Is it really possible to lose weight while breastfeeding?

Cheers to all mums and dads at the beginning of a New Year!

I wish you can start and continue it with more rest, more sleep and positive energy than you had hoped for!

As for me, I cannot complain of sleep, only yesterday I packed lots of planning with Marius for Mum&About in 2022!

Up until exactly a year ago, in my 38 years, I wasn’t one to plan or commit to New Year’s resolutions. After two extended breastfeeding journeys totaling over 6 years with two kiddos, my body weight was about 10 kilograms over the pre-pregnancy weight.

It may not feel like much, but it was a heavy load for the way I perceived myself and for my chronically inflamed knee joints!

At this stage, breastfeeding was still part of my lifestyle, although mainly one feed/day at bed time. For the amount of time coming up to January 2021, it is safe to say that there was no way I could have contemplated weight loss and staying sane. In between feeding frequency, my youngest colds&flu’s, comforting, work commitments and long-term tiredness, food... plentiful and nutritious food was what kept my body above the water!

I'm also currently reviewing and thinking how to remind my children of healthy food habits, and came across this infographic from HSE, you will find the original source here, I will be printing it for my kitchen!

Yesterday, one of the Lactation Consultants I follow and admire, Lucy Ruddle IBCLC posted her views on dieting while breastfeeding and whether it is safe to do so. With her permission, I reposted it to our social media. I do think that it is a list compiled with kindness and a lot of understanding for mums.

Being gentle with ourselves is a cornerstone I hope each one of us will become aware of as soon as possible in our parenting journeys.

So, if you asked me within the first three years of breastfeeding my second, I would have thought it was a crazy thought, just impossible. Well, sort of impossible by myself.  Obviously, everyone’s circumstances are different, so are our bodies, our need for rest or our children personalities.

As it happened, last January, my husband was starting a program with a dietician, focusing on his own weight loss needs. To give him a helping hand I said to tag along and support him in the first few weeks of building habits and calories restriction.  Mind you, I was... never... on a diet before!

Oh boy, the first two weeks were like a hard to crack neuroprogramming sequence!

As if you actively fight your brain to behave and to work in your favour: a work colleague came in after lunch with a carton of cookies, offering it to everyone! While I refused politely, my brain was already imagining their taste, and gave me an unrequested snapshot of ‘what if’?

As if it was promising me how the sugar would flood the body with dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ hormone.  Tuning in to my brain this way was a very weird experience for sure, but also one that awoken a new way of understanding many other processes.

Within a week, no sugar meant no painful joints day or night, that was better sleep, that was more energy and definitely better mood!

God, what a discovery I made for myself!

 It was motivating!

Then it was the no snacking between meals, other than the planned snacks. It was hard, but merely a habit to get into. Lots of water, two meals a day with one snack, and a gap of 16 hours without any bite of food,   got me 8 kilograms less within about 4 months.

I wouldn’t say that the calories restriction is something I would be able to sustain long term, maybe for a week or two, but the dietician guidance enabled me to achieve habits that I was happy to implement long term and are here to stay. I also enjoy the sight of the weighting scale in the bathroom every morning. Getting on it nearly every day somehow motivates me: to remember and be proud of the journey I had been on.

I’m not going into any details of calorie counting, Dieticians are highly specialized, and so good at advising people on it. I will mention though a little nugget one of my Diabetes patients, Maurice, shared with me around the same time: ‘What gets measured gets done!’

It made so much sense and immediately clicked with me! Again my nurse brain found a way to confirm his wise theory from experience. A few years ago, when I was running a Shared Care Glaucoma clinic, I used to empower my Ocular Hypertension patients by helping them understand the concept of intraocular pressure and the need to keep it within a normal range with lowering agents(eye drops). On I went about “...the amount of fluid produced in the eye, should always be in balance with the amount of fluid released from the eye. Too much fluid being produced or too little being released can cause a build up of pressure that can lead to damage of the optic nerve fibers...”  Once again, the in&out continuum showing itself in many forms.

Don’t we check baby’s weight so frequently to be sure she/he is putting on enough weight? Sometimes we even measure the amount of milk they are getting; we are very focused on it when the baby is a Newborn, pretty much in the first few months of their lives. It just goes to show that metabolic issues or not, it’s always about striving for balance.  For mums, balance is so hard to achieve when our little ones demand for milk is in full swing.

As body positivity advocates through the fashion solutions we create, we understand mum’s need to look and feel good when so much of her priorities have changed, when balance is a concept we strive for, rather than master.

And speaking of a feel good factor, we finally have some good news on our shores! This week, Lana, our little black number is restocked in all sizes from 8 to 16! You can purchase it directly from our Dublin stock!

I even filmed a little video wearing it, after losing about 6 kilograms out of the 10 I was telling you earlier! I will only be sharing it in the emails, so scroll down here and sign up  to see the success! I know I’m no model, but it felt sooo good!

So what do you think? How are you getting on? What is your secret for maintaining or regaining your desired weight while breastfeeding? Have you been blessed with good genes and a very active metabolism? What is it that had made a difference for you?

I look forward to hearing from you here in the comments or on the social media. Any comment, like, share or save is much appreciated!

Xo

Otilia