenzy so I keep thinking I should start Weight Watchers but then I get distracted by all sorts of crap food. Sigh. Baby is going to start solids soon, though, so I need to get going on that before I miss my window.
    It’s also winter in Seattle so the weather isn’t reliably nice enough to walk outside
    🙁

  95. I’ve got a pretty small frame. I found that while breastfeeding (pump only, unfortunately) I could not lose the last 5-7 pounds no matter WHAT I did — and I really did exercise and watch my diet. I think it was my body’s way of making sure my baby and I would be OK if there were a famine, or something. Once I stopped pumping, the rest disappeared. Flabbier around the middle, definitely, but my weight is about the same as pre-preg.I think Moxie’s right that you should have your thyroid checked, though — I have several friends who have thyroid issues that first appeared after they gave birth.

  96. No time to read other responses. Sorry if repeating…I EBFed my twins for 7 months and then continued breastfeeding until they weaned at 18 months. And I NEVER lost one pound. I tried Weight Watchers for nursing mothers. I tried exercise. I was eating healthy just as I had eaten while pregnant. And I never. lost. a. pound. So frustrating!
    Then, when the girls weaned…voila!! I lost 35 pounds in six weeks. I am not exaggerating. I know some of that must have been water weight, but it had to be hormonal to be that fast. My appetite dropped off some, too, but my OB explained that some women RETAIN weight while nursing rather than losing it. Lucky me. Wish someone had told me that was possible so I wouldn’t have felt like such a failure and a freak.
    I am down below pre-pregnancy weight now and it required no work on my part. YMMV, but I hope it is easy for you, too.

  97. Very interesting and useful comments. This blog is very informative, descriptive and contains useful tips that I would recommend to other bloggers and people searching for useful weight-loss and health related information. My blog is related to yours and I have bookmarked your blog and would be referring back to it to check up on your new posts. I hope you keep on posting good information. Regards. Michelle.

  98. During my first pregnancy, I gained 40 pounds and lost all but 5 within two years. My daughter and I had trouble with nursing. We caught on after a few weeks, but then she called it quits after only six months. Even with healthy eating and pilates three times a week, I couldn’t lose that last 5 pounds.When my daughter was six, I became pregnant for a second time. My son started nursing the second after he was born and, if given the choice, would never stop. His sucking power is so great that I think he could draw milk from a rock. This time, I’ve dropped 7 pounds below pre-pregnancy weight by his 11 month b’day. I’m quickly approaching my college weight.
    I just turned 40, and it’s my second child, but in my experience, it’s not my age or the number of pregnancies, it’s healthy diet and the baby’s power to suck that matters with my weight loss. Maybe it’s a boy baby thing? He’s the size of a 24-month baby at 11 months.

  99. good to see you are blogging again. I enjoyed the full article and hope that maybe you can get permission to republish it in full after some time has elapsed – it deserves wider exposure online than it might get behind the log in.

  100. Many moms are becoming body conscious. They do whatever they can to bring back the original figure that they have before. Those non-stop tv advertisement about weight loss is one factor that influenced the moms to try several kind of workouts or medication just to stay fit.

  101. honestly hun a 14 year old shouldn’t be taikng diet pills. All they are going to do is mess with your heart and make you pee a lot. If you want to keep up the weight loss or even maintain and tone the best thing to do is drink plenty of water, the more you drink the more your body pushes out, and watch the sugar and certain carbs. Try working with resistance bands and power walking. Don’t waste your health or money on silly pills that really don’t work in the long run.

  102. I think I was just lucky in that my weight just plummeted when I was breastfeeding. I had only put on about 8 maybe 9kg during pregnancy and lost 20kg when breastfeeding (including what i’d put on). DS wasn’t big but was back to pre pregnancy weight within weeks and believe me I was eating so much it wasn’t funny. Good food but lots and lots of biccies etc too. However we had a horrific time trying to get breast feeding established – DS wouldn’t feed milk went away etc etc – so I reckonmy body had to word super hard to produce milk hence the weight loss. I went back down to the weight I had been when I was about 23. Unfortunately once I stopped at 18 months bit by bit those damn kilos crept back on. At pre pregnancy weight now but would be happy to lose 5-6 kg.

  103. Its definitely possible. Ive lost 30+kgs whilst breastfeeding. You need to eat healthy, watch your portion sizes, keep well hydrated. Wear a good bra, and exercise after you have breastfed, this helps preventing mastitis, and to be honest its a heap more comfortable. imo I would definitely avoid any fad diets, the shake ones, and any change in diet that is not focused on delivering you healthy, well rounded meals.

  104. As a fitness professional and breastfeeding mother, I am still trying to get my behavior to match my knowledge, lol! I have read that 70-80% of the weight loss equation is diet, so that is where I should be putting most of my efforts, right? But no….I would rather spend 1.5 hours in the gym or train for a marathon to get the weight off. I am about 4 days away from completing my 1st full marathon and I will have trained 16 weeks for it. Sadly, I didn’t lose 1 pound!!! I have accepted the reality that I have to change my eating habits, especially since I am not 25 anymore 🙂 . Even with exclusive breastfeeding for 1 year AND consistent exercise, I have never dropped weight easily, and I know the fact that I have not focused on eating better is to blame. My daughter recently stopped nursing at 2.5 and I am sure that my body is still adjusting, and if anything, I probably didn’t adjust my eating to account for the fact that I am no longer breastfeeeding.

  105. I am pumping and exclusively breastfeeding (I pump around 12 ounces a day, plus exclusively nurse…he’s only had 3 bottles). I am up to running 20+ miles a week and working out 6 days a week, and no problems so far. However, I do eat 5-6 times a day (I am really hungry!!!!) and I drink water like you would not believe. When he wakes to eat, I try to chug at least 6-8 ounces myself….and sometimes I can’t stop, I am sooooo thirsty!

    This is great to share with people though, so they aren’t afraid to get out there.

    One thing a friend told me was that if you do notice a bit of a drop (even though you think you are eating andr rinking enough)….add healthy fats and drink more water. She said she added avocado or chia seeds to EVERYTHING. =)

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