Posted By: Abigail Walston
I'm returning to work as a teacher in September. I'm not a big fan of pumping and my son has rarely used bottles so I know that going back to work is going to be a big adjustment for both of us.
"Breastfeeding gives you a six-pack," my best friend stated matter-of-factly. I had heard her say this before. She doesn't yet have children so it's kind of funny to hear this from her.
"Um, have you seen my belly lately?" I asked her. Of course she hadn't, unless she caught a glimpse of the flabby pale skin with purple stretch marks when I lifted my shirt to breastfeed. I most certainly do not have washboard abs.
I didn't gain an inordinate amount of weight with my pregnancy: the 40 pounds that I put on was within the healthy range for weight gain. After losing about 25 pounds in the first few weeks after giving birth to Joshua, I assumed the rest of the weight would melt off and I'd be below my pre-pregnancy weight in no time, especially since I was planning to exclusively breastfeed. Yeah right. I'm still hanging on to those last 10 pounds at seven months postpartum. But really, to me it's not about the weight. It's about how I feel, and I feel big.
I had thought I'd start losing weight again when I went back to work, since I'm on my feet and climb up and down three flights of stairs many times throughout the day. I bring healthy food for snacks and lunch, drink plenty of water, continue to express milk at work and breastfeed on-demand at home. But the weight hasn't come off. It turns out those rumors I had heard about it being easier to lose weight while breastfeeding do not ring true for me. Now I've heard from many mothers that their bodies hung on to those last 10 pounds until their babies stopped nursing.
I refuse to deprive myself of whole, real foods in order to lose weight. I know that I need to eat a healthy diet in order to continue to produce milk for Joshua, and I plan to continue to express milk for him while I'm at work until he's at least a year old. I don't want to harshly restrict my diet and end up reducing my milk supply. Worse yet, there's risk of depleting my body of nutrients because they're going into the milk I produce and not being replaced. I'd like to stay as healthy as possible, since I would like to have more children in the future.
I'm learning to live with the new me. I am a nursing mother. My body looks this way because I have carried Joshua inside me for nine months, and I have continued to nourish him for seven months and counting. I never feel uncomfortable at home, but somehow I feel less professional at work because I'm larger. I need to get over that, it's purely mental. I'm focusing on dressing nicely in clothes that fit my new body, wearing jewelry that I love and fixing my hair, so I can feel confident about how I look. I may not have a six-pack, but I never had one before anyway.1:11pm on Wednesday December 15
I held onto at least 5 extra pounds for the first year and continued nursing for 2 years plus after. I lost the weight and then some and then I got pregnant again! You look beautiful and I'm sure your little guy thinks you are the most gorgeous amazing person alive.
The weight will come off, :-)
My baby is two old today - ove your post...enjoy the season as you are!
Wow. "A six-pack?" I'm, um, 3.5 years post-partum, and while I'm at my pre-baby weight, I definitely don't have my flat tummy back. Of course, if I spent a little time exercising, that might help! :-)
I agree with you. Don't worry about those last 10 lbs. until after you're done nursing. My mom always told me, "It took you 9 months to grow a baby. It should take 9 months to get rid of the extra weight." But she didn't take into account the body's needs while providing nurishment, aka nursing. The body really does not want to give up those last fat reserves needed for nursing. Why fight nature? :-)
So continue to eat healthy, get a bit of exercise, and nursing your bebe. After you're done with the nursing stage, you'll probably find it relatively easy to get rid of those last 10 pounds.
If you would like to lose more weight without depriving yourself consider the 6 meal a day method. 6 smaller meals (all contianing good fats and lean protien) some veggies and a little bit of carbs. The other thing to consider is that it took you 9 months to gain the weight, you still have 2 more months to go.
I lost all the weight, numbers-wise, and more, but my body has changed shape so much that you'd never be able to tell. My abs (that is, the muscles in the abdominal area, no so much the belly-baring incentive)never came together again... so I was actually thrilled to be pregnant again, so I can start over again with pilates and yoga post baby. I didn't do well "working out" because I felt like the more I exercised, the less Liam wanted to nurse. And I didn't need him doing that! It is what it is, stretch marks, flab and all.
Amen. Your body needs those ten pounds of fat in order to provide healthy breastmilk. I have found yoga to be very helpful in making me feel good about my body because I feel so strong when I do it, and it also strengthens the core muscles that are weakened by pregnancy and childbirth.