Is Bottle Feeding Keeping Me Fat?


I’ve been a very public advocate of breastfeeding for a long time. However, I’ve always kind of laughed when I heard other women – usually rail thin actresses – say that they slimmed right back down to their pre-pregnancy weight simply by virtue of breastfeeding.  That’s because I breastfed all three of my last children for between 13 months and 4.5 years, and each time, the baby weight has come off slooooowly for me.  But it has come off eventually; I have generally been back in my normal size jeans at each kid’s second birthday party. In other words, my personal, anecdotal experience didn’t really support the idea that breastfeeding helped me lose the weight, or lose it any faster.

This time around, however, I am bottle feeding my baby.  No breastfeeding whatsoever. And now that she’s 6 months old, it has begun to occur to me that I am not losing ANY of the 50 lbs I gained while pregnant. Well, I guess I lost about 15 lbs when she was born, but at least 30-35 lbs of actual fat remains stubbornly attached to my belly, ass and hips.  At this point with my other babies, I was ready to step down from my super-large postpartum jeans into my still-two-full-sizes-up from my regular cute jeans. But over the weekend, I decided to try for the first time in a month to squeeze into the superlarges, and I could barely get them over my hips, much less button them. It was not an attractive sight, lemme tell you. Attempting to button those jeans resulted not in a muffin top but in some sort of unbaked cookie dough top, oozing and flopping over the sides of these too-tight, very big pants. I quickly averted my eyes, pulled off the offending pants and threw them back into my dark closet. Then I put my very forgiving old postpartum friend, the LL Bean flannel nightgown back on.

Aaaaah. That was more like it.

Now don’t get me wrong. I definitely haven’t been TRYING to lose this weight. No exercise to speak of, and no big dietary changes. But with my last few pregnancies, I really didn’t have to do anything. The weight just came off about 2 -4 pounds a month until it was all gone. I now realize that this is not happening this go-’round. And the main difference in what I did previously and what I am doing now is that I am not using up the 200-500 extra calories per day that go along with breastfeeding. None of my personal fat is being converted into energy for my baby. I am now coming to understand that while I might not have lost all of the weight in a matter of months, like those skinny breastfeeding celebs, nursing my baby WAS causing slow but steady weight loss for me.

Bummer. I guess this means I am going to have to find some other way to cut 200-500 calories per day from my diet. Or do something energetic to use up 200-500 calories per day. Neither option sounds too appealing, although I know I am getting to the age where I need to be exercising regularly for reasons other than weight loss.  But I’ve got to do something, because believe it or not, my family and friends are getting seriously sick of seeing me in that flannel nightgown that I wear all the time because nothing else fits.

How about you? How fast did the baby weight come off? Did you have to really work at it or no? Was it different with different pregnancies and/or feeding methods? Talk about postpartum weight in the comments below.

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