Tomorrow my youngest will be one year old! It’s crazy how fast time goes. Of course I don’t feel ready for him to be one yet, but I think that’s normal. Are we really ever ready for them start walking, talking, reading, just growing up in general? It’s like one minute they need you for everything and the next they’re slamming their door with an attitude. Our first year together has been amazingly wonderful though. I’m grateful for my handsome little boy and that I’m lucky enough to be his mommy.
What I want to blog about today is breast feeding. I was always told that breast feeding helps you lose weight quickly. “It’s like doing 50 minutes of cardio” I remember hearing. So I thought I’d lose all that baby weight quick for sure. All that talk about how you burn all these calories just by feeding your baby. How some women lose all the weight and then some. I was wrong.
First off, you don’t burn calories breast feeding. Each ounce contains about 20 calories. So depending on how much your baby eats is what you’re actually getting rid of. You know what I don’t remember hearing about? How hungry you’re going to be while breast feeding. Sure, I may get rid of 500 calories a day breast feeding but how many extra am I consuming? I’ve never been so hungry in my life. I can’t go two hours without eating something. I seen someone say “breast feed so you can eat 500 calories worth of Oreos everyday.” 500 calories of Oreos would not fill me up. I wish it was as easy as just losing an extra 500 calories.
The first few months I breast fed without exercising. I was tired and wanted to let my body rest. I did lose almost all of the baby weight. I think I was about 4 months postpartum when I was stuck with about 4lbs extra, so I decided to start exercising. Over the next month or two I did cardio. I hit my pre-pregnancy weight and was stuck there. Two problems, not only was I stuck but my stomach was much bigger than before I got pregnant. I needed something different.
I started lifting weights. The weight has been coming off steadily since then. I had my son a year ago tomorrow and I lost all the pregnancy weight (I gained 39lbs total) plus an extra 15lbs. The more muscle you have, the more fat your burn. BUT, you need to feed your muscles. The amount of calories I consume is probably around 2600. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more than that. Not only have I lost weight but I’ve gained muscle. I don’t eat meat and I can’t eat nuts regularly cause of breast feeding so getting 130g+ of protein a day has been a little tough as well.
People have said “oh, no wonder you’re so tiny, you breast feed.” No, that’s not why. Breast feeding causes me to eat more. So yes, I get rid of calories but I also consume more. It’s not enough to count as a workout. People act like its so easy, and I’m sure it is for some. It was hard for me to find a balance. If I don’t eat enough, I don’t produce enough milk. I was reminded of that when I started lifting weights. I needed to eat more food. While I’d love to say I just added a bunch of fruits and veggies, that’s not the case. I know they’re low calorie and have loads of nutrients but they don’t fill me up for long at all. It’s all about those carbs!
It took so much adjusting to figure out what’s right for me and my little one. As far as what to eat, how much to eat, how much water I need, when to workout, how much to workout and what workouts to do. What I do doesn’t just effect me, but it also takes a toll on my milk production which effects my son. I can’t run for an hour and then come home to lift weights for an hour. That’s just too much for me while breast feeding.
My journey of balancing breast feeding and fitness over the last year has been a roller coaster. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve loved every minute. I’m thankful I was able to find a balance, but from my own personal experience I have to say that it’s a load of crap that you’ll lose the baby weight just because you breast feed. It irritates me that people think I lost all this weight so easily when I’ve had to work my butt off for it. I had to put on muscle to be able to lose fat.
I’m not saying breast feeding plays no part. Some days I feel like it does and others I feel like it holds me back from my goals but either way I wouldn’t trade the bond it’s created between my son and I for anything. It’s not something I plan on stopping just because he’s 1. I just wanted to share a little about my journey with breast feeding and fitness. I don’t want people think this came easy for me. I believe nothing worth having comes easy and so far that’s been true.
Thanks for reading!
Stay healthy and active!