Can't lose weight while breastfeeding

Mommy - posted on 09/05/2012 ( 41 moms have responded )

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I am 12PP, unfortunately I gained an enormous amount of weight while I was pregnant, before I got pregnant I lost 42lbs taking oxy elite pro (diet pill), so my pre-prego weight was 135lbs, I gained all of my weight back within two months of the pregnancy because I quit taking the pills, I also had just quit smoking the month before I conceived which put 15lbs on me because I got down to 123lbs. Anyway, now I would just be grateful to get back to my normal weight of 150-160lbs, which is where I was before I lost the 42lbs. The day I delivered I was 226lbs.....:( I have chosen to breastfeed my baby, I feel like it will give him a healthier headstart in life. However, I have only been able to lose 22lbs since he was born. I have been dieting and even doing the INSANITY work out and Jillian MIchaels 3DS and walking on my treadmill and through our neighborhood, the scale won't move, can anyone shed some light, or maybe gone through the same thing?

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Mommy - posted on 10/12/2013

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I wanted to give an update on my weight loss, I continued breast feeding for 7 months, then my weight dropped, I have lost 91 of the 92lbs that I gained :) between exercise and healthy eating and running after my now 16 month old I feel great and got results :) back into my size 0's and 2's, so anyone struggling hang in there it will come off in time ♥

Marc - posted on 10/12/2013

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As a fitness professional and breastfeeding mother, I am still trying to get my behavior to match my knowledge, lol! I have read that 70-80% of the weight loss equation is diet, so that is where I should be putting most of my efforts, right? But no….I would rather spend 1.5 hours in the gym or train for a marathon to get the weight off. I am about 4 days away from completing my 1st full marathon and I will have trained 16 weeks for it. Sadly, I didn’t lose 1 pound!!! I have accepted the reality that I have to change my eating habits, especially since I am not 25 anymore :) . Even with exclusive breastfeeding for 1 year AND consistent exercise, I have never dropped weight easily, and I know the fact that I have not focused on eating better is to blame. My daughter recently stopped nursing at 2.5 and I am sure that my body is still adjusting, and if anything, I probably didn’t adjust my eating to account for the fact that I am no longer breastfeeeding.

Tania - posted on 09/16/2012

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You are not eating nearly enough. Your body WILL hold onto fat while breastfeeding if it thinks you are not getting enough to eat. Eat more - and eat the whole egg, not just the whites. Your baby needs the cholesterol for brain development and all the vitamins and omegas. Losing weight isn't going to happen overnight. Expect it to take at least 9 months and that is being generous. Eat more (get some fat in your diet!) and take daily walks, the weight will come off.

Janette - posted on 09/11/2012

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A personal trainer with whom I worked in the past pointed out that many people don't consider the fact that a calorie deficit due to exercise can sometimes be considered the same as PURGING. In no way am I suggesting that is what you are doing but please consider all that you are asking of your body.

Margarita - posted on 09/17/2012

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Have you talked to a dietician and/or personal trainer? It's my understanding that working out too hard or too often can actually backfire and make you plateau, so there ya have it. There are a lot of "getting your weight back after baby" programs using strollers, baby as weights, etc. I suspect they also have a better approach to dealing with weight loss while breast feeding. Check your local gym or hospital. There are also breastfeeding support groups that might be able to help you work on proper diet. You definitely need more fat and protein in your diet both for milk production and to sustain a workout. Whatever you do, make sure you eat when you're hungry, and stop when you're full. Sounds basic, but not always easy do.



Good luck!

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Susanne - posted on 05/10/2014

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Mommy step mommy- did it take 7 months to finally start loosing the weight?! I have been doing the same workouts- well just started- but walking 2 miles per day at least and eating salad for lunch and dinner and almost no carbs and nothing is happening what the hell! At least I'm nursing well and have a adorable baby to look At but no good pictures of me and her :(

Nicole - posted on 10/28/2013

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For the mommy who gave us an update - did the weight come off while you were still BF or did it start to come off once you stopped?

Alisha - posted on 10/23/2013

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I ate right and worked out my entire pregnancy. I gained 28 pounds and had lost 18 pound a week after birth. Breast feeding has helped, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to weight loss. Don't depend on breast feeding to loose weight, push yourself to have a healthy lifestyle. Start a routine, nightly walks and slowly increase intensity, you'll begin losing weight before you know it. This will take longer than diet pills, but you'll keep it off. I'm 6 week pp and have 5 lbs to go before I'm back to my pre pregnancy weight. Good luck, and you can do it!!!

Dee - posted on 10/06/2013

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I am a mother of two and I am 5'2 and 188lbs I was NEVER this be in my ENTIRE LIFE until I had my kids. I breastfed my 1st daughter and gained no weight lost 10lbs. I am breastfeeding my 10m old and when I had her I was 160lbs I gained 28lbs while breastfeeding her. I thought BF suppose to help you lose weight not gain!!!! My self-esteem is really low sometimes I get discourage and depress because I eat healthy and Ive been working out but still no results please someone help me lose this weight I feel like a BEAR

Amie - posted on 05/02/2013

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I'm the same way. I gained 60lbs in my pregnancy. My son is now 9months old and I've only lost 22lbs. I've been eating healthy and exercising on and off the whole nine months but this last month I have done P90X and really watched what I have eaten. I feel better but no weight loss! It's really discouraging! Especially when I watch my friends get down to there pp weight and even lower. I wish it didn't matter to me but the scale not moving really makes me lose motivation.

Sky - posted on 05/01/2013

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I also took oxy elite pro before I was pregnant and lost 35lbs. I gained 50lbs during my pregnancy. My son is almost 6months old and I've only lost 10lbs since the day he was born. I'm breast feeding and really don't eat that much. I haven't worked out too much because I'm a single mom going to school full time and I also run errands for my mother and grandmother constantly due to their bad health. So I am ALWAYS on the go and by the time I get home and do school work I just don't have the energy to go work out plus I live in the country so there's not a sidewalk for me to go walk and push the baby on. I've been doing sit ups leg lifts push ups dips and squats at night but even though I fell like I might be starting to loose weight the scale won't budge. I'd be happy to just loose 20lbs but so far nothing! It's very discouraging!

Mommy - posted on 12/11/2012

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So Ashley, is the 9 months it took to get the weight off, 9 months after weaning or during the time you breastfed? I quit my insanity workout bc I was not able to lose weight breastfeeding, are you still breastfeeding now?

Ashley - posted on 12/10/2012

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I am 15 weeks PP on wednesday of this week. I too was near your weight when I gave birth to my daughter in august at 218. My first daughter will be 2 tomorrow and I was 226 when I gave birth to her in 2010. I breastfed her for a little more than a year, almost right when I got pregnant again she weaned herself. I lost all of the 50 pounds I gained and was back down to 176 in September 2011, so roughly 9 months (the time it took me to put it on, lol). I actually gained 10-15 bf getting pregnant the second time but gained half the weight. I kept track of my weight after giving birth the first time and right now I am about 5 pounds heavier than I was at this time last post-pregnancy. I have just started insanity and am following the elite nutrition guide to a T. I actually started following the guide 4 days bf I started the workouts and lost 5.1 pounds in 5 days. I have gained 1 pound back since starting the workouts but I think that is due to water retention for my VERY sore muscles!! I am on day 4 of the fitness program...I dont know if you use any weight loss resources like myfitnesspal or facebook groups but I think maybe since we are very similar, ie weight, breast feeding, baby age, maybe we should connect and keep each other motivated?? I belong to a great facebook group believe and acheive that is very fitness focused and it would be great to have another BF mom in the group. My facebook name is Ashley Swift Amaya, however Im not sure if im searchable. If you use myfitnesspal my screen name is amayaasn.

Jacqui - posted on 10/19/2012

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I have heard that if you are not eating enough when breastfeeding then your body holds onto all the weight to ensure that there is enough there to sustain the milk requirements. They say women need 1200 calories a day to loose weight while breastfeeding women need an EXTRA 500 calories. If you are not eating at least 1700 calories then this could be your problem. Earlier on you described your eating for the day. I reckon that would be lucky to be 1000 calories and that could be your problem. You need to also include good fats ie avocado, whole eggs etc to ensure that your body is getting what it needs.. and at least 2 -3 serves of carbs a day. I am not on the mini pill therefore I am not sure if it will interfere... I have bought them but can't bring myself to take them.

Mary - posted on 10/19/2012

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I have heard that some people start losing weight later, even if they keep nursing. (Around 18 months.)

Rebekah - posted on 10/18/2012

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YES, I blame my mini pill too. Seems like as soon as I got off of it (and weaned) that's when I was able to lose weight.

Mommy - posted on 10/09/2012

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ugggh such a drag.....the few pounds I lost, I have gained right back...:( Guess it was just water weight.....I have heard that some people can't drop weight while breastfeeding (after the initial birth weightloss) I guess I am one of the few that doesn't.....I hope that there is still hope after he weans....I have heard that for some women their bodies still think that they are pregnant and hold onto that weight...

Siobhan - posted on 09/25/2012

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I also hold onto weight while BFing. With my son and the twins I lost a ton in the first 2 weeks and then my body held onto 10 lbs that would not budge. With my son I slowly lost the weight by 6 months and then when I stopped nursing at 14 months I lost another 10 lbs! I was dieting and exercising though but it melted off and that never happens for me. just give it time. The first year I just focused on nursing and providing milk for my baby and then after that I focused on my body.

Jacqui - posted on 09/24/2012

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Sounds like you are doing a good job. Dont forget exercise will make you extra hungry and so does bf. When my baby was 3 months old I started weight watchers. I am breastfeeding and in 4 weeks I have lost 3kg. Not sure what that is in pounds. And because i am bf the weight watchers system gives me extra points to ensure I eat well so my baby gets nutricious milk. I am only exercising 2 times a week. Eat as many fruit, veges and salad as you like and ensure you hve carbs at least twice a day... You cant starve yourself or you may get rundown or sick. It took 9 months to put on the weight so expect it to take 9 months to loose it. Good luck and enjoy your baby.

Michelle - posted on 09/19/2012

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Congratulations! I hope you continue seeing results. However, based on previous experience, I would recommend increasing your physical activity and decreasing your calories when you get closer to weaning your little one. Best of luck!

Mommy - posted on 09/19/2012

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I have done a little experiment that past few weeks....I stopped INSANITY and Jillian Michaels 30 DS.I kept walking, but only when I have time, accompanied with eating more freely.....I lost 4lbs!!!! :)

Kim - posted on 09/17/2012

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Low thyroid function is not uncommon in the early postpartum months and can cause stalled weight loss. Perhaps have ur thyroid blood levels tested by your doctor.

Rebekah - posted on 09/12/2012

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I second the above comments too. I KNOW that I do not eat/drink enough while nursing and I think that contributes to my body holding fat too. That's probably why when I wean, my body just stops storing all that fat and I lose weight (without really doing anything new).

Rebekah - posted on 09/12/2012

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I did!! I lost between 10-15lbs after weaning my first two kids. Are you on the mini-pill, by chance? I feel like that in combination with weaning may keep me from losing weight while breastfeeding. It seems like as soon as I get off of it, AND wean, the baby weight literally melts off. I've been running/working out since my 3rd baby was 6 weeks old (10 months currently), and I have not lost a single pound since the day he came home from the hospital. I plan to wean him in a couple months and I'm praying the same will happen again and I'll be able to lose at least 10 more pounds.

Michelle - posted on 09/12/2012

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I actually gained weight after weaning my daughter. I'm still nursing my second daughter, so I can't comment regarding how it will go this time. Best of luck!

Mommy - posted on 09/12/2012

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All of your posts have been so encouraging and helpful so thank you! It is nice to have those days where you don't worry about the reflection in the mirror, just holding and spending time with my baby is what makes any weight issues go away, at least for a little bit :)



Has anyone lost a large amount of weight after weaning? (don't worry I am not going to stop breastfeeding early just to lose weight, his health is way more important than my appearance) A few people have said it sometimes melts off after weaning though.

Janette - posted on 09/11/2012

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Don't forget that SLEEP is important for weight loss (and overall health, of course) so cut yourself some slack. Focus on the fact that your body is doing an amazing thing by producing food for your little one. Personally I had to let go of my workouts because my body told me I was trying to do too much - I decided breastfeeding was my priority. Never have I found my body so incredible even though it doesn't look like I think it should (notice that I said "think").

Niki - posted on 09/10/2012

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I feel your frustration! My son is almost 18 months old and I'm still holding onto a good extra 20lbs. I gained 60+ pounds with my pregnancy. I had a lot of water retention and lost 40lbs in the first 7 weeks, but this last 20 hasn't budged since then. My son is still nursing, although only a couple times a day. I have had people tell me that as long as you are nursing, your body holds onto some extra fat so that you can always make the milk that your baby needs (not sure if that is really true, but it sounds good ;). It wasn't until around a year that I wasn't ravenously hungry and although the scale hasn't gone down much, I feel like things have redistributed, clothes fit a little better and my stomach is starting to look a little smaller. I've probably gained a little muscle from carrying him around too. It is frustrating when people tell you that you lose so much weight breastfeeding and then you are the one who doesn't. Try to focus on a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby and remember you have a good reason for the extra weight, it's not like you were just sitting on the couch eating potato chips and ice cream. Our bodies change in so many ways (regardless of how much weight we gained) after being pregnant and it takes time to adjust to those changes. Try not to let the weight drive you crazy, focus on that little baby of yours and enjoy this time with him, give it some time and you may just notice the weight slowly going down.

Dove - posted on 09/09/2012

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I don't have personal experience to share (you would probably want to smack me if I explained my metabolism), but I have heard that when you diet while breastfeeding your body 'freaks' out thinking it will starve your baby.... so it holds on to the weight and actually might make you gain more.



Small, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day are better... especially for breastfeeding.



Same with the extreme exercise.



Sounds like you may have already figured both of those out though, so I will just add.... Good luck! Enjoy your baby and try not to worry about the weight for now. :)

Michelle - posted on 09/09/2012

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It sounds like your body is holding onto any extra fat stores because you're on a low calorie diet and burning too many calories. I would recommend eating a healthy diet, get plenty of calories and water, and cut back on the extreme exercise. I've breastfed two babies and the pounds melt away, but it takes a few months for my body to start that process. Also, stick with it for at least a year, you'll be happy with the results.

Mommy - posted on 09/08/2012

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I have definitely learned my "diet pill lesson" they were a easy fix losing so much weight in such a short amount of time, but when I quit taking them I piled on all the weight i lost plus another 10lbs and then 35lbs of pregnancy weight.....won't do that again, PROMISE!! :) Eating more protein sounds like a good idea, and maybe the Jillian Michaels 3DS combined with INSANITY and walking 5 miles a day may be too extreme for this early in the game, and maybe I am one of the unlucky ones who can't shed the weight while nursing. I will continue nursing and ignore the image I see in the mirror, afterall it is temporary, and I only have a few more months left until I can crank up the heat on diet and exercise:) I wil definitely give dietsolution.com a gander to check it out! Thank you for the recomendation :) All of your comments have been both helpful and encouraging, it's always nice to hear other mom's stories and suggestions. :) If anyone has any other thoughts or suggestions let me know, I will try anything :) Thank you!!!

Shelly - posted on 09/08/2012

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Different people experience different things while nursing. While I was nursing, I lost weight, and kept it off. But when I stopped, I gained weight. My sister on the other hand told me she couldn't lose weight while nursing. It has something to do with the hormone levels; your body is trying to hang on to extra fat to ensure that there will be enough nutrients to produce milk. Focus on eating healthy food, and perhaps get more protein in your diet. From your description, you're not getting any at all for breakfast or lunch. Protein will help you feel full faster and longer. Also make sure you're getting enough milk and/or other dairy products. Your body is working very hard to produce milk, and if you're not getting the nutrients you need, it will just hang on to all the extra fat it can. Get a moderate (not extreme) amount of exercise, and enjoy nursing your baby for as long as you can. Worry about losing weight when he's a bit older.

Hella - posted on 09/07/2012

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plus, please be patient with your body. It took 9 month to gain that much weight, and your body might need some time to adjust, and realize, that is time to loose. Expect about 9-12 month until your body will start to look like it was used to be. :) For me it took 20 month after my first child, and I were not able to loose an ounce during the 1 st year, then it just melted off. So just do what you do, eat right, and be patient with your body, focus on your baby.!

Hella - posted on 09/07/2012

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I know it is frustrating, it happens a lot, if you are on dietpills, since thote pills are not teaching you how to eat right. I find the www.dietsolution.com or beyonddiet.com, and it shed some light what did I do wrong, without any pills. I still have 10 pounds to loose, but I know some of it will stay until I breastfeed. Go check that out, maybe it's help. It helped for me.

User - posted on 09/06/2012

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I know how frustrating it must feel! I actually lost all my pregnancy weight within 2 weeks of my son's birth. But then I gained 10 pounds back! And now I am also stuck! My best advice is, while breastfeeding, put your diet on hold, eat as healthy as possible, but make sure you are eating enough calories, otherwise your milk supply will drop. It sounds like you are getting a lot of exercise and eating healthy, but don't overdo it! It will just take some time, try to love you current body because it brought your baby into the world. Think of it as a temporary sacrifice for what will be one of the best things in your life! The weight loss will come. Good luck!

Ronda - posted on 09/06/2012

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Whatever you do stay away from the diet pills, they are so harmful! Eat right, exercise, and drink a lot of water. Good Luck

Mommy - posted on 09/06/2012

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Thank you for your replies :) My baby turned 12 weeks old on Saturday 9/1 :) The 22lbs I lost does include my little bundle of joy :)....The scale has not budged since about 3 weeks PP. Today for example, I walked 5 miles and did my INSANITY workout, ate oatmeal for breakfast....boiled egg whites for my snacks.....grapes and apple slices for lunch.....8 bottles of water throughout the day and chicken, asparagus and rice for dinner....somehow I managed to gaine 3.5lbs? Tomorrow I am sure the scale will go down minus the 3.5lbs, but it all averages out to no weight loss :( ...I am definitely going to continue breastfeeding even though I am not losing weight, my goal is to breastfeed until he is at least 6 months old, without compromise. Hopefully I will be lucky and it will come off easier once he is weaned :)

Sashell - posted on 09/06/2012

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If your baby is only 12 weeks old and you have already lost 22lbs then you are doing great! Try the atkins diet. I started it before I got pregnant this time around and had great results. I plan to start it again 6 weeks after this one is born. Dieting pills are not always the best route in my opinion. Once you stop taking them the weight can pile back on quick. Make healthy food choices and continue working out. You may have just hit a plateau with weight loss, it will pick back up again :) Seriously, try Atkins and stick to it. Its not a diet, its a way of life. You will he miserable the first week while your body gets used to it, but after that it is smooth sailing. Good luck to you!

Lori - posted on 09/06/2012

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How old is your baby? 12 weeks old? It's not really advised to even start to try to diet until at least 6 weeks post partum. And then for a nursing mom, you don't want to loose more than 1 pound per week. Faster weight loss can start dumping toxins into your breast milk. I hope part of that 22 lbs includes baby... it sounds like it does. Keep nursing frequently. Keep yourself hydrated, and eat healthy foods. Don't starve yourself. That won't do you or your baby any favors. Weight Watchers has a plan for breastfeeding moms, and it includes extra points to make up for the calories you need to feed your baby, and so that you don't loose weight too fast. You needed an extra 300 calories when you were pregnant. Now that you are nursing you need an extra 500 calories per day. I know it's frustrating for it to not be falling off, but slower weight loss is healthier.

Shauna - posted on 09/06/2012

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With my first baby I noticed I was still starving, like pregnant-starving, while nursing. When I weaned baby just after his first birthday, my appetite dropped. Perhaps your experience will be similar. I am not suggesting stopping breastfeeding for that reason, but perhaps it will help to understand that some of our bodies are still in storing mode when nursing.

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