Friday, December 5, 2014

My Nursing Weight

Before I was pregnant with Grace, one of my biggest concerns was pregnancy weight gain and how to lose it after birth. Everyone knows that pregnancy dooms women to be fat forever and losing the baby weight is nearly impossible. Of course, every baby I had ever been around had been totally or almost totally formula fed so, yes, all that weight that mom gained to feed the baby but didn't use to feed the baby did hang around for years. Or forever. Whatever. This is what I knew and I was worried. I scrupulously watched my calories and kept my weight gain as small as I could manage. I was still disappointed in myself because I gained 27 pounds. I had hoped to keep it under 25. I knew that the guidelines recommended 25-35, but my mother only gained 19 pounds with me and she never lost the extra weight from that pregnancy, so in my mind every extra pound was one that would be doubly hard to lose later and might be with me forever. I did have one glimmer of hope and that was I was planning on nursing which was supposed to help with weight loss.

Wow! Nursing *does* help with weight loss.! Or at least for me.

After Grace was born, I lost every ounce of that 27lbs in three weeks. I was still so shellshocked by the demands of a newborn and trying to cope that I never gave a thought to my weight. I was in complete survival mode. My first real thought about my weight was when I realized that my maternity clothes were falling off of me and I would have to dig out my regular clothes again before I could go out in public.

With Olivia, I gained 30 pounds and worried much less about the weight loss. I thought it would fall off just as easily as the first time. Again, I didn't think much about it postpartum because newborn. Then at six weeks, when I regained my senses, I thought I would pull out my regular pants because, you know, it had been six whole weeks. Devastation as I could not pull my pants over my thighs! I had been tricked! The first time was a fluke! I was doomed! Or not. This time it took three whole months to lose the weight.

Now I was wise. With Sam, I gained about 33 pounds. I expected it to take longer to get it off this time. The process was much slower which was a bit discouraging, especially when I had to go back to work in ill-fitting maternity clothes because I couldn't afford to buy clothes that fit. I lost it in fits and starts which was scary because I was sure every plateau was it and the magic was gone. But after about six months, the weight was gone again.

With Marian, I only gained around 30 again and the weight loss happened in much the same manner as after Sam. Slowly, in fits and starts, but gone after seven months. This time I could afford a few pieces of clothing that fit so, at least, I didn't look as terrible.

Each time after the pregnancy weight was gone, I enjoyed a glorious time. I *kept* losing weight. Bizarre. I would bottom out about five pounds lower than I really should weigh. It is an interesting problem to have. I could eat what I wanted and in any quantity I wanted. Finish the plate at the restaurant? Absolutely. Dessert whenever. Yes! Snacks in between meals? Why not? Food, glorious food! And it wasn't even gluttonous because I *needed* the calories.

But then after a time, my calorie needs drop and my weight starts to increase. This is okay because I really needed to weigh more. My weight would drift upwards until I reached a good and appropriate weight and then I would hang out there for months. It is what happens next that drives me crazy.

I can weigh the same for months and keep approximately the same eating patterns and then something happens with the nursing or my body or something and I will gain five whole pounds in two weeks flat. For a short person like me five pounds is a lot.

When it happened after Grace I was shocked at how quickly the weight just showed up. I was determined not to let it happen again. But it happened again after Olivia. And Sam. And now Marian! It just sneaks up and happens in a blink of an eye. Even when I know it's coming, I can't seem to stop it.

In the past my weight loss solution has been a long term plan where I gestate another baby and let the nursing magic happen again. At some point this will cease to be a viable solution, but it is hard to work up the energy needed to lose five vanity pounds. I was hoping it would be different this time. Dang.


The Sojourner said...

I lost 39 pounds in the six months before J was conceived (due to actually medicating for long-term health issues instead of just counting calories and hating myself) and gained "only" 29 while pregnant, despite eating all sorts of junk food the entire time.

By my 6-week follow-up I was only about 6 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight. By 6 months I was about 16 pounds up. :o I blame antidepressants.

Since then I haven't done anything different except weaning off antidepressants and am now (12 months pp) only about 11 pounds up.

11 pounds up from pre-pregnancy weight is just enough to nudge me from "overweight" to "obese" on the silly chart, so I should probably work on losing weight again, especially since we do want to have another baby at some point and my ovaries seem to have a switch that turns on and off right around that pre-pregnancy weight.

But man, I really like food.

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