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Parenting : Young Children Absorb Everything They See and Hear

19 August 2014 – 12:05 am |

 
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(Or, TV? Electronic Media, like iPads?)

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Home » Pregnancy & Babyhood

Breastfeeding = Faster Weight Loss is a Myth?

7 September 201120 Comments

Vai, my 5yo middleborn, asked me this the other day:

(While looking at Brie who’s sitting on the pram): “Mommy, you’ve given birth to Brie, right?”

“Yes. Why you asked?”

“Well, if she’s out of your tummy, then why is your tummy still very big?”

Hah.

The reality of a breastfeeding mommy? =)

They say, when you’re breastfeeding, you’ll lose weight faster.

Here’s one article I recently found that ‘confirmed’ the statement above:

Breastfeeding burns calories.  Over 600 calories a day for breastfeeding women who don’t supplement with formula.  600 calories!  That’s like getting two hours of aerobic exercise each day.  A study published in the Journal of American Dietician Association shows breastfeeding melting off inches around your hips and buttocks.

And then, I found another ‘interesting fact‘ that says:

Breastfeeding mothers who consume only when hungry can lose an extra 0.5kg per month more than mothers who are not breastfeeding.

Many women might feel that breastfeeding is making them retain or pick up extra weight, the truth is that most moms are quite stressed out after having a baby and may resort to food as a stress reliever.

Breastfeeding cannot make you pick up weight. It may keep you from losing your last few pounds, but that’s about it.


[Wherever, whenever ... if need be, inside a cable car too =) ]

I’m writing this post today because I feel I need to share my view and personal experience on this breastfeeding and weight loss issue.

I have three kids and in all three cases, I actually GAINED WEIGHT after I gave birth.

I’d love to find out how other moms’ situations are like, … because for my case, I gained about 8 kg altogether when I was pregnant with Brie, and after I gave birth, I was left with just about 1-2kg.

Brie is now 3.5 months and is exclusively breastfed, and instead of having 1-2kg of extra body weight, I now have 5-6kg EXTRA.

I mean, I seriously am ‘bigger’ (all over!) NOW than when Brie was 2 weeks old!

I’ve always known that this would happen when I breastfeed my kids, because it happened when I had Anya, and AGAIN, when I had Vai.

ie. I got HEAVIER after I gave birth, and as long as my kids are still breastfed, those 5kg EXTRA will stick around.

[The extra kilos basically go to my thighs, my hips, my tummy and my arms. Well, my torso mostly]

I knew that I’d be ‘bigger and heavier’ when I’m breastfeeding my babies because I get hungry ALL THE TIME!

I mean it’s like : I have a big dinner, I breastfeed my baby, and I feel hungry again.

Really.

And I have NO idea how and why I can possibly feel hungry again after having such a large meal!

I must say, I disagree with the article above that says : moms pick up extra weight after giving birth because they are stressed out and may resort to food as their stress reliever.

Well, I’m here and I say : NO, I’m not stressed out, and NO, I don’t use food as a stress reliever.

I simply eat a LOT because I feel so very VERY hungry after breastfeeding.

Here’s what happened when I breastfed Anya and Vai.

Anya
I completely weaned Anya off breastfeeding when she was about 14 months, and I slowly lost weight. I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight (without any exercise programs) some 6 – 9 months later.

Vai
He was completely weaned off breastfeeding when he was 22 months old. I returned to my pre-pregnancy weight some 6 – 9 months later too.

So looking at those two situations, I suspect something similar will happen again with this third baby in the family, whom I hope to breastfeed for about 1 – 1.5 years =)


[Brie at 14 weeks]

Now, to the question : Should I or should I not breastfeed my baby then?

Well, if you ask me, I think you and I know that breast milk is best. I myself am a firm believer in the goodness of breastfeeding babies.

But, every mom has different situations. Some moms I know tried their very best to breastfeed and they simply couldn’t meet the babies’ needs.

Well, I’d like to share with you this article which I personally think gives a more realistic view of breastfeeding and weight loss after giving birth.

And to close, I’d like to quote the last few sentences in that article that says:

Deciding whether to breastfeed is an intimate decision.

The researchers do not recommend making weight and fat loss a priority in considering whether breastfeeding is best for mothers and their babies.

I so agree with that!

For my case, I’m so grateful to God that I ‘can’ breastfeed my babies, and so I definitely choose to breastfeed them for at least one year.

And, I thank God for a hubby who does not mind the extra kilos, the bulge, the big appetite … and me borrowing his tee-shirts all the time nowadays. Hehe.

PS: If you’re heavier because you’re breastfeeding, well … now you know you’re not alone =)

PPS: I guess I could’ve gained ‘less’ if I don’t consume Milo and other sweet stuff (like, Ice Kachang? =) and go for fruits, brown rice, and wholemeal version of everything as ‘breastfeeding snacks’ whenever I feel hungry. But errr … I don’t think I’d like to do that though =) Cutting down on Ice Kachang and sweet dessert, … okay, but eliminating Milo and other ‘not quite wholemeal’ food altogether, err … not for me, thanks =) I much prefer losing my kilos later when Brie is weaned off breastfeeding =)

20 Comments »

  • cat says:

    hi there, a 2 mth old babe mum and he is my 4th. From my experience, my 4th babe who is fully breastfeed and i did really lost weight. My 1st, fully formula, 2nd and 3rd unable to latch, all these took me 2 years to slim down. I find breastfeeding is amazing and really thanks God the Creator for we mothers to have AUTO milk for our love one! In fact, BF loss weight is not a myth… all u need to do is enough rest, proper food diet, of cos will go hungry n even thirsty fast but many meal small amount more water. when cuddle baby, do some workout helps alot…. cheers!!!

  • Dina says:

    Haha..leony..ur situation is EXACTLY same with me..when i finished read your article,i know that i don’t need too worried about the fact that every breastfeeding mom always can loose their weight…
    Once again each of us has different body so it’s diferent reaction too hehehe…
    When i just gave birth,i just have 5kg extra,but now??oh noooo,it become 10kg extra..and my son just turns 1yo last week and i still plan to breastfeed at least until he 2yo..
    It’s hard for me to found a gown,shirt or pants with my weight right now,but i try to enjoy it =)

    Leonny,have u ever write down about the tips to weaned off breasfeeding?since u have two grown up child i’m sure u have tips to shared with us =)
    if u ever write down it,could u show me the article? If not,i’ll wait for ur writing..thanks

  • ellys says:

    leonny tengkiu buat sharingnya… jadi tidak merasa sendiri… hahaha aku masih kelebihan 7 kilo, waktu hamil dave baby yang ke 2, naiknya 20 kg, ngga pede banget…

    yang bisa menghibur hati cuma lihat dave yang sudah 9 kg..but kata dokter dia ngga kegemukan krn seimbang dengan tinggi badannya..dan yang terpenting..dia sehat…

    minum milo dingin pake es batu emang paling enak ya… hi3 jadi pengen..

  • June says:

    Hi Leonny, thanks for sharing. :) I guess there’s so many diff factors involved (lifestyle, diet, metabolism, exclusively breastfeeding or supplementing) that it’s perhaps quite hard to pinpoint exactly whether it helps mothers to lose weight or not.

    But what we can be sure of is that breastfeeding helps the uterus to shrink back to its normal size, decreases the risk of breast cancer, and provides all the essential nutrients for babies up to 6 months.

    I breastfed my first child for about a year, and did manage to lose ~ 9kg over the year (Yes, I put on quite a bit the first time). I can’t say for sure the breastfeeding was the main contributing factor, but it was probably one of a few factors, including eating healthy, etc.

    It’s been 3 months now after the birth of my second child, and I’m 4kg up from my pre-preggie weight. While I wouldn’t mind shedding these, what I really wanna say is I absolutely enjoy breastfeeding! Yes, even with nights of broken sleep…wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world…yet =P

    • Leonny says:

      Yes, I agree with you. Every body is different. Can never pinpoint any particular reason for the weight increase (other than the ‘huge appetite’ obviously =)

      About breastfeeding = helps uterus to shrink, .. yes, definitely!

      I enjoy breastfeeding too! (Perhaps even more so now because I know this will be my ‘last’ time doing it … no plans for #4 haha)

  • Michelle says:

    After my delivery, i actually lost quite abit of weight but after bf-ing (9 mth) i actually ballooned up, i ate often as i m hungry…. and the weight was stuck wif me for abt 9-12mth…. i havent loose all the weight yet, still working hard…..

    • Leonny says:

      Hi Michelle,

      I remember for my 2 older kids, it also took at least 6 mths for me to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Not sure how long it took, but I did get back to my pre-pregnancy weight (but then again, that’s like … 2-3 years AFTER I’ve delivered my 2nd kid hehe…). I guess, to me .. what’s important is, I DID get back to my earlier weight=)

  • Patricia says:

    I’m glad I’m not the odd one out. :)

    I always find it odd that people say breastfeeding helps you to lose weight. I keep quiet when friends say so because I experienced the opposite! To get more milk, I drink lots of milo and eat constantly to make sure my milk supply is sufficient and has enough nutrition, but the breastmilk amount does not equate to the amount of food I consume. I was an XS prior to giving birth, but became an M during confinement! After I went back to work, I don’t drink milo three to five times a day, I don’t eat in large quantity to ensure milk supply and its nutrition. I went down 8 kg, altho to date, I still have a few kgs to lose. I am about to resign to my fate tho – it gets harder to shed them as one ages.

    • Leonny says:

      Hehe …THIS is one of the reasons why I share about my situation … that you’re definitely not alone =) I also hear sooo many others say how they’re losing weight fast when they breastfeed, but hey … I’m experiencing the opposite (and it’s okay, … to me anyway =)

      And about the ‘age’ thing .. hehe … I do think so too.. Gotta work extra hard to shed those kilos (or, it’ll take ‘longerrr’ to get back to pre-preg weight, if not exercising =)

  • Leonny says:

    Here are a few other stories shared by more moms on Facebook:

    I bf my son for slightly more than 1 month. After I stopped bf him, I had extra 6kg of mass compared to pre pregnancy. I was soon pregnant with my daughter when my son was about 9 mo. Now that I am bf baby gem, I’m losing the kilos faster. I’m now 3.5kg heavier than my pre pregnancy mass. I can even fit into those tight fitting clothes which I used to wear before I had my kids! But I plan to stop bf soon as I’ll be back at work next week

    Only during the first one month, lost 9kg. But subsequent to that, stagnant till now (still have 8 kg to go). But I do eat a lot while I’m breastfeeding and no weight gain. Maybe it’s true breastfeeding burnt calories (note: my baby does not latch on directly, I pump my milk)…

    Hi, I bf my no. 1 for 2.5 yes, no. 2 for 1.5 yes. For no. 1, wt loss stagnant after lin the 6th mth. But coz I ate more frequently, and drank lots of Milo n hot beverages due to low supply. Lost wt after I established my flow say close to a yr then my wt started dropping. For no. 2, was more experienced w bf, so actually wt dropped fast in less than a yr. I bf by demand exclusively for no. 2 while I supplemented for no. 1 fr the beginning.

    Yes..Faster!! you are hungry most of the time because you need the calories to produce milk. For my case, i am not that super hungry ( well my milk supply is quite pathetci as well) as for tummy, i also still has muffin top….difficult to get rid. For Toby, i lose all my preg weight within 6 months. for Elsy, i loss all in 2 months. but left with muffin top :D

    Nothing to compare to, but yes I went to my pre preg weight pretty quickly despite lots of milo and a huge appetite. D was a good feeder :)

    Ps: think your tummy muscles get weaker each time!

    Dari aku hamil sampe nyusui beratnya sama Leonny, alias ga turun sama sekali, sampe sekarang malah padahal dah ga Asi, keterusan…hehehe


    I actually lost weight while breastfeeding – i was not really more hungry but very very thirsty all the time & T drank lots. Then i gained once i stopped bf at about 16mths… since then i’ve not got back to pre-pregnant weight – still have a couple of kgs to go… & as someone mentioned the muffin top…

  • chloe says:

    i was the total opposite. i was never hungry when i breastfed & now my daughter is 3 mths & 3 weeks old, i’ve lost all the weight & am even thinner than before I was preg.

    I’ve stopped breastfeeding (due to medical reasons) so hope the weight stays off!

  • San says:

    Hahaha! I can SO understand. I see some of my friends who breastfeed and slim almost instantly (or after 2-3 months). I struggled through 18 months of BFing my eldest and STILL managed to not lose that flab. Sob!

    Well, like what you said, it doesn’t detract from the joys of bf-ing! :D

  • Hi Leonny, interesting facts about breastfeeding.
    I have tried breastfeeding for a month when I had Avel. I must say, the tummy fats remained for a whole 1.5years before I had Danson. Breastfeeding = lost weight? I guess it depends on individuals. I have a friend who got back her pre-pregnancy weight while doing breastfeeding.

    I believed though that women who went for c-section actually lose weight more than women who went through normal delivery. Coz the wound area requires a lot of healing and energy is being transferred to that area over a period of time.
    I actually gained back my pre-pregnancy weight faster after having c-section. :D (Sorry for being off-topic….but just wanna share)

  • Yen says:

    I breastfed both of my kids for about 7 months each. But I got back to my pre pregnancy weight within 2 months (for the first kid), and I could fit into my old jeans within 1 month (for my second kid). My youngest is now 10 months old and I hope my metabolism will stay the same for a while. But who knows, as we age, metabolism slows down…. but most importantly is leading a healthy lifestyle. Being skinny is overrated hahaha

    • Leonny says:

      For my case, I can fit into my pre-pregnancy weight when Brie was about 2-3 weeks, and now that she’s 3.5months, those pants that were too loose around the waist before I was pregnant are now very VERY tight! Haha.

      although I don’t aim to be skinny, especially NOT when I’m breastfeeding, being less top heavy would be nice =)

  • Madeline says:

    For me, it was the opposite. I lost only 4kg after I gave birth to my girl! And then overtime, the more I breastfed, the more weight I lost (18kg in total as of now!) For me, breastfeeding didnt make me hungry, actually it made me thirsty! And initially I kept drinking unhealthy drinks (which slowed the weight loss) but then after a while I started drinking water and juices and then the weight loss went about more quickly. I think exercising plays a part too as I like to swim.

    I guess our body reacts to things differently? Hopefully you can lose the weight soon! Jiayou to both of us (cos I need to lose 5kg more too) haha.

    • Leonny says:

      Haha … somehow I just know that my 5 kg will stick around for a while … The irritating part, I guess, is the fact that I don’t have many clothes to choose from! And, if I were to shop for clothes now, I also know that they’ll be too big for me to wear again when I stop breastfeeding =)

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