Do You Gain Weight When You Stop Breastfeeding? What Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know

Right after childbirth, you are probably ecstatic about losing the pregnancy weight you have packed. Some mommies believe that breastfeeding is the best way of doing it.

According to studies, women who breastfeed will burn around 500 calories a day as they produce breastmilk. It sounds pretty promising, right? But now that you are already close to weaning your child, you probably also have that one question in mind. Do you gain weight when you stop breastfeeding, and what else can you do about it?

Gaining weight after breastfeeding is subjective: some women do, others don’t. But a majority of moms do gain weight, and it is normal. It is partly due to metabolism and appetite changes as your body starts to reset itself to its pre-baby phase. Some moms are accustomed to eating heavy during breastfeeding for their caloric needs and may eat out of habit. Watching your diet and getting active are the best ways of helping your body deal with the changes after breastfeeding.

What causes weight gain after breastfeeding?

An infant boy just finished breastfeeding.

Women should note that breastfeeding is not a weight-loss miracle. Breastfeeding moms do burn more calories in the process that make them hungrier than those who don’t. Thus, you need to supplement your body with a proper diet for you and your baby’s nutritional needs.

After breastfeeding, your metabolism slows down as your milk production begins to dry up. This, along with hormonal changes, can become the problem in your weight loss plan.

If you stop breastfeeding and noticed that you are not losing but only gaining weight, here are the probable reasons:

Eating more than what you can burn

You used to eat for two while breastfeeding. But now that you transition feeding or weaning your baby, you only have your own body to fend for.

If your eating portion and habit do not change, you are only taking in more calories because your body will stop spending the calories it needs for milk production.

Hormonal changes

Prolactin and oxytocin, the hormones that you produce during lactation, will gradually drop.

Your body’s ability to burn extra fat will also decrease. It may cause you to gain more pounds aside from the inevitable mood swings and emotional rollercoaster. 

Overwhelmed by stress and guilt

A young mom is trying to work on the kitchen table, but her infant son is sitting on her lap creating a mess, and stressing her out.

Anxiety and stress are at their peak during the weaning process. At some point, mothers may even experience guilt losing the close bond they had with their babies.

In turn, stress can boost the appetite and cravings. And if you are not mindful, it may turn your attention to food.

You are not exercising enough

With all the demands of motherhood and work, exercising may not be on your priority list.

Unfortunately, all the food that you take will need that extra pump of muscles. Less time and opportunity for physical activity may throw your weight loss plan off-board.

Avoiding weight gain after breastfeeding

The mom-journey is different for every mother. But one thing is certain: you will undergo a lot of changes in your body.

A young mom is eating healthy to avoid weight gain after breastfeeding.

Here are some tips to help you through the weaning process without packing additional weight and love handles.

  • Wean slowly to give time to your hormones to adjust.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet but avoid overeating.
  • Snack on low-calorie food to curb your appetite.
  • Give time for moderate physical activity.
  • Change your lifestyle and adjust to a new diet and routine.
  • Find special activities for you and your baby’s bonding in place of breastfeeding.
  • If you have problems losing weight and experience other symptoms like blurred vision or extreme depression, visit your doctor.

Takeaway

Weight gain after you stop breastfeeding is normal. By adopting a new lifestyle and sticking to a new diet plan, you will get through it eventually.

It’s not always a guarantee that you can shed off all that flab you gained bearing your baby. But as long as you are healthy and fit, nothing else will matter.

How your body looks do not make you any less than the great mom that you are. And though this line calls for a celebration, it is still better to keep your caloric intake in check.

Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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