2013 week 30: The baby fat and breastfeeding myth

“The pounds will melt off.”

This is what everyone tells you after you have a baby and plan to breastfeed. You supposedly burn an extra 500 calories per day feeding a baby.

Even with the insatiable appetite that can come with nursing, I kept hearing how I’d be back to prepregnancy weight in no time.

I didn’t gain a lot — about 25 pounds with each baby. I exercised as much as possible throughout both pregnancies and didn’t binge (very much).

But the ego takes a hit when, day after day, you have no choice but to shimmy into maternity pants. The stretchy waistband was meant to make room for the baby in the belly, not the baby who is close to crawling.

I nursed both girls and it took some four months to be able to suck-and-squeeze into even pre-baby fat-day clothes.

Nearly 6 months post baby No. 2 and there’s a mountain of jeans and shorts and skirts that greet me in the morning into which these thighs do not fit.

(By the way, there’s a quick trip to postpartum depression via trying on skinny clothes after you have a baby. Dumb, dumb, dumb. No matter what the scale says, the pounds have rearranged themselves in ways that make tricky work of dressing without muffin tops)

I was in the best shape of my life when I got pregnant with Sophie. I was running 20-plus miles a week, eating healthy while, of course, making room for ice cream and cocktails. I felt strong and healthy.

I lost most of the pregnancy weight in the weeks after delivery. But a nagging five stuck around no matter what I did.

When we decided to try for another baby, a little (OK, a LOT of) pre-conception indulgence brought back a few of the pounds I’d lost. Good thinkin’.

I gained another 25 with Olivia and didn’t drop the weight nearly as quickly.

I began working out as soon as I was cleared by my doctor: Walks almost every day, the occasional Yoga video, small hand weights several times a week. But the extra pounds clung — like a drowning man to a life raft.

Five pounds doesn’t seem like much. But do the math from first pregnancy through the second and I am a good 15 to 20 pounds heavier than I was before kids. That’s something.

So much for pounds melting away.

There may, however, be hope. Anecdotal evidence suggests nature may have developed a way for some women’s bodies hold on to extra fat stores while nursing. In case of famine, mothers could still produce milk for baby even while you starve. That’s good.

More good news — I found some moms online who dropped the sticking-around pounds almost immediately after weaning without much effort.

I hope this is the case for me. I’m not expecting my half-marathon-training self just because I’m no longer producing my daughter’s food. But I am certainly hopeful this squish finds its way out of here. UHG.

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About Tara McLaughlin

I'm a stay-at-home mom to two girls in my boyfriend's hometown of Bern, Switzerland. Life as a new mom in a foreign country has been, in so many ways, rewarding and challenging. I will document that journey here, on Another 52 Weeks.
This entry was posted in Body and Soul, Kids, Week by Week and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 2013 week 30: The baby fat and breastfeeding myth

  1. carla mack says:

    maybe I am too biased, but I think you really should work on a novel … I think your writing style (you are sincere and fun at the same time) could give Evanovich a run for the money …

    ________________________________

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