Why You are Not Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

You hear it all the time when you are pregnant “the weight will just melt off when your breastfeed.” However, for some of us, this is just not the case. We are the ones who are not losing weight while breastfeeding. You may think that you are doing something wrong since your doctor, your friends, magazines, books all tell you that the weight should be going away if you are breastfeeding. There are some real reasons why some of us just don’t “melt” away.

I’ve been blessed to experience two pregnancies (Aidalyn’s birth story, Annaleigh’s birth story). Both pregnancies I gained about 25-30 pounds, which was really what is recommended. After Aidalyn was born, I did literately melt away. Within 2 weeks, I was back into my pre-pregnancy jeans and my “Fat Jeans” were falling off of me. I was ravenous and had to eat constantly for the first few weeks. Then around 4-6 months, I started gaining a little weight back (maybe 5 pounds). That weight stayed on until I weaned her at 14 months. Then, those pounds melted away pretty quickly.

With my second baby, the weight did go away fairly quickly except for about 5-7 pounds…. and those will not go away. I’m right around 7 months post partum right now, and thankfully I haven’t gained any more like with my first. I think for me, it is just my body protecting my milk supply by holding on to a few extra pounds while I’m breastfeeding.

 

Here are some reasons why you are not losing weight while breastfeeding:

Hormones

It is no secret that while you are pregnant and breastfeeding your hormones are very active. Prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production, also increases your appetite. Prolactin remains extremely high during the first 6 months. This hormone can prevent weight loss and even cause weight gain according to this study.  This article explains that prolactin reduces the bodies metabolism of fat… so your body really is holding on to that weight.

 

You aren’t eating enough

Breastfeeding does burn a lot of calories. It is estimated that 300-800 calories are burned depending on the age of your baby and if they are exclusively breastfeeding. However, if you don’t eat enough, you could be hurting your metabolism. When you eat less food than your body needs, your internal fuel burner (your metabolism) will dial back to conserve energy. This will cause your body to use less energy to maintain your weight and stall any weight loss. This is also why low calorie diets don’t work long term. 

Pantothenic Acid

Your adrenals could be dragging

Lack of sleep and added stress are two causes of adrenal fatigue (welcome to motherhood). Your adrenals glands are responsible for managing stress and managing your metabolism such as blood sugar levels. A side effect of adrenal fatigue is feeling sluggish and tired which doesn’t help fire your metabolism.

 

How to help lose weight while breastfeeding

 

Eat a balanced diet

When you are breastfeeding, you want to make sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals for both you and your baby. You want to eat a varied diet full of vegetables and fruits. I would recommend cutting out sugar from your diet and eliminate processed carbohydrates like white flour.

 

Eat every 3 hours

Eating on a consistent and regular basis keeps your body fueled and energized. This will keep your metabolism burning and healthy. When you go long periods of time without eating or skipping meals, your body goes into survival mode and slows your metabolism. You are constantly producing milk, so you need to be feeding your body even when you don’t think you are using much energy.

 

Eat healthy fats

Breastmilk is made up of a lot of fat. To have good quality milk and a rich supply, you want to keep your body fed with great healthy fats full of nutrients for both you and your baby.

 

Drink Water

Your body is made up of 70% of water. Water is necessary for your body to function properly. When you are breastfeeding, you need even more water to produce milk. Here are some tips for increasing water.  

 

Get some rest

Sometimes rest is better for you than anything else. For your body and metabolism to function and run efficiently, you need to be well rested. Instead of waking up at the crack of dawn to fit in your workout, your body may actually need you to sleep in. When your body is well rested, your body also won’t be craving quick energy fixes like sugar or salty foods to feed your adrenals.

 

Do some body weight exercises

Chronic cardio, like excessive running, is not healthy for you or your adrenals. This type of exercise puts more stress on your body. A better type of exercise is weight lifting. Including a little body weight exercises (like squats and lunges) into your routine can be an easy way to build more lean muscle mass and increase your metabolism naturally. If you are having a hard time getting your workout in, look at my tips for working out as a stay at home mom. 

 

Give yourself time

You have a lot of things fighting against your efforts to lose weight. Be patient and focus on nourishment over weight loss during this time. It isn’t easy to hear, but once you wean the weight will come off much easier. Do what you can during this season of life and enjoy your baby. Thank you body for being able to nourish your baby. Being a mom really is a daily sacrifice, but it is worth it every minute.

 

Do you have any tips for losing weight while breastfeeding?

 

 

 

 

P.S. I did find something that helped me lose weight while I was nursing. It helped curb my cravings and give me the nutrients my body needed. You can read more here. Always ask for approval from your doctor before you begin any supplements or exercises : )

 

 

 

 

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Angela Parker

Writer at Grassfed Mama
My name is Angela. I have been married for almost 10 years and have two little girls. I’m a speech therapist by trade. I am passionate about healing through nutrition, natural medicines, cooking with whole foods, and natural parenting. I strive to honor God with everything I do.
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Comments

  1. I know my body is just so different after pregnancy and labor – all worth it for sure! I can tell that hormones affect me still even 1 year post partum and still nursing. Everyone is different though, and I hear that even every post partum is different too.

  2. I’m currently 14 months pp and still holding onto about 25lbs! I started working out at 3 weeks pp and have an all organic diet with no fast or processed foods. I can’t lose a pound no matter what I do! I’m 100% sure it’s from breastfeeding hormones because prior to pregnancy I was 105lbs and at a ton of food.. Junk food. Now I eat amazing healthy foods and am 135 with a fat belly. I retain a lot of water and have a lot of belly fat : (

    • I am 18 months post partum, so pretty close! I know something that really really helped me was when I started drinking Greens (they were approved by my doctor). It is just 38 superfoods and probiotics in a powder that you can mix into water or juice. It really helped me to cleanse and just get all the nutrients I was missing. As a nice side effect, I was able to to lose a few pounds. If you wanted to check them out, here is the link: http://goo.gl/yq7tLo

    • Thank you Hilary! –
      I have the same story… I blame it on the hormones too. It’s great to hear that I’m not the only one!

      Thanks!

    • I’m going thru the same thing now…it is so frustrating! I weighed 115 before PG and I am 6mts pp and still holding on to 25 pounds! I can’t fit into none of my cloths! and have been living in leggings! I refuse to buy cloths when I have a closet full of them! I run 5times a week and eat well and can’t shed a pound… i guess I am holding on to these pounds. Did they melt away after you stopped nursing? Any tips?

      • I know that once we got closer to a year of nursing (when she started eating some solid foods) that’s when I started losing weight. She continued to nurse until she was over a year a half. I was probably at my smallest by the time she was one year. Hope that helps!

    • I am literally in the same boat as you I was 115 but I’m still at 147 lbs it’s the biggest I’ve ever been in my life and it’s very stressful , when I had my two daughters I didn’t breastfeed and In a few months I was back at my normal weight

  3. This is my 4th baby. I always gain about 65 – 70 lbs each pregnancy, my babies are 7lbs….i am 5,7 & 135lbs size 7 normally. I always lose about 30lbs within the first week i have baby I’m 3 wks pp now, the 30 lbs are gone but after reading this i wanted to encourage those who have 40 or more pounds hanging in for no reason…i follow a strict organic no sugar diet also! I so far have NEVER been able to loose any more than the initial 30 lbs the entire time I breastfeed. I go from a size 7 to 16 & have to live there until I’m done breastfeeding….i normally do it for about 8 months. My last baby, i stopped & lay 10 lbs within 5 days….?

    • Thankyou THANKYOU! I feel crazy sometimes when I try to explain to people what my body does, when they all stay fairly trim during pregnancy and lose the weight quickly after. I am a size 4 or 6 normally, and then literally gain 65 lbs each time I’m pregnant. The weight literally jumps onto my body the second I get that positive test. Like I gained 17 lbs by ten weeks. And this was with throwing up daily. I also lost 30lbs by 3 weeks pp, now I’m 6 weeks pp and haven’t lost another lb in 3 weeks, I’m going crazy here bc I’m 30 lbs overweight, I have a huge oversupply and am feeding the freezer as well as the baby, and I don’t eat snacks between meals or desserts almost at all. I’m literally eating what I did at size 4, and am also ebf which should in theory mean I lose weight fast. Scale won’t move it’s so frustrating!

      • I feel like I could have written this post myself. Thank you for sharing. I cannot lose weight while breastfeeding and eat the same I do when I am at my size 4 weight.
        At least this 2nd time around I know that this is what my body does. It’s still really frustrating but I know this isn’t permanent. Hang in there!

    • Agreed! 12 weeks ago I had my 4th, I gained 66 pounds, lost 25 pounds the first two weeks and haven’t lost a pound since! I still have 41 pounds to lose and I know it will hang on until I stop nursing…so tired of maternity clothes!! 🙂

    • I am so glad to know I’m not alone in many ways! My first pregnancy I gained 40 lbs, didn’t pay much attention to what I ate (probably ate healthy half the time and indulged in burgers and fries when I wanted), and then held onto about 10-15 lbs once I went back down, after a year, I think. When I got pregnant with second LO, I lost almost all that 10-15 in first trimester because I barely ate once a day, but then ballooned in 2nd trimester when I could eat. I did try to eat healthy a majority of the time (Brewer’s diet) and only when hungry during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, and drank over 100 oz of water a day. Nonetheless, I had a final weight of probably (I stopped weighing after 38 weeks, too discouraging!) 60 lbs more than pre-pregnancy weight. Now, I sit here, almost 7 months after delivering my second LO, and I still weigh as much as the day I went home. BOTH BABIES WERE 6 POUNDS, SOMETHING!!! I was like, why the heck did I gain so much, if the babies were so tiny and obviously didn’t take on the weight? So, I’m currently still 40lbs over my pre pregnancy weight. I started to cut down on calories, no weight loss. I started exercising, no weight loss. My belly has gone down a ton, but I’m still thick throughout my whole body, even in my fingers and wrists. But I’m an extended breastfeeder and don’t plan to stop until at least 2 years with LO#2. I guess we will see what happens. The most discouraging is how much I carry in my face, and that I had to buy basically a whole new larger wardrobe AND more maternity pants because regular ones don’t fit right yet.

    • Thank you for your comment. I just had my third child and 4 months pp. I lost initial 10lbs of baby, placenta, fluids, etc. after birth and then an additional maybe 5lbs at most. Then I gained it all back plus some. I was so frustrated until i read this article and especially your comment. I am also 5’7 and usually hover around 155lbs size 12ish. Each baby has brought my weight up to 230 no matter what weight i start at. And it has been so difficult with this last one since i actually gained weight afterwards! Your experience gives me reassurance and hope that I will be ok once im done breastfeeding. *HUGS*

    • Oh thank goodness I am not the only one! I know it is the hormones while breastfeeding. I haven’t had a cycle yet but during a normal month my weight would fluctuate any where from 5-10 pounds based on if I was ovulating or menstruating. I could always cut sugar completely and lose another 5 pounds fast if I wanted to, but I have done literally everything imaginable now that I am 10 months postpartum and my weight hasn’t moved since my 6 week check up. Like it doesn’t fluctuate even a pound. I have never been so steady with it. My body is doing a good job at maintaining that extra 30 pounds and must be working hard to do it. I am usually around a size 10 or 12 but have never been a 16. I guess I’ll get cozy at this size for now until we wean. I don’t think I have ever been healthier though. Super good food all the time, not starving myself, and exercising several times a week. I have shifted my focus on becoming the strongest I can be for now and other physical goals besides weight loss. Ah well, I am so glad to know I am not going crazy though. Although, when I look at pictures of me 7 months pregnant and I looks smaller in the face and arms it’s kinda of disheartening, but I am going to keep at the healthy choices and loving the little one and trusting my crazy body even if it doesn’t conform to society standards. ha ha.

  4. Hi Angela,

    So, your doctor said the greens were safe while breast feeding? I am 16 weeks pp with my second baby and have about 15 lbs of baby weight hanging on and not budging. My daughter has a milk soy protein intolerance, so I have eliminated them from my diet; however, I believe it has caused my body to go into starvation mode and retain the weight. She also seems to be bothered by a number of vegetables in my diet so this may be a great solution. Thanks!

    • My doctor did approve Greens while nursing. There are a ton of different fruits and vegetables (38 different superfoods) so I would just check to see if your doctor thinks it would be okay. There is soy in the Greens, but it is non-GMO and fermented.

  5. HI! Love this….as I was just explaining to a client this exact thing which led me to your site. (I am a nutrition coach). I gained 29lbs with my pregnancy, lost 32lbs in the first couple of weeks after I had my LO. After about 5/6 months I gained back about 5 and have been stuck there ever since (he is 17 months now). I KNOW that I wont lose any more weight until he’s weaned which I dont know when that will be, UNLESS I want to be VERY strict with my diet. I don’t want to do that lol. I eat VERY well, but I do know the ‘tricks’ to losing those last few lbs safely I just dont feel like doing it! haha I just wanted to remind all the BFing mommas that this is such a short time in your life! Don’t stress about weight. It WILL come off….and will come off easier if you don’t stress. Enjoy your moments with your LO…the days and nights ARE long…BUT the years are WAY too short. Stay healthy, eat well (enjoy some healthy treats) and Give yourself, mind, body soul a break!

    Also, what greens did your doctor approve…just curious . I want some! hahah and I want to suggest them to clients! I called VEgA and their smoothie mix is approved and I do Hemp and a pea based protein also.

    • Thank you so much for your comment!! I know I wrote this mostly for myself because I had just had my baby and still was nursing. Your body goes through so much change over the 9 months of pregnancy and most of it we don’t even see, because it is so much more than just a growing belly. My doctor approved these Greens: http://grassfedmama.myitworks.com/shop/product/310/ These also have a probiotic mixed in them which really helped my digestive and overall health too.

      • Hi! I just found your blog and I love it! Thank you! I have a question about Greens. I lost all my baby weight and some with my first in the first 5 months but I am now 5 months pp with my second and I am 35 lbs away from my prepregnancy weight. I have Greens in my pantry actually so I was thinking about trading my coffee for it but I am wondering if the 2 servings a day is safe while nursing or should I stick with one?

  6. I am having so much trouble with weight! Started my first pregnancy at 170 lbs size 13, been there since high school. Gained 45 lbs during pregnancy, lost 20 after delivery, but after weaning gained it all back and then some! 🙁 i am now 14 months pp and pregnant again and just don’t know what to do. I am constantly stressed though so i know that could be a huge contributor.

    On a side note, after weaning my husband and i cut carbs (except potatoes) and sugar for one month and lost 10 lbs. That might be something to look into again after this next baby is weaned.

    • I’m so glad you said this! I was the same size as you and had also been the same size since high school (except for about 2 years where I just ballooned; thanks, college). I was at my high school weight when I got pregnant with my first and I gained nearly 70 lbs! It was nuts, because at the time I was a waitress, so I was constantly on my feet and running around. I tried to not eat too much, but I gained a ton of weight. Within a couple of weeks, I had lost about 30lbs, but that meant I was still 40lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight. I tried everything I could think of to lose weight even after weaning and it just didn’t happen. I actually gained about 10 lbs back. Then, I got pregnant with my second child. I only gained about 25 lbs with him and I’ve lost nearly all of it, but I still have that previous baby weight to get rid of. You aren’t alone. I’m still the biggest I’ve ever been in my life and it’s SO frustrating and discouraging. But I’m currently BFing so I try to not push too hard. I think the stress of being a first-time mom has a LOT to do with it. Cortisol (from stress) plus prolactin (from nursing) spell a weight loss disaster. Hang in there, momma! We can get through it.

      • I totally agree with hormones being a huge factor! We all are so different after pregnancy and need to discover what is going to work for each of us. Put your health first and sometimes that doesn’t mean you are the same size as before pregnancy. Healthy is going to look different on each of us.

  7. Hi, thank you for this!! My baby is 12 weeks now and I’m almost back to my delivery weight!! I lost the 25 lbs I gained while pregnant within 2 weeks and I’ve been gaining back about 2 lbs a week since. I don’t eat unhealthy, I try to eat the Weston a Price diet and go for walks often and light weight lifting. I have no idea what’s going on with my body but at this rate, Im scared I’ll end up on my 600 lb life in a year!! (Just kidding…sorta)
    I’m glad I’m not alone, I just figures my hormones are way out of whack! I felt better pregnant, might need to have baby 2 sooner rather than later, lol! 🙂

  8. I am nursing my 4th baby boy. He is 7 months weighs 20 pounds strictly breastfeeding. I always hold on weight until I quit nursing. I weigh 142 but as soon as I quit nursing, I will drop 15-20 pounds in less than 2 months. It’s frustrating because I don’t feel like myself at this weight, but my children are more important than my self esteem and I will nurse for at least 18 months! They are Gods gift to us and we are responsible to care for them the best we can!!!!!

  9. Did you ever lose your weight when you weaned the second baby? My baby is 10 months old and I’m still breastfeeding her and giving her solids. I have about 10 pounds to lose still! I have been at this weight since about 2 months postpartum and it is driving me insane that I can’t lose it. I eat very little processed foods, I cut back on carbs, I eat lots of spinach and green veggies. My only carbs come from sweet potatoes and vegetables really, with the occasional bowl of cereal (no or very little sugar). I stopped drinking sweet tea, so now I only drink water or milk sometimes. I workout 7 days a week for at least 30 mins each workout (I have to workout at 4:30 am while my baby is asleep and before I go to work), but I find a way every day. It’s so frustrating that my prepregnancy clothes are just a little tight still so it makes me feel uncomfortable in them, but I don’t want to buy new clothes because I want to lose this extra flab. My husband thinks I look good but I tell him he can’t feel how uncomfortable I am. I am trying to be patient but it is frustrating me to no end! I keep hoping that my body is just hanging on to the extra fat for my milk, but that doesn’t make sense to me when so many other people talk about how breastfeeding just MELTED their fat off. Why isn’t mine melting? I’m scared I’m eating too much, but I usually eat anywhere from 1500-2000 calories in a day (most days are around 1800). I don’t understand any of this!

    • Everyone is different for sure! I know that I lost back to my prepregnancy weight when I started drinking Greens and I even used the wraps to tighten up my stomach and just made me feel more like me again. When I weaned my daughter at 18 months old I gained 5 pounds back almost instantly and was having night sweats (totally hormonal related obviously) Saying that I know that the extra 5-10 pounds can just be hormone related… and sometimes our body is just doing what it thinks is best for the baby.

  10. Jessica…have you tried taking a few days off working out and sleeping in? Rest is always best and when you are breastfeeding AND getting up early (I know personally the struggle IS real lol I’m up at 330/4am everyday too!)….you are probably taxing your adrenals. Resting will help repair them AND your hormones at the same time. Many women dont lose those last pounds until they wean completely. If you try to diet/workout too much then your body will hold onto weight and not lose it (esp while nursing). So…my suggestion (as a personal trainer and nutrition coach of 10+ years AND currently a mom still nursing her 20 month old toddler)….try taking a couple days off training…sleep in….keep your calories the same (add the green Angela is suggesting) and evaluate then. Don’t stress about eating every 2-3 hours etc….Eat when you are hungry and listen (Truly listen) to your body’s cues! (it’s a hard skill to master BUT it’s one worth doing). AND I always suggest cutting dairy products to see if that helps 🙂 AND Like ANglela said…it’s probably def hormone related for sure! BUT those are the little things you could do to help it along:)

  11. Thanks for the advice Pamela! I will try taking it easy for a few days and I’m cutting dairy starting today… It’s going to suck bc I really love milk and cheese, but at this point I will try any safe options bc I am sick of this extra layer of flab! I guess I should up my spinach and other leafy greens to make up for the calcium I would normally get from dairy. I eat a TON of spinach anyway so it’s not that big of a deal. I hope it works!

  12. I gained about 25lbs during my last pregnancy and within 2 weeks was down to about 10 lbs to lose then I began gaining rapidly. It was so strange bc I eat small frequent meals, organic. O sugar plant based diet, am active and yet could not explain the gain. With research I realized as a woman w an eating disorder past my prolactin levels were more likely to have me hold maternal fat stores. Then at 9 month pp I started adding more work outs into my schedule and nothing then at we months I was up to 2 work outs a day (body weight exercise and a brisk 5 mile walk whike wearing my 20 lb baby) and now at 11.5 months pp no loss still. It has been frustrating and yet it has made me open up to accepting myself on whole new levels. I wish there was a secret to it bc the past 7 weeks I have been really diligent and yet no change. I am normally a size 4 and now I am a tight 12. I just want to look as awesome as I feel. I ebf and don’t plan on stopping so for now I accept this part of my journey!

    • That sounds so much like one of my best friends! She had struggled with an eating disorder as an older teenager/young adult – then she said after she had her babies, her prolactin levels never went down. She did get some treatment from her doctor that helps her hormones stay in normal ranges now. I would just enjoy this special time now with your baby and do what you know is healthy. Don’t put too much stress on yourself.

  13. Jessica, it sounds like we are very much in the same boat. I’ve been working like crazy with little change. I don’t eat dairy though because my LO has a reaction when I do. And I think there may be something to the whole rest thing.

    This is my second babe and I couldn’t drop the last 10 with my first until he was weaned. I kept eating right and walked a lot!! It did come off and then some. So don’t lose hope.

    Thank you Angela for reminding me to just be present as these moments are fleeting. It is a gift!

  14. This was so nice to read! I’m nursing my 10 week old as I write this. She is my 4th baby. I have experienced this with each baby. My normal weight is about 140, but my body has to weigh 150-155 in order to breastfeed. After each baby I have tried so hard to lose weight and I simply can’t. After each baby I’ve lost all the baby weight in the first two weeks and then gain 10-12 back and that weight does not budge till 9-10 months post partum when it basically evaporates effortlessly. I do my best to eat healthfully but I really seem incapable of limiting my calories. However, I can exercise! It really helps to watch my body getting stronger although I can’t actually lose weight. I like to do short 20 minute cardio and lifting workouts. Enjoy your baby and those precious moments nursing, you have the rest of your life to be thin!

  15. Wow! I’m so relieved to know I’m not alone. I had my little girl 5 months ago and within 1 week after delivery I weighed less than I did when I go t pregnant! I was so happy with my new baby and my body. Unfortunately this was very short lived….about 3 weeks later I started gaining weight, 20lbs to be exact!! I eat very healthy like everyone else here has been saying and walking/running since 12 weeks pp. I saw a nutritionist last week and she confirmed I am eating right. It’s such a struggle to know you are nourishing your baby and that’s the best thing for her but you don’t feel like the outside reflects who you are on the inside. I’m trying to stay focused on eating healthy and Excercising to be strong. One day I won’t be bf and hopefully those healthy habits will aid in a quicker weight loss. Hormones are so smart!!!

    • It really is nice to know that I’m not alone at least! It’s hard to hear and see so many women that lose all their weight from breastfeeding and really not much extra effort. I cut out dairy for the past 3 or so weeks and I have really tried to cut back on the intensity of my workouts a few days a week. I have not seen a change at all though. I want to just not care about it at all, but I think I just have always had body image problems and this extra weight that I can’t get off has just made it worse. I am just focusing as much of my energy and time on my sweet baby and trying my best not to stress over these last 10 or so pounds. It really shouldn’t be that big of a deal anyway. I wish I knew how to just let it go all the way so I wouldn’t feel unhappy with myself. If anyone has overcome major body image issues/guilt about eating too much or not exercising enough and has any advice, I would love to hear it! Thanks!

  16. hi girls,
    Am in a similar situation to many of you, I suppose that’s how we’ve all found our way here!
    I had my fourth little beauty 8 months ago, am holding onto the last probably 10lbs, and no matter how many workouts I do, it’s the love handles and tummy that won’t go down. I saw someone call it the milk band.. Apparently it’s where our bodies store the fat reserves whilst we’re feeding.
    Like another lady said, I think it’s down to us really trying to listen to our bodies. I’ll continue to learn how to do this!

  17. Do you ever want to wean just because you are feeling selfish? I feel like a horrible mother when I think that. I gained 47lbs with my baby. I was 125 when I got pregnant. After I had her I lost 32lbs almost instantly. I was super happy because I was so swollen and bloated while I was pregnant. I then focused on her and breastfeeding and apparently my hunger took over and I gained back 15lbs. So now I am at 155 and for the love of god and life cannot lose it. I try to remain positive but also having my abs muscles split and feel disgusting is not helping. She is now 15 months and I do not think she will wean soon. I bought a fitbit and my husband and mother both are helping me by competing everyday. I have been consistently walking over 12000 steps a day and trying very hard to watch my sugar and nothing. I can’t figure it out. I think I am done with scale as it is very negative and I dont need that in my life. I can wait. I will keep up my walking and drinking my gallon of water a day for now. Thank you for addressing something that I am sure a lot of women struggle with.

  18. Hello Ladies,

    I’m so glad to hear that I’m not in this alone. I had my 2nd son 10 months ago. I lost all the pregnancy weight and then some. After I went back to work at 6 months I promptly gained 10 lbs despite walking daily, eating healthy/clean, limiting my carbs because I’m gluten free and limiting my sugar intake. I was a size 6 before and am now a size 12. I’m on the home stretch and plan to beginning weaning my DS at 12 months. I take solace in knowing that all of you are having a similar experience. I breastfeed my oldest son for just 5 months, but I’m so enjoying the closeness and bonding with my baby. My focus is on loving my boys and recognizing that once I stop breastfeeding I can focus on getting my body back. I will stay encouraged and hopeful.

  19. Hi Ladies,
    I feel I’m in the same boat as most of you. My third is 3 1/2 mos old, I jog 4 days a week, eat well, and only dropped 5lbs of pregnancy weight. This is VERY frustrating for me and I just want to quit! If I’m not going to see anything from it, I feel like I might as well sit on my butt! Its hard enough to get a workout in with 3 kids and a hubby that travels. I only gained 5 lbs with my second and dropped about 70 lbs by the time he was 1 year. Im doing the same things I did with the second but losing nothing. I dont understand what my body is doing. As other readers have said, I know I should just enjoy the baby and relax but I still very sad and and hate looking at myself in the mirror.

  20. I am experiencing the same thing. I am somewhere around 5’6″ and 5′ 7″ and look thin and muscular around 140 pounds. I typically don’t have to work too hard outside of normal exercise and good eating to maintain my weight. I had my 3rd child Oct 2014 and looked very skinning for having a baby by 3 weeks pp. Then my weight crept up to 150-153 and WILL NOT MOVE. I have literally eaten no carbs, low sugar, worked out and nothing and then eaten pasta and bread and cheese and barely exercised and it stays the same. It is so bizarre. I feel like my body literally looks like there is a layer of fat that won’t allow my muscle definition to show. I can’t look toned for anything. My arms are the worst. They look almost swollen and puffy. :-/ I do remember complaining a lot about my arms after I had my other children and then they went back to normal after I weaned. I’m happy to see other women sharing their experience cause it starts to make you feel crazy. Are there any follow ups to people weaning and losing the weight?

  21. I have three children, aged 4,2 and newborn. My first pregnancy I gained 70 lbs. I was a runner before I got pregnant so after my first I went back to running pretty quickly and lost all but 15 lbs. I looked great but the lbs were on there somewhere. When I weaned him at 12 months, the 15 lbs melted off within 2 months of no other changes in good or activity. Second baby gained 65 lbs. I didn’t workout at all. Lost all but the last 10 lbs again but over a slower period of time. I never lost that last 10, but I nursed him till her was 2 1/2 when I got pregnant with baby number 3. She is only 7 weeks old and I have 40 lbs to lose still. So we’ll see how this one goes. Likely I won’t be able to lose it all until I’m done nursing.

  22. I too am breastfeeding my baby and googling key words which brought me to this site. I am five weeks postpartum and the exclusively bf-ain’t, and hovering around 140 (original weight being 125). I gained a healthy 25-30 lbs, and this is my first baby. Obviously my stomach looked dramatically different without a nine pound baby in utero, but my appetite really picked up about 2 weeks ago, and with limited sleep and not the best prep I find myself yearning for chocolate chips vs nectarines. I typically eat a very healthy diet pre and during my pregnancy. I maintained a healthy exercise regimen while pregnant as well, but I’m feeling so sluggish with a newborn that some days I don’t even make it outside.

    Why also does this have to be the time you’re getting more pictures taken of you? When you feel you look like a fat, deflated version of your old self (if that makes any sense)?! I’m interested in the green drinks also. I see the Vega brand in the organic section of my grocer and have bee wondering if it would be good for breastfeeding moms of newborns.

    Anyway, thanks for the blog post! At least it’s a good place to vent, albeit I’m a bit late to the party.

  23. i feel like moms need to be more focused on health than weightloss. if weightloss happens as a side effect, that is fine. i was 102 before becoming a mother, i gained 56 lbs. in pregnancy, and my weight has held steady at about 125 for awhile. My daughter of two and a half years just weaned, and i am 10 wks pregnant now. my diet and exercise habits have improved w motherhood, and im heavier than ive ever been. i am at peace knowing that my body has been doing exactly what it was designed to do, that the extra weight is not a sign of unhealthiness but of motherhood and Gods design. i feel like women need to focus on supporting their bodies and becoming healthier.

  24. I am so glad to read this! With my first baby, at age 23, I gained 50lbs and lost 25 of it right away. The rest came off once i stopped breastfeeding at 6 months
    I had my daughter almost 7 months ago. I’m 29. I gained 55lbs, only lost 14 after delivery, and gained back 10 by the end of the first month. I am strictly EBF still, as my daughter isnt interested in solids. I’ve tried everything to lose the weight, but I am still stuck at 225lbs. I’m 5’11 and I’m about to turn 30 in november. I wanted so much to be out of the 200’s by my birthday but it is t happening. I’ve trying going Vegan, Vegetarian, and i’ve been counting calories for months. I eat 1820-2100 calories per day, made up of salads with salsa as dressing and brown rice and black beans. Nothing helps.
    I’ve battled bulimia for 19 years. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

  25. Hi Ladies!
    I have always thought this, but wondered if I was secretly making it up to feel better about myself. I recently had my 8th baby via c section. My first 2 pregnancies have me an 85 and 75 lb gain, due to toxemia. My babies were healthy, and I lost all the weight only after weaning. All of my other pregnancies had gains between 30 and 40 lbs. My happy weight is 135 or so. I am currently 155, and nursing my 4.5 month old daughter. I am at a plateau….but this always happens to me, and my mom as well. I NEVER lose all the weight until AFTER weaning. I get close, but it’s that last 10 lbs that my body thinks it needs to hang onto until it’s sure nobody needs any milk! That also tells my body that it’s time to get pregnant again! It’s a toss up- keep nursing and keep that 10 lb cushion, or eventually stop and finally look smoking hot and be too sexy for my husband. It’s a vicious cycle. Hmmm. I think both are just fine! You know that as long as you are getting some exercise in, and not going crazy with the naughty foods, you will eventually lose the weight. Don’t worry, it will come off! Trust a veteran mom!

  26. I too get frustrated when I head people lost weight while breastfeeding. It’s my third way araound and I could never loose the weight while breastfeeding, only after I quit it. However I have never tried to loose weight while breastfeeding and this third time was my first and I could only atest that I DID NOT HAPPEN! I ate less, worked out like crazy and did not drop a single gram! very frustrated! I went to a hormonal doctor and he told me to keep to a 1200 calories but I think this is crazy for a nursering mother… so I’ll stick to the frustration for at least a year which is the time I plan to feed my baby because although it is keeping me fat and feeling bad about myself me and my baby, we love to breastfeed and to be breastfed! I’ll get back here when I quit breastfeeding to tell what happened! BUT NO MATTER WHAT PLEASE DON’T QUIT BREASTFEEDING UNTIL YOUR BABIES ARE AT LEAST 1 YEAR OLD!

  27. Hi ladies, hope you can understand my broken English.., I’m struggling with lossing the baby weight while I’m bf. I’m 33 years old 5.6 and I’m weighing 165lbs my pre-pregnancy weight was 145lbs this is my second child I had my first child 13 years ago and everything is soooo diferent. With my first child I gain about 40lbs and I lost them in two weeks post-partum I was 50-50 breastfeeding and formula, working part-time since my son was 1 month old and full time student, the only exercise I did was walk 2 miles 4 times a week, when my son was 5 months old I was underweight no matter how much I ate I just keep losing weight, I bf him for 8 months and when I stop Bf I never gain weight. With my second baby I was 145lbs pre-pregnancy, I gain 46lbs while was pregnant, I’m right now 165lbs my baby is almost 4months and I’m exclusivity bf him, I run 3 miles 4 times a week and I can’t loss a single pound, I’m so depress because I thought it will be the same as it was with my first child but it’s not.. No matter how good I eat and exercise I just can’t loss weight, yesterday I bought jeans size 13 and they fit me perfectly 🙁 I used to be size 7 for 13 years until I got pregnant for second time. I don’t know what to do, I’m planing keep exclusively BF my baby until he is 1 year old but I’m I feel so fat and just not me, I’m a runner and I signed up for 2 marathons one in June 2016 and other in October same so I’m planning to start training in January, hope it help me to loss weight but I’m also worry if my BM production get affect it for my Marathon training.

  28. I, am over 40 and had my 4th baby 10 months ago. I did not have the weight gain problem with the first three and thought that it was just because I’m an older mom this time. It has made me feel better finding out that I am not alone. I have been very frustrated and stressed because of the weight gain. I believe I will try to eat less sugar and find more time to walk. Not that I ever feel like I sit down.

    Any one else over 40 having this problem for the first time?

  29. I’ll just go ahead and keep this thread going. I want to encourage all the ladies out there holding onto those stubborn pounds. I’m in the same boat. Nursing a ten month old girl, my third baby. With my first and second sons I lost the weight no problem. My norm is 108lbs and I was 103 by 4 months postpartum with the second. He just ate so much! When he started solids I gained 7 lbs and went up to 110. We nursed for 19 months. I looked and felt at the top of my game! Then with this third though (had her at 30) -whole different story. I only gained 28 pounds so you’d think it would’ve been easy to take off but no. I keep my calories low, eat low carb, oats in the morning, no carbs at night, low dairy, no meat other than fish. I do cardio, yoga, and weight lifting 4/5 days a week. I even dropped sugar 6 months ago! This 8 pounds has been here since August! Had her in April last year. So frustrated. I’m used to science and laws of nature and if/then concepts. Like, idk, “IF you eat perfectly and excessive well, THEN weight will come off.” Can you tell I’m super frustrated with my illogical body?
    Here’s the really fun part. My husband thought he’d begin a workout regimen 3 months ago for the first time ever. He is getting cut and eats beer and pizza at night. Not that I’m taking it personally………………

      • Thank you so much for this article and the comment section! I am down to once a day (twice a day on the weekends) ebf with dd (she will be 3 in 3 weeks), and I am so frustrated by my plateau. With PPD and stress the last two years I have put back on most of the weight I initially lost when she was first born, and I cannot get the weight to shift from about 130-132. I was 115-118 when I became pregnant with her, and had to wean my son (14 months at the time – had to wean for medical reasons), and I love ebf, but I don’t know why the weight is hanging on! I track calories, watch what I eat, workout 3-4 times a week (hot pilates, spin, indoor rock climbing, etc), but I cannot get the weight to budge. Until I read this thread I was so sad this morning, it is so nice to know I am not alone, and also to know that someday maybe that 2/3 of my closet that does not fit right now will fit again eventually.
        I have no idea when I am going to ebf with dd, she just does not want to give up that last feeding, and since we are done with having babies I am letting her decide what she wants to do. Any advice is always appreciated, but thank you for putting this topic out there, there is not much about ebf online, so anything is appreciated!

  30. Hello fellow mamas! ? I know this is a old thread but I feel compelled to contribute my two cents for any new mamas reading this! We are definitely not alone you guys! It is a misnomer that breastfeeding melts fat off of all women! Some of us go into survival mode and hold that fat until we are done nursing. I know it’s so hard to feel like a fluffy fatty for that first year after having the baby, especially when people are saying the weight should “fall right off” because you are nursing.

    I just gave birth to my 3rd baby 6 weeks ago, and it’s the same old song and dance this time… I gain exactly 60 pounds with each pregnancy, lose like TEN pounds that first week, then NOTHING! It doesn’t matter what I do: exercise, limit calories, sit around and eat cake… Doesn’t matter that weight is there to stay until I wean my baby. And when I do limit calories my milk supply goes way down… Not worth it. I’ve surrendered to the fluffiness this time around after struggling with it my first two babies.

    I know it can be discouraging ladies, but just like other posters have said, we are nourishing our beautiful babies and that is so meaningful. And this time is so short. Don’t lose heart! You will get that hot bod back again after you wean. ??

  31. Hi, I feel your frustration! I gained 45 lbs with first baby, 30 lbs with second, and I just had a little girl 11 weeks ago . I gained 30 lbs, and was lean the whole pregnancy. I thought I would lose the weight easier, given my healthy eating & constant nursing! I’ve lost only 13 lbs since pp. It’s so frustrating given that I was a size 3 pre baby. I usually lose the weight within 6 to 8 months. I thought because I was lean during pregnancy I’d be a 5 by now! It takes time, and 6 wk body makeover which is the 5 mini meals a day burned fat, and I felt great! It takes discipline which I am lacking this time around. I’m exhausted older, and body changed w age I’m assuming lol. Thanks for share ladies ! Makes me have hope! Take care now!

  32. I am the same way!!! Once I quit breast feeding I had major hormonal swings..think PMS xs a million! And then within two months I lost like 15 pounds!! It was so crazy!! I was so frustrated that no matter how clean I ate I really can’t lose a pound while breastfeeding!

  33. So comforted by this thread! FTM EBF pescatarian all organic diet. I gained about 40lbs from 135lbs pre-pregnancy, had a 10lb baby (he’s a little tanker!) he’s 4.5 months and the size of a 9 month baby. I lost 20lbs pp and gained 10lbs two months pp. I run/jog daily plus Zumba/yoga exercises and will not drop a single lb. I’m about 40lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight and really hoping it’s nature holding on to the weight because there’s a big baby boy to feed! Really hopeful that when he self weans the lbs will melt away. I’ll come back and post when that happens!!

  34. I just had to comment after reading several posts. I am 45 years old and have 6 kids, the oldest is 18 and the youngest 11 months old. I have breastfed all of my kids for at least the 1st year and have always held onto about 5-7 pounds while breastfeeding. I am 5’2″, and normally 105-107lbs and am currently 110-112lbs. I gained 25 lbs with each of the first 4 pregnancies and 50lbs with each of the last 2 big boys i had lol. After weaning it has always come off! This has been the same with every post pregnancy. Although everyone’s bodies are different, hang in there! Breastfeeding your baby is the best start you can give them. I am sick of looking in the mirror at my body the way it is now but know it’s only temporary…and so worth it. ENJOY your time with your babies because it goes too fast. 🙂

  35. Thank you!! I feel like I am going crazy holding on to all this extra weight. It’s in places it’s never been before when I have gained weight not related to pregnancy. My face, arms, and thighs are all swollen which makes me feel like it’s water. I excersize and eat really well–all whole foods little sugar.

    But I am still breastfeeding and no cycles yet so I am glad to here I am not the only one!

  36. Wonder if having no periods makes a difference because of the hormones? I feel like a milking cow. No period yet and I’m 6 months pp.

  37. What a relief to find this thread. Maybe someone can relate or offer some insight? My son is 18 months and I am beginning a gradual weaning process. I am 5’6″, and weighed 120 PP. I gained approx 40lbs during my pregnancy and dropped all of it by 6 months post partum (gentle walks, the occasional yoga practice) I should also mention that my period returned at 7months post. At about 13 months I started gaining weight and I am now fluctuating between 135-140 and wearing my pregnancy clothes again. I’ve had my thyroid checked and my diet is completely clean. Does anyone have a similar story? Is there any hope that I will lose this extra weight once I wean him?

  38. I am almost exactly in the same boat. I finally put away my pre-pregnancy clothes and got a few nice outfits that aren’t maternity. It doesn’t fix the problem but I feel 100x better about myself and leaving the house.

  39. Did you ever lose any more weight ? My story sounds exactly like yours. 3rd baby 4 months pp. Gained about 60 lbs . 130 prior 166 now. I do 30 min of cardiovascular every day. Plus a workout called fluidity 3 times a week. I ebf all my kids past 2 years old.

    • I did! It was one of those things I had to keep working on and finding little ways to maximize the effect! I found good whole food supplements and skin care went a LONG way to making the difference on the back end!!

  40. This sounds just like me! I’m 5-7 and hover around 155 give or take 5 lbs both ways. With my first I went to 205 at birth and did not get back down to 155 until she was 2YEARS old!!! Then I got pregnant again 🙁 lol. Now I’m 8 weeks PP. With this one, I went up to 192 and am now down to 175 but I cannot lose weight no matter what I do! I’ve been working out (mixing weights with cardio) 5x a week, drinking tons of water and eating so-so (not super healthy but not super bad either) and I cannot lose a single pound. I left the hospital at around 185 and lost the additional 10 lbs within 2 weeks and I’ve been stalled there ever since. I’m so frustrated but I realize it may be because I do produce a ton of milk so maybe that’s the problem. I just wanted to say- I’m with ya! 🙂

  41. I could have written this. I’m 9 months post partum. Spent the last 5 years before I got pregnant going from overweight (all my life) to getting into the best shape of my life – I even got a six pack… Then I got pregnant. I didn’t even look pregnant until my last month or so then I had my beautiful baby girl, whom I exclusively breastfed till about 7 months and I am still breastfeeding till now. I gained about 60lbs with the pregnancy and lost about 27 by my 6 week visit. I then re-started the insanity programme and GAINED 4 lbs after one month – Disillusion City. Fast forward over 6 months and I have not lost anything despite working out 6 days a week and eating as healthily as I can. It makes me very sad. All those years of work down the drain. My little girl is still on mostly breastmilk and a few solids and she is growing beautifully though. Thank God for that.

    • Thank you for sharing Femi! I have many friends with similar stories, I’m so happy that your little one is healthy and growing, and I believe the best is ahead! Keep us up to date on your progress!

  42. These stories are so similar to my own! I’m having a hard time right now. My son is a little over 2. I lost my pregnancy weight within a few months and my period returned at about a year PP. I began gaining weight at that time and have gained 30 pounds in a year. I’ve had everything checked and am totally normal. My son ate 8-10 times a day until a few months ago when I switched it to nap and bedtime. I gained 5 pounds overnight when I did that. Literally overnight. No matter what I do, I just keep gaining. I eat organic, whole foods and exercise. I’ve tried diets where I severely limit my calories but nothing changes. I just keep gaining. I’ve also been having a lot of sleep issues since I cut back his feeding. I fall asleep and wake up over and over again. My self esteem has been in the toilet and I decided to wean him 5 days ago. He’s talking it well. I am not. I had planned on having him self wean and worry that he’s no longer getting my milk. I feel incredibly selfish because I would have never weaned had I not gained so much weight. I feel very unhealthy and unattractive. I’ve begun avoiding social situations because I don’t want people to see how fat I am. However, even with all of that, I think I’m going to start breastfeeding him again. The milk is still there. I feel so selfish and want him to have the best. This is so hard.

    • These situations are always tough Margo, I’m so sorry you are struggling right now! I pray it gets better soon and that we can offer support to you in some small way!

  43. I am currently 6mo pp, and gained about 50lb during pregnancy. I have such a similar story to all the ones I’ve read here: 5’9 and 145lb pre-pregnancy, then lost about 25 lb by the 3 week appt, then back up 5lb when I went back to work at 3mo, and not a budge on the scale since then.

    I have a theory which I would love to have investigated.. too bad I’m too poor to finance research 😀

    I really think that our bodies hold onto this weight as a way to protect the baby. I remember reading somewhere that toxins present in our bodies can be sequestered in fat stores. Perhaps, if we were to lose this weight, those toxins would be liberated, and deposited into the bloodstream and also into the milk, as the fat stores are broken down.

    Maybe someday we’ll know. Until then, I am going to give in and buy some bigger pants, sigh. When this cutie weans and before I get pregnant again I am going to seriously focus on detoxification!

  44. My baby is now 10 months old and I’m about to turn 30. My pre-pregnancy weight was 120 lbs. I weighed 199 lbs when I gave birth to a healthy 9 lb baby, so I had gained almost 80 lbs. After the first six weeks postpartum, I was down to 169 lbs. The weight flew off easily, though much of that was probably fluid. Suddenly, I began to pack the weight back on rapidly and I got back up to 184 lbs. After six months postpartum, I stopped gaining any more weight and I have plateaued in the low 180’s for several months, but I can’t drop any weight no matter what. If I make any effort to restrict calories, my milk practically dries up the next day. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and put on levothyroxine, but nonetheless, my weight will not budge. I have to stay up all night to work while the baby sleeps, and then stay up most of the day to take care of the baby, so the severe lack of sleep and stress has really compounded the problem, and sadly, there is no answer for this part of it. I have more or less withdrawn from social life since I’m humiliated by my tremendous weight gain, and I have the body type that does not look at all decent with this extra weight, just lumpy and saggy with bad skin. I wish I could wean my baby now and try to get my life back, but all the formulas I’ve tried give her diarrhea and she refuses the bottle, anyway. She eats solids but not enough to sustain her, so I just don’t know when it will even be possible to wean. It’s such a powerless feeling, being trapped. I know I’m doing what’s best for my baby, even though I don’t have much choice at this point, but it’s such a difficult reality to face.

    • Oh goodness B, I am so sorry that you are facing this. I’m proud of you for doing the very best you can for your little one, and if there’s one thing for sure it’s that this is a short term situation, it will pass. I know that sounds trite, but it really is true.

      I said a prayer for you today, if I can ever be of any help to you please email or contact me and let’s talk some more!

  45. What a relief after reading this article and comments. I’m not the only one. I am a marathon runner and I run 3-4 times a week and haven’t lost any weight. I am carrying the extra weight for my baby! 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing Nicole! I have been so blessed by all the comments and feelings shared on this post. Thankfully I feel encouraged that there are answers and options out there for all of us!