Google+ Authentic Parenting: Breastfeeding and Weightloss

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breastfeeding and Weightloss

It is often said that breastfeeding helps you obtain your prepregnancy weight more quickly. This is not an absolute truth. Some breastfeeding mothers struggle to get back to their normal weight all the same.
For me, I remained the same weight I had after giving birth for twenty months, and then quickly lost the other kilo's. Strangely, that was at the same time my cycle started up.

Image: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

So I have this theory that weightloss in breastfeeding has a correlation with the onset of the menstrual cycle. How was it for you? Do you see a relation between your cycle starting up and weightloss? Or is this just a personal thing?



  1. I had dropped a few pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight within 2 months after the birth. I'm still waiting for my first period 13 months on, so for me, the correlation doesn't work. A few more lost pounds after my period comes back would be nice though!

  2. Hi Mama Poekie
    I am really struggling with post pregnancy weight gain. I am still breastfeeding at 21 months, but I started to gain weight after the pregnancy. Maybe it is because I am an older Mom?
    I lost all my weight gain of the pregnancy directly after the birth, but started to pick up weight with the onset of my period at 5 months.
    Hormones seem to be the problem... (?)

  3. Hmm... I was 99lbs before I got pregnant, ballooned up to 136lbs before gave birth, shed 15lbs within 2 weeks after delivery and 3 months after that, back to my 99lbs.

    As for menstrual cycle, it only returned 25 months from the time I was pregnant. Those 25 months were a bliss.. the cycle is still pretty irregular now :(

    ~ Jenny ( )

  4. There goes my theory... Still keeps me wondering what it is that makes some women lose the pounds like melting snow and others just struggle.
    @MomAgain: I don't know if it's a question of age, I am still quite young, but I'm really struggling with this weight and breastfeeding thing to. Well I've been struggling with my weight my entire life so that's not new

  5. I dropped a HUGE amount of weight within the first 3 months pp and i would probably credit that to breastfeeding (god knows it wasn't the donuts). at six months i was below my pre-pregnancy weight. now at a year i'm like skin and bones (with giant boobs). i'm not complaining at all, but i've had no control over it.

    (oh, and at 13 months pp i'm still not cycling, so i don't think that's had an effect)

    just my experience!

  6. Touchy subject for me! Just kidding. I was disappointed at the lack of weight loss though - but honestly I don't know if it was the breastfeeding or the Mirena that caused my issues - I want to say it was the Mirena.

    Weighed 160 pre-preg, 190 at nine months, 175 directly after giving birth, stayed that weight for six weeks (until I had Mirena inserted) and then ballooned back up to 200 lbs. I got the Mirena taken out (but my supply was permanently damaged.) I continued BF as much as I could spite the supply problems until my LO's 1st birthday, then I joined a gym. I haven't lost a damn pound yet and that was 2 months ago. =(

  7. I'm still nursing, and have yet to see my 1st postpartum period. I have GAINED a ton of weight since delivery. :( And it's not an age thing, I'm only 23..

  8. I probably didn't eat enough for the first few months after pregnancy, in part because of my depression and so I lost a lot of weight. At 11 months postpartum I am thirty pounds beneath my pre-pregnancy weight (which puts me at 5'6 and 142-ish, a health place to be).

    I've wondered if hair loss has anything to do with menstruation, because I started losing my hair at about 3 months pp, just after my period started up again. My sister just barely began hers again at 13 months pp (she didn't use a pacifier) and hasn't lost her hair yet.

  9. I'm only six months post-partum, but I'll weigh in. No pun intended.

    I only gained six pounds during pregnancy. I lost that plus an extra ten mere hours after giving birth.

    But I've been at that same weight for the past six months. I weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy but my body is by no means the same. My muscle mass is much less and I seem to be a bit softer around the middle.

    I still haven't started my period back up (we're ecologically breastfeeding so I hope to postpone that as long as possible) so I'm not sure if that will play a difference.

    I do think that the breastfeeding hormones limit your ability to gain muscle and burn more fat, though.

  10. By 9 months I was 10 lbs less than before I was pregnant and hadn't gotten my period yet. I'm not sure what I am now (we don't have a scale), but I'm sure it's even less because my clothes are even baggier. I'm currently 13 months postpartum and still nursing with the best of them. I still haven't gotten my period (but I also have an IUD now, so who know may not ever...).

  11. @Arual: yes the hairloss thing is definately hormonal, and thus linked to your cycle starting up again. In fact... it isn't really hairloss. During pregnancy, you just don't or hardly shed hair, so all those hairs that accumulated over those 9 months have to be shed all at once once your cycle returns

  12. With all 7 of my children I tend to hold onto at least 10 pounds until I totally wean. For me I think it is the period thing. My newest little one is almost 9 months old and I haven't had a period yet. I plan on shedding my last 10 pounds (I gained about 40)when my period starts some time in the future. I don't plan on weaning anytime soon.

  13. My pregnancy pounds melted off over the next 9 months postpartum, and I maintained my goal weight throughout my breastfeeding career. My periods didn't come back for about a year each time, so for me it didn't correlate. While breastfeeding I could indulge in regular sweets, which wasn't the case before, and certainly isn't now. Yay for breastfeeding!

  14. I think I've been one of the lucky ones because I easily lost the pregnancy weight and more besides after each of my boys. I'd always struggled to lose weight before and was a little overweight when I first got pregnant (UK size 14/16). But after my first son I dropped the extra weight and went down a whole jeans size (UK 12) without trying at all. I put it down to breastfeeding and babywearing (which encourages me to walk rather than drive and means I burn more calories when I do). I don't remember when my periods came back but I don't think it correlated. My second son was born 7 months ago so am still breastfeeding and no return of cycle yet. But once again I've dropped a jeans size - I'm now UK 10 which I haven't been in over 15 years!! Just hope I can maintain it once my breastfeeding and babywearing days are over.

  15. cherrylane... I am a tad bit jealous now... ;)

  16. I gained a LOT of weight during pregnancy and have found it seems to be coming off slowly yet surely as the months go by. There seems to be a correlation between decreasing breastfeeding and losing the weight - but that is MY body and I don't think that is true for everyone. I was very thin before I got pregnant as I had recently had an operation and I suspect my body wanted to hang onto every calorie in case it was deprived during its all important job of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

    As an aside, my friends who have regained their pre pregnancy bodies easily have simply walked it off..............

  17. I had my 3rd baby last May and I have being losing weight successfully since. I did however get my cycle back 3 months post partum and I was much heavier to begin with, I'm already 15 lbs lower than my pre pregnancy weight with for all three kids (yay :)). I also would like to add too that I have read that there is a major correlation between weight loss and sleeping. I feel that in many cases the weight loss benefits of breastfeeding are negated by the lack of quality and quantity of sleep that mothers have.

  18. I think yr theory works for me..I gained almost 30kg during pregnancy without eating too much, and lost 14.5kg the first 10days post partum. No matter what I did after that, I only managed to lose another 5.5kg during the next five months, and that was not at the time I was on a diet!Now I m on the 5th month of breastfeeding and I just got my periods for the first time..I ve been loosing hair like crazy for some weeks now, but at least I think I will start losing some weight..That's because during the past two weeks my belly got significantly smaller, and all of a sudden I stopped looking like 6months pregnant! I am curious to c what will happen with the remaining weight, as I do not plan on weaning yet..


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