Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Your Baby

When I was pregnant I kept hearing how I’d lose weight while breastfeeding. Other moms said weight just fell off of them when breastfeeding. I looked forward to nursing my baby and really looked forward to losing even just a few extra pounds me since I put on lots of it during my pregnancy.

I looked at those pre-pregnancy clothes in my closet for months and months.

Finally, I gave in and bought new clothes after wearing my maternity pants for so long that I’m almost ashamed to say how long. Okay, I was nearly five months postpartum before I bought a single new piece of clothing that fit me. It would have been awesome if I slid back into my pre-pregnancy clothing within a few months of giving birth. Then sometime around seven or eight months postpartum, I started to lose weight while breastfeeding, but not as much as I expected.

Meanwhile, I watched as friends dropped the pregnancy weight, fast!

I’ve rarely been jealous of anyone in my life, even still at nearly 40 years old. I’m pretty happy with my body, always have been. It’s pretty awesome what it’s been through and continues to carry on! I admit though, I felt a little cheated and defeated! I didn’t lose weight while breastfeeding. Sure, I lost the water weight and I dropped some weight slowly, but it did NOT fall off or melt away like I was told it would. Was there something wrong with me? Later, as I began my career working with expectant and new parents I learned that some women need to hold onto the extra weight. Turns out I was completely “normal”!

Some women just don’t lose weight while breastfeeding!

Hormones are partly to blame. Prolactin, the essential hormone responsible for milk production can also reduce your body’s ability to metabolize fat. Especially during the first six months of breastfeeding. Generally speaking, moms who are breastfeeding will need to take in between 1800-2200 calories or more per day. Consuming less than 1500-1800 calories per day may put a woman’s milk supply in danger. A person’s baseline caloric needs depend upon their activity level, weight, and nutritional status. So naturally, a person’s ability to lose weight while breastfeeding will vary.

Like many thing in life there’s a wide range of normal!

Exclusively breastfeeding moms need about 300-500 extra calories each day. That’s right at or above what they “need” during the third trimester of pregnancy. Take in too few calories and your metabolism slows down to conserve and will hold onto that “extra” weight you gained in pregnancy. This is your body’s natural response and helps you maintain weight instead of losing it. Take in too many calories and you risk gaining weight or holding onto the weight just the same.

Another reason you may not lose weight while breastfeeding is lack of sleep!

Sleep is an essential ingredient for a healthy life. Your mental, physical, and emotional health depend on good sleep quality at the right quantity. Chronic sleep debt can sabotage all your valiant efforts.

Oh, my gawd!

So, you’re a new mom who needs sleep to heal and function optimally. You also have a new baby who needs your boobs, basically around the clock for nourishment and comfort. A new baby, learning to breastfeed, and quality sleep aren’t typically things that mesh well together. So, what’s a new mom to do?

Funny story, when I was nursing our 2nd son I felt like a giant cow. I almost dressed up as a cow for Halloween that year after telling my husband during a shopping trip while walking and nursing our son, “I swear I feel like a cow always being milked,” and then I turned around to see a cow costume in front of us in Target. We both busted out laughing, but if I’m being honest I shed some tears in Target that day..

So what gives? Are you screwed?

Nah! Not at all!

Here are 5 tips to help you lose weight while breastfeeding if you are struggling to shed any of the pregnancy weight by 3 months postpartum:

  1. Stick to water instead of drinks that are moderate or high in sugars. Love your coffee? That’s cool, keep that cup of coffee, but cut the sugar and use a teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup instead.
  2. Exercise daily in a way that’s appropriate for you. Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure what appropriate is for you!
  3. Breastfeeding your baby frequently and for longer than six months can help increases weight loss.
  4. Reduce your stress levels by taking time out of EVERY day for you!
  5. Eat at least 1500-1800 calories per day, most moms need to stay at the high end of that range. Try eating lots of healthy snacks instead of 3 meals each day.

Still on the struggle bus?

If you struggle like I did to lose weight while breastfeeding it may help you to know, you’re not alone. Many women, just like you and me experience a pause in weight loss. While it can make you feel defeated it’s important to stay the course! The good news; if you continue to eat and exercise appropriately for your body’s specific needs and abilities and implement little changes along the way you will see weight loss in time. In fact, like me and many other moms who held onto the weight you just might see it start to come off after you stop nursing.

Whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, pumping, or combo feeding The Jax Baby Company is here to help you every step of the way.

Through breastfeeding in the wee hours of the morning, to lots of late nights running together, we’re there to help you maximize your sleep and bond with your baby. We’re here to cheer you on as you head to your Pilates class and to hand you a bottle of water as you nurse your baby after a nice hot shower! We can tap in so you can tap out! Let us lighten your load and help you lose weight while breastfeeding. All you have to do is contact us!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

Elizabeth

Research

Lovelady CA, et al. Weight change during lactation does not alter the concentrations of chlorinated organic contaminants in breast milk of women with low exposure.

McCrory MA, et al. Randomized trial of the short-term effects of dieting compared with dieting plus aerobic exercise on lactation performance (link is to full article). Am J Clin Nutr 1999 May;69(5):959-67.

Dewey KG. Effects of maternal caloric restriction and exercise during lactation (link is to full article). J Nutr 1998 Feb;128(2 Suppl):386S-389S.

Journal search on dieting and exercise during lactation

Chill Your Tits, It’s Just Milk!

chill your tits, it's just milk Jax, FL | Jax, FL Breastfeeding

Chill Your Tits, It’s Just Milk!

Seriously people, chill your tits, it’s just milk! Adultish language will be used! f-bombs will be dropped, and I ain’t even sorry if you keep reading after you’ve read this warning! How is it that people who love tits still have hang-ups over them? The fact that they are biologically designed to produce milk is just too damn much to handle for some! Tits are the real O.G. They are multi-functioning, badass lady bags! Ready at a moments notice, tits are there to satisfy and soothe babies. They soothe babies who are hungry, tired, getting vaccines, hitting a growth spurt, (fucking) teething, sick, or who are just straight over your ass!

These bad bitches pull double duty too!

Not only do they feed and soothe babies they’re also visually pleasing to the eye. Even in their most tired, deflated state! YES, they are still desirable! A diamond is still a diamond! So why then am I here writing this blog to tell you (whoever the hell you are) to chill? Can’t you chill your tits, it’s just milk? If you’re weirded out, or just plain disgusted over a little (or a fuck ton) of milk leaking or spraying on you or in your mouth during sex, it’s time to evaluate why. I’m not talking about disliking the taste of breastmilk. The sensation of liquid dripping on you, I’m not referring to that either. I’m talking about the actual fact that tits make milk. The fact that they will do whatever the hell they want when they want, including while you are interested in them sexually!

Women are amazing in their entirety!

If you’re reading this maybe you need to hear what I am about to say. Please know that any person who has negative comments to say about your tits making milk has issues. There’s nothing wrong with your tits making milk! Even if your baby weaned years ago and your tits are still sending you liquid reminds of how badass they are, you are amazing. To those reading this who are uncomfortable, that is your issue and no one else’s! If you’re reading this and a woman is inviting you into her space whether it’s for casual enjoyment or deep and meaningful sex if you accept the invite it’s a sacred space! Bitch or make any hurtful remarks or smartass comments and they can be revoked and may no longer be available for your pleasure any longer.

There’s no shame in having issues, we all have issues! It’s simple really, work through them, seek help to do so, enjoy tits again! Otherwise, chill out! It’s only milk!

Let the nasty comments and tit shaming commence! Followed soon after by giving no fucks and a fuck ton of rebuttal!

The Jacksonville Baby Company receives numerous emails from women each year who ask questions like, “my milk won’t dry up, my sex life has taken a dip,” “why are guys immediately turned off when my tits leak a little milk,” and “please tell me life with boobs gets better after having kids.” We reply with encouragement and science, no surprise there!

Seriously though, OMG, chill your tits, it’s just milk people!

Again, work through your issues, get over your fear of tits, enjoy them, or in the words of Ludacris, “move bitch, get out the way!”

Happy Birth & Parenting,

~Elizabeth Luke

All You Need To Breastfeed Your Baby

All You Need To Breastfeed Your Baby

First Coast Doulas knows that all you need to breastfeed your baby begins with you!

all you need to breastfeed your baby labor coach Jacksonville

I see it literally every day. Well-meaning people giving bad advice on breastfeeding that leads to mothers spending unnecessary money and time on “things” to help them breastfeed their babies. These ideas are well meaning, but bad.  They also create a false hope that if they buy and do all these things they will be able to breastfeed. Sometimes mothers choose to switch to formula when they could have otherwise accomplished their goals of breastfeeding their infant.

That’s not to say choosing formula is a bad thing. It isn’t. There’s no right or wrong way to feed your baby, just different ways. We all feed with loving intention and to me that’s a win. As a postpartum Doula if it appears our clients are struggling with breastfeeding, I always ask first, “Do you want to continue to breastfeed?” There is a fine line between encouraging and pushing, and we always remain supportive!

So here is a quick list of bad, but well-meaning advice along with a list of good ideas, links, videos, and resources.

Well-Meaning, Bad Advice;

  • Buy a breast pump to see how much milk you’re making. Pumping, while helpful in some situations, is not a good indicator of how much milk your baby is getting while nursing. Your baby transfers milk much more effectively than any pump. A better indicator is wet and dirty diapers and just being in tune with your baby.
  • Feed your baby as soon as they cry. Nope. You want to avoid waiting until they cry when possible. Crying is the last cue that your baby wants to breastfeed. Look for other cues, like, smacking their lips, putting their hand to their mouth, and opening their mouth and moving their head back and forth. Most of the time if you baby is awake in those first couple of weeks they will want to suckle at the breast. This is your baby’s genius way of ensuring he has a milk supply to nourish him.
  • Feed you baby for ___ minutes on each side every ____ hours. Wrong! Feed your baby for as long as your baby is suckling on the breast. When they stop, stroke their cheek and if they start to suckle again keep them there until they no longer respond to the stroking. Then offer the other side if they show cues again. Many of our clients breathe a sigh of relief when we tell them, you don’t have to focus on the clock, focus on your baby. Babies need to suckle at the breast a lot in those early weeks to establish their supply. It’s a supply and demand concept, the more your baby demands by sucking, the more your breast supplies the milk needed.
  • Buy nipple shields and cream now because breastfeeding hurts. WOAH! No way, breastfeeding doesn’t have to be painful. If it is it’s most likely because baby doesn’t have a correct/deep latch. Knowing how to get a good latch is key. There is an excellent video below that demonstrates breastfeeding, what a proper latch looks like, how to get that latch, and also shows a variety of cultures and different size breasts and nipples, all perfect for breastfeeding.
  • In addition to the things I already listed I can’t leave out special teas, supplements, cookies, etc. As a rule you don’t NEED any of these things to breastfeed your baby. There are exceptions to all rules, but as a rule you don’t need to run out and stock up on these things. They can be costly and create doubt.

Good Advice to Consider;

  • Familiarize yourself with what breastfeeding looks like. Watch other moms breastfeed their babies. Ask a friend, family member, or co-worker you know who breastfeeds if they would let you sit with them while they feed their baby. The United States has gotten so far away from feeding babies from the breasts that many people have never seen this done. That is changing, but it’s still stigmatized or seen as taboo. Don’t be afraid, many are more than happy to help out another woman who wants to feed her baby with her breasts.
  • Find a breastfeeding support group in your area, like La Leche League, there may be more than one, Jacksonville has several.
  • Stay skin to skin with your baby as much as possible in the first six weeks of life, NOT just when feeding your baby. This may mean that some visitors may need to postpone their visits or expect to see your breasts. Here’s some science behind skin to skin.
  • Get the contact information to one or two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants in the area that come recommended. If you need that recommendation don’t hesitate to contact us! Contact them and ask questions like, Are you available around my due date? Do you make house calls? How do you feel about x, y, and z?

First Coast Doulas wants you to know that you’re equipped with exactly what you need to feed your baby without any equipment to buy or books to read, period. That’s the bottom line. Women have been feeding their babies from their breasts since the beginning of time.

Remember breastfeeding is more than just a way to feed your baby. It’s bonding, comfort, nourishment, and so much more!