Happy Saturday, friends!
Today I have a guest post for you from Christine, the mastermind writer for the website What To Expect--which is indeed, as you probably already suspected--a site related to the life-saving collection of What to Expect books.
In this post she shares her experience of prolonged weight loss after giving birth to her precious daughter, Marlo. Her story is a great example of how every body is different and we shouldn't expect to shed off the pounds right away. Sure, it is totally okay to want to get back in shape asap and do what you can to lose the pregnancy weight, but ultimately, the well-being of your body and your baby comes first. Wouldn't you agree?
Enough of me talking and let's give Christine a warm welcome! I hope her story provides some encouragement for you, and please feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below! :D
Every magazine that has a body-after-baby debut of a celebrity always asks the question: How did you lose the baby weight so quickly? Nine times out of ten the answer is the same. They credit it all to breastfeeding which just isn't always the reality.
I gained around twenty five pounds while pregnant with my daughter, Marlo. I had a healthy pregnancy and an intense and relatively quick labor followed by a run-of-the-mill vaginal delivery. When I left the hospital to go home, twelve of those pounds remained. Six weeks later, my doctor told me at my first postpartum check-up that it took ten months to put on and that it'll take ten months to take off and to not worry about losing the weight too much. I didn't believe him. Why would I? All of the articles I had poured over while pregnant had declared breastfeeding the weight loss magic trick; therefore, I assumed that the weight would fall right off of me, too. It had no reason not to.
But there I was, almost an entire year later at the exact same weight as the day I left the hospital and here's why:
Even though breastfeeding has been scientifically proven to burn between 300-500 extra calories a day, I had to take in an extra 300-500 calories on top of my daily caloric needs to keep my milk supply up. Marlo had an unbelievable appetite and I felt as if I was starving all day long. It was almost comical how hungry I'd become the second she would latch. I can even recall screaming violently at my husband from the nursery downstairs to bring me a banana as fast as he possibly could while I nursed our newborn. It'd be safe to say that I ate more while breastfeeding than I ever did while pregnant.
I also made sure that I was eating healthy fats which are also high in calories, so my milk would have a high fat content for Marlo's developing brain. When I didn't eat enough fats, my milk wouldn't satisfy Marlo for as long, and I'd be feeding her every two hours instead of every four. I ate full-fat yogurt and drank grass-fed whole milk. I ate an entire avocado daily and cooked everything in coconut oil. I never skimped on real butter, either. I snacked on almonds and various nuts. I also ate kale as if my life depended on it, which helped me justify everything else that I was gorging myself on. I consumed roughly 2,100-2,200 calories a day. I was eating nutritious and real food for my baby's development and for healthy lactation, not to lose weight.
When Marlo self-weaned (cold turkey) at eleven months, my appetite instantaneously decreased. Within two months, I lost the remaining weight and an extra five pounds without trying. I kept up my normal physical activity level which was fairly moderate because we walked around Manhattan all day. Also, all of the high-fat foods which I had been consuming for the past year were no longer necessary in the amounts that I had previously been eating them. My body took care of itself and got back to it's normal weight.
Did I get frustrated that my body hadn't recovered as quickly as I would've liked? Sure. Was it a bummer when my pre-baby skinny jeans still didn't fit as my daughter's first birthday approached? Absolutely. Did I throw a magazine across the room after reading how yet another celebrity bounced back after baby? Yes, sadly, that was me. However, I know that I maintained a healthy postpartum-breastfeeding diet and losing the baby weight wasn't my main priority. I'm sure that breastfeeding does help many women lose all of their baby weight; that just wasn't the case for me and I think it's important to let other women know that a healthy diet for you and for your baby is the most important thing.
For more information on breastfeeding, check out www.whattoexpect.com
Christine is a contributing writer for WhatToExpect.com and founder and editor of an anecdotal approach to life as a wife, mama, writer, and woman. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Joe, and her daughter, Marlo.
Does her story resonate with yours in one way or another?