Breastfeeding melts off the baby weight, right? Breastfeeding leads to an “earlier return to prepregnancy weight,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
This is because “breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster,” as many popular websites, like WebMd claim.
Sounds pretty clear cut, right?
So when I failed to lose weight while breastfeeding my first child, I was shocked. Weren’t those pregnancy pounds supposed to be falling off? Why were my pre-pregnancy jeans still collecting dust in the back of my closet?
Breastfeeding an infant does burn an average of 480 calories a day. So why wasn’t I losing more weight?
But like so many other alleged benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding-aided weight loss turns out to be vastly overblown.
In other words, my experience was completely normal. For most well-nourished women, long-term breastfeeding results in only a trivial amount of extra weight loss by 6 months postpartum, usually only of 1-2 lbs.
Continue reading Don’t Count on Breastfeeding to Help You Shed Your Baby Weight
24 weeks into my first pregnancy, I was feeling smug. I had been eating right, continuing to exercise, and the last dregs of first trimester nausea and fatigue had faded. I was feeling good.
That is, until my OB took me down a few notches at my 6 month appointment.
She told me I had gained “too much weight”. She passed the chart. It was all there in black and white.
Although I had been on target to gain the “correct” amount of weight by the end of my pregnancy, I had gained a whopping 8 lbs in a month. I was now on a trajectory to gain over the upper limit of 35 pounds. She began what was clearly her set lecture. “Eat less bread. Eat only half of the sandwich…”
But as she spoke, my mind began to wander. I was pretty taken aback. I silently reviewed my recent eating habits. No, I did not think they had changed. Certainly not enough to cause a gain of 8 lbs in a month. And yes, I had been exercising my normal amount. If anything, I had become more active in my second trimester. My energy levels had gone up in the last couple of months, not down.
Convinced that I had done nothing dramatically different in the last month, I started to wonder whether we could accurately or reasonably expect a steady rate of weight gain. Maybe it’s normal to gain a lot of weight in the middle of pregnancy, and less towards the end. Maybe pregnancy weight gain looks more like a curve than a line. Continue reading Weight Gain in the Second Trimester: A Sudden Bump Up Is Common — And No Reason to Panic