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Breastfeeding vs. Losing the Baby Weight

Breastfeeding V.S. Losing the Baby Weight via BabbleWhen I was pregnant with Fern I gained a lot of weight…55 pounds to be precise. So much for that unrealistic 25 pound goal I set for myself! After Fern was born, I lost 35 of those pounds in the first week. So obviously Fern, placenta, all my added water weight and blood volume weighed quite a bit. But, 20 of those pounds? Those were all me…and ice cream.

Well, I recently started back up with going to the gym and doing Weight Watchers – their version for breastfeeding moms – so I can get back to feeling good about myself again. (Having clothes that fit would be a definite bonus.) I’m definitely not doing anything crazy and I’m only actually making it to the gym 2-3 times a week but I’ve lost 8 pounds and I’m feeling good.

But, I’ve noticed a few signs that are leading me to believe that perhaps weight loss doesn’t come without its disadvantages, especially where breastfeeding is concerned.

Fern is going through a growth spurt right now and has been sleeping for unprecedented long stretches. The break I’ve gotten with middle-of-the-night feedings for the past few nights has been really great, but I was worried I would start leaking like a faucet without nursing in the middle of the night. Much to my surprise, I’ve actually woken up in the mornings with breasts that are not overflowing. Actually kind of the opposite, they seem less full than usual.

After everything I’ve done to boost my milk supply and make breastfeeding work for the two of us, I’ve started to worry that my milk supply might be dropping due to my weight loss. I really am losing in a healthy way and actually eating foods that are more balanced for both Fern and I; lots of fruits and vegetables, less carbs, and I’m still making sure to get plenty of healthy fats. As I mentioned before, I’m definitely nowhere near turning into a gym rat. So, what’s the deal?

Am I going to have to choose between breastfeeding and losing this baby weight? If so, I’m not really sure which I’ll choose. Fern and I have had a pretty good go of it where nursing is concerned. 8 months is quite the accomplishment after you consider all the struggles we had in the beginning. My initial breastfeeding goal was 6 months and I was skeptical that I would even make it that long. But here we are at 8 months and I’ve actually been considering extending breastfeeding until Fern is 2. However if my supply drops, that obviously won’t be possible.

I guess I’m just going to continue with my healthy eating and nursing and see what happens. I’ll proably start taking my placenta pills and lactation tinctures again to help things out though. And in the end, if my supply dries up then I guess it will be a natural time to wean, especially since Fern is already eating solid foods like a champ and wanting to nurse for shorter and shorter amounts of time anyway.

I’m really hoping breastfeeding will work out though because I’m not quite ready to end my nursing relationship with Fern (Who ever thought I’d say that!?), and I was hoping to at least keep it up through the cold and flu season for the immunity benefits. That said, I’m also not going to carry around this extra 20 pounds forever just so I can nurse. Extending nursing has so many wonderful benefits, but being an overweight mama with a family history of diabetes kind of trumps it priority-wise for me. I need to be the healthiest I can be for my daughter, but hopefully I can do that while still breastfeeding.

Have any of you had this experience with losing your leftover baby weight and breastfeeding?

Did your supply dry up or how did you keep it going?

Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble. More Babbling…

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