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Breastfeeding and weight gain / not losing weight

(26 Posts)
peppapighastakenovermylife Tue 07-Jul-09 19:45:24

I know this has been done before but I'm miserable and really need some moral support / similar tales of woe to cheer me up grin

Breastfeeding makes me gain weight. It is mis sold lol. I think the hormones itself make me gain weight, the sleep deprivation makes me eat more and I am just hungrier when breastfeeding. Saying that, even when I try and lose the weight it just does not budge.

With both babies I had hyperemesis and was lighter than when I got pregnant after giving birth. Then...bang, 6 weeks and I am two stone heavier. At first I cant stop eating stodge - its a complete compulsion, but even when I tone that down it still goes on. I know from last time it came off when I stopped feeding but I dont want to stop for a while yet.

DD is ten months old now and I kind of feel like I have lost the 'just had a baby' excuse. Colleagues of mine with younger babies (formula fed) are pretty much back to normal. I am starting a new job next month and my lovely new colleague has a six month old - stopped breastfeeding and back in her clothes etc. People have started making comments too - some snide, some well meaning...some I cant quite decided eg a pointed 'It took me ages to lose the baby weight the second time too'.

None of my clothes fit me and I have at least 2.5 stone to lose before I am back to anywhere near where I should be. Really another stone needs to come off after that.

Dont get me wrong - the benefits far outweigh the weight gain and I wouldnt stop breastfeeding DD now because of it. I know how lucky we have been to find it easy and enjoyable. I love her and the bond we have but feel so uncomfortable. I kind of want to wear a sign explaining BF makes me gain weight lol

Anyone else as miserable as me? Surely no one quite so self indulgent and waffly though wink

jocar2007 Tue 07-Jul-09 22:20:03

I don't know whether it made me gain weight, but I certainly haven't lost any through BF (very small baby who doesn't seem to eat much!) and yes, I am thoroughly miserable about it. My sister actually loses loads when she gives up - I'm hoping I'll be the same.

I know what you mean about feeling self indulgent! You're just supposed to suck it up without complaint because it's best for the baby. Don't get me wrong - it is and I wouldn't not do it just because I'm fat, but it's tough when people expect you to lose weight because you're BFing and feel the need to comment! I have actually avoided people I knew pre pregnancy because I feel and look like an elephant and am sooo embarrassed about it. And yes, I know it's my own fault for eating like an elephant!

So yes, as miserable, self indulgent and waffly as you! blush

moaningminnie2020 Tue 07-Jul-09 23:01:44

DS is nearly 7m, BF, and I am 1/2 a stone heavier than I was after he was born. My freaky metabolism means that I am still less than pre pregnancy weight though, as I ended up only 4/5 pounds heavier at the end of pregnancy, v wierd.

I have heard that some women hold onto a 'reserve' of podge that stays til they stop feeding but no idea if it's true or not. For me, I am eating far too much cake (caramel and hazelnut from M & S mostly!) and just eating too many meals because my days are so long - early starts and late finishes.

Until DS was about 4m I used to have breakfast when I got up to feed him at about 4/5am, then go back to sleep and have another breakfast laterblush but I stopped and a couple of pounds drifted away.

Don't know about you but I definately feel like I 'deserve' lots of treats for breastfeeding! Am enjoying BF but would LOVE to be able to spend a whole night in bed, just once.

ShowOfHands Tue 07-Jul-09 23:10:23

<<waves fat hand>>

Yup. DD is 26 months old. I run 5/6 times a week plus toning/core stability stuff, eat healthily, am active etc. I cannot lost the last half stone. It's round my middle and I'm nauseatingly fed up with it now.

DD feeds regularly still and sometimes quite a lot at night. I know there's a theory that it's my body protecting dd incase of famine or whatever but fgs, I want to wear my old trousers.

forehead Tue 07-Jul-09 23:13:25

I believe that it is a myth that you lose weight during breastfeeding, I gained 10 pounds after my dd was born because breastfeeding made me ravenous. All those celebrities who claim that they lost weight through breastfeeding are probably not admitting that they did not consume enough calories. I lost all my weight after i stopped breastfeeding. Don't worry Op you will lose the weight, just keep the treats to a minimum.

peppapighastakenovermylife Wed 08-Jul-09 07:54:53

Thank you all for not losing pounds by the minute grin.

Mine is all around my middle too - I try and tell myself its a nice cushion for DD to lie on hmm.

I have tried all sorts to get rid of it - even properly dieting for a couple of weeks and nothing budged. When I am not pregnant I could lose weight really easily (and gain it too - which was a more common behaviour lol).

Yes - 75% is cake. Its the exhaustion, the 18 hour days, the fact I never sleep past 5.30 am in the mornings, ever (and thats a good day). Why doesnt celery boost you in the same way lol

greeneyed Wed 08-Jul-09 13:10:01

Me too - it is biscuits, cakes and chocolate - I I can't stop eating them lol x

tiktok Wed 08-Jul-09 13:21:20

It's not a myth that breastfeeding aids weight loss - but it is a myth that this works for everyone!

The research is pretty clear, and a number of studies show the same thing: breastfeeding leads to a sooner return to pre-preg weight, and this effect is more marked the more, and the more, exclusive, breastfeeding you do.

For example, this one:

Effect of infant feeding on maternal body composition

International Breastfeeding Journal 2008, 3:18doi:10.1186/1746-4358-3-18



Women gain total body weight and accrue body fat during pregnancy. Breastfeeding has been suggested as an efficient means of promoting postpartum weight loss due to its high energy cost. We investigated the effect of infant feeding mode on maternal body composition.

This study evaluated maternal weight and percent body fat changes in exclusively breastfeeding versus mixed feeding mothers during the first 12 weeks postpartum using the BOD POD. Twenty four mothers aged 19 – 42 years were studied. Participants were recruited from Athens-Clarke County and surrounding areas of the State of Georgia, USA. The study was conducted between November 2005 and December 2006.


Prepregnancy weight was higher in mixed feeding mothers than in exclusively breastfeeding mothers (68.4 kg vs. 61.4 kg) but the difference was not statistically significant. At 12 weeks postpartum, exclusively breastfeeding mothers had lost more total body weight than mixed feeding mothers (4.41 ± 4.10 kg versus 2.79 ± 3.09 kg; p = 0.072). There was no significant difference in fat weight change between the two groups (4.38 ± 2.06 kg versus 4.17 ± 2.63 kg). However, mixed feeding mothers lost slightly more percent body fat than exclusively breastfeeding mothers (1.90 ± 4.18 kg versus 1.71 ± 3.48 kg), but the difference was not statistically significant. The trend in percent body fat loss was significant among exclusively breastfeeding mothers (p = 0.034) but not mixed feeding mothers (p = 0.081). Exclusively breastfeeding mothers consumed more calories than mixed feeding mothers (1980 ± 618 kcal versus 1541 ± 196 kcal p = 0.08). Physical activity levels were, however, higher in mixed feeding mothers than exclusively breastfeeding mothers.

Our results provide further evidence that exclusive breastfeeding promotes greater weight loss than mixed feeding among mothers even in the early postpartum period. This suggests that there is the need to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed as a means of overweight and obesity prevention.

Everyone is individual, and you cannot predict what will happen with you - there's enough anecdotal evidence to suggest some women seem to hang on to their weight until they reduce their bf.

I think it is unusual for breastfeeding to make women gain weight and I have not seen any studies on this....but lifestyle factors are bound to come into play, anyway.

Sorry, none of that helps, peppa blush

Sputnik Wed 08-Jul-09 13:23:37

This has been totally true for me as well, I think it really is a combination of breastfeeding and tiredness. I am cutting down on bf now and most days it's only the bedtime feed. I really notice on days he feeds at lunchtime too I get really hungry in the afternoon.
I seem to be finally shifting it slowly now, but I'm still working on getting rid of what I put on post-birth!

phdlife Wed 08-Jul-09 13:25:58

<<goes all swoony at tiktok's use of referenced articles>>

with ds I didn't think I was losing any weight, but I sure as hell noticed when I started to gain pg weight with dd. Now again I don't feel anything going but dh said he thinks it looks like it. I'll let you know if I can ever get into any of my pre-pg clothes <sigh>

peppapighastakenovermylife Wed 08-Jul-09 13:39:37

Thanks for that Tiktok - feel much better now wink

I know the studies inside out - my phd is about breastfeeding - but that doesnt stop me doing regular literature searches to prove the opposite wink. One day I will find one lol

I definitely know that it is mainly down to my eating - I find it impossible to cut down whilst breastfeeding and of course there are a few studies now showing sleep deprivation encourages weight gain. However, hormones do have an effect on me - if I have a sniff of hormonal contraception I start piling on the weight even if I am careful with my eating.

Never mind, DD is fat and happy and thriving grin

ShowOfHands Wed 08-Jul-09 14:20:30

You see I eat very healthily and I run 5 miles 5 or 6 times a week. Is the weight going? No. I exclusively bfed for 7 months and am still bfing at 26 months. I want my weight loss and I want it now. I'm very fit actually, fitter than ever but it's just not shifting.

Actually, I'm not that cross about it, just mildly perturbed. The hv threatened that if I fed beyond a year I'd be a waif (and anaemic and my hair and teeth would fall out and I would never have another baby and dh would leave me and the world would end and blahblahblah).

fannybanjo Wed 08-Jul-09 14:30:50

Showofhands - I too am similar to you, eat very healthily and run 4 times a week (around 4/5 miles) - I too do not lose that last half a stone until I stop feeding.

I put it down to your hormones holding on to your "maternal fat" that you put on to help maintain feeding and in my experience (have fed 3 DDs) I carry it around my waist and as soon as I stop feeding, it drops off.

peppapig, obviously you know the reason you are heavier is that your food intake is a lot more, this is down to your appetite increasing and unfortunately, unless you cut down your calorie intake, you will keep the weight on. Is there any chance you could try Slimming World - I follow it during breastfeeding and successfully lost weight after having all three of my girls. It is a great diet for hungry mummies!

ShowOfHands Wed 08-Jul-09 15:41:57

That's reassuring fannybanjo. It's my middle. Everywhere else is fine. Just an extra roll that is going nowhere. DD has no plans to wean yet so I suppose I will just wait it out.

peppapighastakenovermylife Wed 08-Jul-09 16:54:36

Fannybanjo - I may try slimming world then. I have tried weight watchers but just found it too restrictive when up half the night.

The problem is I am am so busy / sleep deprived / stressed out that I need to eat for energy - my body craves stodge. I am back at work and in the last weeks of my phd as well as having a 3 year old...and DD usually wakes at 4.30 am when I often havent gone to bed til 12 as I am working. I cant face low fat after that.

Saying that even when I do manage it for a week nothing budges - when Im not breastfeeding I could lose a few pounds in a week easily.

So it is a combination really. I may try to fit in some more exercise and see what happens there...

lazylion Wed 08-Jul-09 21:03:09

I'm not looking forward to this but I know I will get fatter when bf. I'm 30 weeks pregnant with my third baby and I bf the first two for a year each, I put on lots of weight each time. I got plenty of snide comments and 'when are you due?' questions - it's depressing isn't it? As soon as I stopped bf the weight just went within a few months (3 stone last time). I'm sure it's hormones for some women and not much you can (healthily) do about it. I will be buying big clothes and hanging in there.

hellsbelles Wed 08-Jul-09 21:14:53

thank goodness - I thought i might be the only one! I get an almost obsessive hunger when I am breastfeeding (and it goes bonkers just about when she's due a growth spurt)...I can't stop eating biscuits, buttered toast, choc eclairs and bread and butter pudding!

I did exactly the same as you - lost the babyweight really quickly - everyone commented on how amazing I looked and then just a few weeks later after eating manically I put loads back on.

I did find with DS that quite soon after stopping BF I got back to normal so I'm hoping the same happens with DD.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 08-Jul-09 21:16:11

Message withdrawn

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Wed 08-Jul-09 21:41:32

I didn't lose a lb until I stopped and my period came back - then I lost 9lb in 2 months! Slowed down since then but it's slowly dropping off without much effort from me. I believe that the BF hormones made me retain fat (like I didn't have enough spare lol) and once I stopped my metabolism went back to normal.

AcademicMum Wed 08-Jul-09 22:33:22

I have a slightly different, but equally frustrating problem. Whilst feeding ds2 I lost most of the 3.5 stones blush I gained during pregnanacy within about 12 weeks or so. This stayed off with fairly little effort. Now I've just stopped feeding (13 months), the weight is piling back on again. I would try to loose it, but right at this moment it just seems like too much effort and I'm opting for the "go out and buy a whole new wardrobe in a bigger size" option.

So, anyway, my point is don't feel bad if the weight doesn't fall off when feeding, for some of us it just goes straight back on when stopping anyhow.

peppapighastakenovermylife Thu 09-Jul-09 08:07:12

lol Academicmum - perhaps you should just get pregnant again wink. I sometimes think that would be a sensible solution as I get thin during pregnancy grin

I wonder if its got anything to do with how demanding the baby is - both mine have been at least every 2 hour around the clock feeders which probably just fuels the eating as I dont get time to sleep let alone eat.

Thank you for all the positive stories of the weight coming off after - it did come off for me last time when I stopped - but I then got pregnant about 6 weeks later.

I think I will probably mind a bit less once the summer is over and I can hide under big cardigans again.

AcademicMum Thu 09-Jul-09 09:01:33

Pregnant again? Hell, no. I'm not very tall and during both my pregnancies I ended up almost as wide as I am high. The first time, I thought it would all just vanish after the birth and was horrified to find I still had to wear maternity clothes for weeks after the birth. Some women bloom in pregnancy, I turn into a weeble!

LeonieSoSleepy Sun 12-Jul-09 16:12:07

Message withdrawn

LivSH Mon 06-Jun-11 21:37:49

I feel your pain! this is me all over. No help but hope it makes you feel better to know you are not alone. Does me. x

sc2987 Tue 07-Jun-11 17:15:23

I read a study (although can't find it now) that concluded breastfeeding women tend to keep about 10lb of fat until after stopping feeding, to ensure they have a reserve in case the food supply diminishes.

But if you put on more than 10lb during pregnancy, presumably the rest should come off easier, if you aren't eating an extra 500 calories per day.

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