Menu

Why Am I Not Losing Weight When I BreastFeed?

"They" say breastfeeding makes you skinny. Are "they" right?

Why Am I Not Losing Weight When I BreastFeed?

The relationship between breastfeeding and weight loss is an interesting saga. It’s a long-winded tale of “if you exclusively breastfeed your child, you’ll be sure to lose your weight by 12 months postpartum.”

However, that’s not always the case for everyone. The reason may have to do with how you produce breast milk. Some women produce milk in plenty for their little ones so they are able to nurse AND store milk. Some women produce just enough to feed their babies but eventually have to supplement. Some women have to exclusively pump because of difficulty with breastfeeding (due to plenty of reasons). And some women aren't able (or choose not to) breastfeed or pump at all.

FEATURED VIDEO

While there is a lot of advice floating around, it’s hard to figure out which advice is the most applicable to you. But if you're breastfeeding and not losing weight, it could be that are experiencing hypoplasia/insufficient glandular tissue (IGT). According to this article in the American Journal of Perinatology, if you have IGT, your body may have trouble producing adequate breast milk.

How exactly does this relate to weight loss?

For the most part, if you don't have trouble producing breast milk, and you choose to breastfeed or pump, your body will regulate weight loss and eventually return to a desired weight within 1 year postpartum.

However, some scientific studies suggest there is a relationship between prolactin (a hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk postpartum) and adipose (fat) tissue metabolism, which ultimately leads to weight loss.

Some women hang onto fat in order to produce breast milk, especially if producing milk is more difficult for their bodies. Some experts believe that "women who do not lactate [in greater amounts] may have greater difficulty mobilizing fat accumulated during pregnancy, resulting in greater retained gestational weight gain.”

For those women who aren't able to produce significant amounts of breast milk, weight loss can actually happen when the nursing cycle ends, rather than during the breastfeeding process. For those women, weaning signals to the body that you no longer need to produce breast milk -- and store the associated fat.

We know, weight loss postpartum is a struggle. But try not to let it influence your desire to breastfeed...or not. Do whatever is best for you. And know that even if you DO breastfeed or pump, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose the weight as fast as everyone says.

Image source.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


Keep reading Show less
Shop

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play