6.24.2008

PREGNANCY WEIGHT LOSS FOR DUMMIES

This post was inspired by Amber's comment on my last post, not because she is a dummy, but because I have been reminded that losing post-pregnancy weight is not as hard as people think.

"Cristin you look amazing! No more fat face- hooray! it definitely doesn't look like you just had Charlie a month ago... any secrets I should be aware of?? :)"

First, I wanted to say that Amber's comment was really flattering because, in my world, I am still really fat. I have 15 more pounds to lose until I am back to my pre-pregnancy size. I'm not very diligent when it comes to eating well or exercising however, so I'm guessing it'll take another 8 months before I lose the weight. (Imagine what I could do if I did exercise or stopped eating ice cream every night?!)

While I may not yet be successful with this post-pregnancy weight, I can tell you what I did to lose the weight after Luke. It's called BREASTFEEDING!

Besides all the other major benefits, the average woman will burn 500 calories a day to produce 24 to 28 ounces of milk. The more you nurse, the more milk you produce, the more calories you burn!

There are a lot of excuses why women don't breastfeed. Here are some of the most common -

"It hurts."
Well, exercising hurts. I would much rather burn calories while holding a baby and watching television on the couch. Besides, after awhile it shouldn't be painful if you're doing it correctly. If you continue to have problems or suffer from an infection, there are things you can do to solve the problem without ceasing to breastfeed.

"It takes too much time."

You would have to walk up stairs for 1 hour straight to burn the 500 calories that your body will do naturally if you are nursing. Who has time to walk stairs for 1 hour straight when they are preparing bottles all day for a new baby?

"I ran out of milk. I can't keep up with my baby."
Your body is made to produce milk in response to your baby's need. What you are able to pump is no indication of what you are actually producing. Scheduled feedings (you should feed on demand), pacifiers, and supplementing will interfere with your supply, especially at the beginning. Many new moms don't realize that it is perfectly normal to nurse their baby 12 times a day. Instead, they interpret their baby's need to suck as a sign that they aren't producing enough milk. If your baby is not getting milk, you will know by looking at his or her diapers.

So, I kind of went off on a tangent, but nursing is very important to me. I think it is really crucial for new mothers, like Amber, to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding. I would encourage every first time mom to either read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or attend a La Leche League meeting once before their baby is born. Women struggling to breastfeed should seek help from a lactation consultant or La Leche League leader. Believe it or not, but pediatricians do not always give correct advice about breastfeeding! You may encounter problems, but if you are determined to nurse your baby, you almost always can. Plus, how else would a lazy slob like me lose 500 calories a day?

[The major irony of this entire post is that Amber weighs 120 lbs. at 6 months pregnant. She even had someone ask her last week if she should be using the Stork Parking at Babies 'R Us because she doesn't look pregnant. As if someone would park in that spot who isn't pregnant!]

25 comments:

  1. Yeah, I am down 25 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I would guess largely due to breastfeeding. I still have a fat face, though, probably due to my love of cakes and other baked goods! I still have about 30 to lose. I didn't gain all that much during pregnancy either, so that helped. I also agree totally about pediatricians giving bad advice. Both of my sisters in law quit early due to bad advice. One was told not to nurse more often than every two hours, even for a newborn. Ridiculous. I was nursing on the hour it seemed for the first two months!

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  2. Wow. That was inspiring Cristin. I am a total believer in breastfeeding. I will be completely honest about my weight: I gained about 50 pounds during my pregnancy. Jonah is now 8 months old and I almost weigh what I did at age 13. I do NOT want to lose anymore but that gives everyone an idea of what nursing can do! I know for a fact it's that because I haven't exercised since I had Jonah.(yes, I know I'M A TOTAL BUM) You will lose the weight soon Cristin! You look great Charlie is only a couple months old! Jonah has started biting, and sometimes I just want to stop all together, but I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night to make him a bottle!

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  3. Cristin i love your posts, you crack me up! you have no idea how comforting it is for me to hear what a weight loss miracle breast feeding is, thanks for the info! I knew it helped burn calories but didn't realize it was THAT MANY... God really does have a way of making the physical aspect of having children worthwhile! now it makes (a little) more sense to me why some women breastfeed until their kids are 5... and granted I may only be 120 pounds but I was 90 when I got pregnant, so that's already 30 pounds in 6 months, I'm catching to Caitlin :)

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  4. p.s... i've heard conflicting opinions, how long did you breastfeed Luke??

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  5. I've really learned to admire you mothers that get to breastfeed. I've learned to keep my mouth shut when talking abou these things because I have no experience -- so if I've ever offended you by saying something stupid - sorry.

    I so wish I could lose weight by breastfeeding right now. That would be awesome!

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  6. Amber - I nursed Luke till he was 15 months old. I was planning on nursing him till he was 2, but when I got pregnant with Charlie, my body was having a hard time feeding two children, so I made the decision to stop. The AAP (I think that's what it's called) recommends that you nurse a kid till there are at least one. The World Health Organization says until they are at least two.

    LeMira - I don't think I've ever heard you say anything stupid, but you know what's funny is all the idiotic things I know I said before I had children to people who had kids. You live, you learn.

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  7. different strokes for different folks

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  8. I was all about breastfeeding too and did it diligently for 2 months. However, my baby kept losing weight and the doctor told me that I had to supplement or essentially my baby would die. Trust me, I tried pumping between feedings, mama's milk tea, prescription drugs to increase my supply, etc. Breastfeeding is not for everyone. Since my body wasn't making much milk, I wasn't burning any extra calories anyway. Running is what got me back into shape.

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  9. Thanks Cristin, thats good to know, I had heard one but that didn't seem like a long enough time to me, but I agree that listening to your body is the best way to judge! :)

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  10. Wasn't it a few posts back that you said you parked in the "Stork parking" at babies r us and you aren't pregnant?!! lol.......in response to your "as if someone would park in that spot who isn't pregnant"

    Uh....not that I've been blog stalking you or anything.....crap! Busted!

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  11. Breastfeeding is amazing when it comes to weight loss! I think I lost all the pregnancy weight before Ryan was even two months old! Hopefully I still keep losing (I wasn't at an ideal weight at the beginning of all of this...) I agree with you when it comes to getting help if breastfeeding isn't working and you want to give up, Ryan had a hard time latching on as soon as we got home from the hospital and as a result lost almost a pound and a half. We were put on a strict feeding schedule where we had to measure how much he ate...meaning bottle feed. I refused to use formula, so I pumped every hour. Once he gained the weight back, I worked with a lactation consultant to get him to nurse again. It did get really stressful and took a lot of time, but now we have no problems!!! Sometimes I wonder if it was for selfish reasons that I was so stubborn and knew nursing would help me loose the weight or if it was all for Ryan...it was for Ryan, but the other outcome was pretty great too!
    Good for you for being such a great advocate for breastfeeding, not too many people are!

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  12. I just realized that my comment may seem like I was trying to look good or something...not what I meant. I just wanted to show that even if you do have problems with nursing, it is possible to still do it.

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  14. To each their own. I think breastfeeding is the way to go - if it is possible - but nobody knows anything about another person's situation. Breastfeeding is a personal situation and no mom should be made to feel bad about that decision.

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  15. I have a "friend" who was breastfed until she was 4 and it haunts her everyday.

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  16. Kelley -
    i love how you talk about yourself in the 3rd person.

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  17. hello, I am your friendly blog stalker. I TOTALly agree with you. BUT, I think I am holding onto the weight while I breastfeed. BUT, I love it. At first I thought I would just do it till my baby was a year, but now I just love it so much I think I will go till I am done.

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  18. I can't help but wonder if the weight loss thing is partly genetic, too. For me, I never lost weight until after I stopped breastfeeding and I've heard the same thing from several other moms, including two of my sisters-in-law that had four kids each and breastfed until their kids were at least 18 months old. After they stopped breastfeeding, they dropped the weight really fast. But I really appreciated Gina's comment. Everyone has different experiences (and in some cases trials) with breastfeeding. For me, I couldn't get Kaitlyn to latch on right, even with the help of a few different lactation consultants and she was losing weight rapidly and had to be given a bottle. So I ended up pumping for four months and finally gave up (I was lucky that my milk supply didn't go away and I didn't need to give her any formula during that time). With Gavin, it was definitely painful for the first month, but after that it was a piece of cake. But I can sympethize with those that have a lot of trouble with it!

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  19. I thought breastfeeding was totally going to help me lose weight, I think I depended on it so much that I still ate like crap. Also Chloe has never consumed very much compared to other babies/kids.

    I disagree that you think everyone should do it. I only know people who wanted to but couldn't because of medication they had to be on, or because they had flat nipples & tried, & pumped for a few months, but decided they rather be mentally there. I think it is best you are mentally there because you here stories about people shaking their child under frustrating circumstances. Putting that much pressure on saying you should only breastfeed is really ignorant of other people's situation. I think everyone should try and do what is best for them.

    My friend who was on medication and couldn't breastfeed has the smartest child. Walking by 7.5 months, and saying words like elephant by 16 months. 18 months she was asked what shape is the sun and said circle. I think breastfeeding does have great benefits, but it is more about the influence of your parents, not weather you were breastfeed or not.

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  20. I never said that EVERYONE should do it, obviously there are unique circumstances that will prevent people from nursing - like you bring up, Ashley, if it's causing severe mental issues, DON'T DO IT. If someone feels like they are going to shake and hurt their baby because of it maybe they have greater problems they need to deal with.

    What I said was that if there is a problem and you really want to nurse, there are resources to help you.

    You will not have a stupid baby if you give them formula. If that was the case, there would be a lot of really stupid people.

    What did people do before baby formula existed when they got frustrated with nursing? There are obviously solutions for SIMPLE problems or babies back then would have died. What is sad to me is that people stop because of simple problems. I am not referring to severe mental problems or medical conditions that cause people to be unable to breastfeed.

    I understand that people have legitimate problems, i.e., I have friends who had medical conditions that prevented them from nursing so of course they didn't nurse and that's not their fault because no one would expect them to. However, when my hairdresser tells me that she doesn't want to nurse her baby because it will tie her down to her child too much or she tried once and it hurt, I think that is ignorant.

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  21. well, there actually are a lot of really stupid people in the world. maybe you're onto something...

    i think breastfeeding is wonderful even though i've had a lot of difficulty with it in the past. i will do it again if i have another baby, but I will say this, I would rather have every muscle in my body sore and aching from some ridiculous workout video than have cracked, bleeding nipples [sorry people for the graphics] being pulled and bit and mutilated hourly for months on end. i'm just cringing at the memory of it all. still, all power to the La Leche Leaguers.

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  22. Just to answer a question that Cristin raised in her comment about what people did before formula existed and you had problems w/breastfeeding...answer: they had wet nurses(my great grandma was one! Cool huh!?). You would hire another woman who could breastfeed your child for you. Luckily now we don't have to do that and have the opportunity to bottle feed if it comes down to riskiness of babies life or mom's health both mentally and/or physically

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  23. Great post, and I don't think you were calling people who don't nurse lame-o's. IT is hard and it does hurt. I told my dad when he asked why I couldn't just do my breathing exercises through it that I would rather go through labor again than that first trip through nursing. In the end it is totally worth it and most of the time, it does only take about 6 weeks to get over. I do have to put a word in for my mom who nursed all nine of us and got sore and cracked with each one. She didn't give up! If you really want to do it, you will do it and can get help! Good luck all you prospecitive nursers!

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  24. Sorry If I was harsh, but I was reading your blog thinking of my friend who (for the record) she never said they wanted to shake their baby, but said her mental state was more important. I just thought down the road if she keep trying...

    She gets the looks from other moms in her ward like, "you don't breastfeed?" and give her that look. She doesn't defend herself because she doesn't think it is worth explaining to other people her reasons for it, and why should she have to.

    I get really defensive as you can see over friends and family. If I was my friend reading it I might have taken offense because I didn't see in your post anything about legitimate reasons for not breastfeeding, until your recent comment.

    I feel like most of my friends usually make the right choices on parenting, on what is best for their family. But I do agree that there are people out there who don't know the benefits and do what is just easiest for them.

    I hope you don't hate me now.

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  25. Ashley - I don't hate you. You brought up a good point. I was trying to bring up the lack of good "breastfeeding education" that people get.

    Just don't beat me up when I see you next time.

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