Are you gaining weight while breastfeeding your child? Or are you that genetically-blessed female whose body weight sheds down without doing anything during breastfeeding?
Throughout our lives, we have been listening to this common perception that all the weight gained during pregnancy or postpartum reduces as you breastfeed your child. Let us break it down to you that this is not something to believe in holistically.
Many studies have revealed that the rate of shedding down postpartum weight in females who breastfeed their children is faster than in females who do not breastfeed.
Scientifically, it is admitted on a large scale that breastfeeding helps with weight loss. But at the same time, breastfeeding has proven to be ineffective in losing postpartum weight in a large number of females.
So, if you are suffering from weight gain while breastfeeding your newborn, this blog post will help you understand its causes. If you desperately wish to put back your pre-baby clothes but are unaware of why the baby weight is not moving out even after regularly breastfeeding your baby, keep reading because we are disclosing common reasons behind it.
Is Breastfeeding Related to Weight Gain?
Breastfeeding alone does not contribute to gaining weight. Still, the calories a new mom consumes to produce a sufficient quantity of milk and lack of sleep contribute to weight gain.
Did you know that almost 20 calories are lost in producing an ounce of breastmilk? But alas, the hormonal interaction in each female body is different. Even after producing sufficiently high breastmilk quantity, many females have complained about weight gain.
The anxiety of breastfeeding is real. The stress of feeding your newly born with enough milk is real, and this stress leads to gaining weight while breastfeeding after pregnancy. When a female feels stressed, it triggers the production of cortisol (stress hormone).
Reasons for Gaining Weight While Breastfeeding
Losing baby weight postpartum is not as easy as people have made it sound. Remember that it took nine months to gain that weight. It would take at least that long to cut it off. If you believe that breastfeeding would gradually help you get rid of that baby weight, we hope it works for you.
But it does not work for every woman, and that’s for sure!
If breastfeeding is not helping you melt away those extra sticky pounds, there could be various reasons involved, as we have stated below.
Reason#1: You are eating more than your body needs
Throughout the pregnancy, it is assumed that the female has to double the meal portion to ensure the healthy development of the baby inside. Many studies have suggested that most females during their 2nd and 3rd trimesters have gained extra weight that is not healthier. The weight gained during this phase is extremely tough to lose after giving birth.
During breastfeeding, although a female loses approximately 300 to 400 calories to produce milk, the weight gain remains obvious. This is because, to produce enough breastmilk, new moms are likely to consume more calories than their daily needs.
During the postpartum phase, intense cravings arise as many moms always feel hungry. It makes them eat unhealthy food that lacks proper nutrients. Lactating mothers require more nutrients, and any diet that does not contain enough nutrients affects milk production and triggers weight gain.
Reason#2: You’re feeling hungry all the time
As a breastfeeding mom, your body undergoes specific hormonal changes that directly impact your appetite. The milk production in breastfeeding females is triggered by Prolactin which is also related to stimulating the hunger signals. This is why a lactating mom is always feeling hungry besides consuming calories.
Also, because breastfeeding burns calories, the more you feed your child, the more calories you burn. To intake the calories, your body desires to eat at random hours. You might need that chips bag, chocolate, or even baby cereals because your body needs the calorie intake.
Reason#3: You are not taking enough sleep
Not being able to sleep properly for enough hours is directly linked to weight gain. Lack of sleep is associated with various hormonal imbalances in the female body. So, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of good sleep.
This is the easiest yet most challenging concern to overtake. Since newborn babies frequently need feeding, it is difficult to take over the struggle of sleeping properly for enough hours. Breastfeeding moms, especially new moms, are more likely to tend towards ‘unhealthy’ and ‘feel-good’ food, affecting their calorie intake drastically.
Nuts, crackers, cereals, and anything that feels good during the tiring sleepless hours, result in gaining weight while breastfeeding.
Reason#4: You’re intaking milk supply medication
There are a lot of women for whom the breastfeeding journey is not easy at all, and to pump their milk in enough quantity, they have to intake various supplements and medications. Usually, domperidone and metoclopramide are prescribed to lactating moms to ensure enough supply.
These medications, under certain conditions such as gastric emptying issues, make you feel hungry and raise the need to eat all the time. Undeniably, the medicines taken to boost milk production result in weight gain. It becomes difficult to lose weight until you completely get rid of these lactating drugs.
Why am I Not Losing Weight During Breastfeeding, Even after Exercising?
Exercise helps improve your physical routine and keep you in shape while breastfeeding. However, in some lactating mothers, exercise is not helpful with weight loss. This is because excessive exercise, combined with breastfeeding, puts stress on the body. Under stress, the body fails to manage calorie intake and does not work in the direction of weight loss.
Exercise is a great thing to do, especially while managing excessive weight. For breastfeeding moms, it is not recommended to perform intense exercises, especially after C-section deliveries. As C-section deliveries require more time to heal the wound, any physical activity would add further stress.
Be gentle and gradual on your body when acquiring your health and fitness level. You may take your baby out on a stroller walk for 15 to 30 minutes which is excellent for building stamina. Various fitness programs designed for new moms are effective in weight loss during breastfeeding.
Motherhood is the most incredible and overwhelming experience. You got your baby, and you are over the moon with your happiness. But it is obvious that females get stressed postpartum, especially during breastfeeding, and because those extra pounds make you feel weird about your body changes.
Breastfeeding is that phase of a mother’s life when you don’t have to treat your body like a marathon or put conscious eyes on your diet. This is the time to intake essential nutrients to feed your baby with rich and squishy milk to ensure his/her steady growth.
However, if you are worried about your weight gain even after eating healthy food and performing various exercises, you should consult your physician or consultant.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many extra calories does a female require during her pregnancy?
During 2nd trimester, a female requires an additional 350 calories, while in 3rd trimester, she requires an extra 450 calories.
How many calories are required per day for breastfeeding?
A female requires almost 400 extra calories per day for breastfeeding. Intaking a total of 1800 or 2200 calories per day ensures steady milk production in lactating mothers.
What is Prolactin?
Prolactin is the hormone that commands the body to produce milk.
How many calories are consumed in breastfeeding?
A breastfeeding mom burns almost 500 calories per day.
What are the recommended elements to add to a lactating mother’s diet?
Emily Smith is a talented content writer, wielding words to create captivating stories and informative articles across a wide range of topics. With a passion for effective communication and a love for research, Emily consistently produces engaging and valuable content. She’s dedicated to conveying ideas clearly and compellingly, making her a sought-after voice in the digital sphere. When not writing, Emily enjoys immersing herself in art, nature, and culinary adventures for fresh bursts of creativity.