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NOTES FROM DEANNA

4 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

(Pictured above: me with my first and fourth babies, both at 6 months postpartum and breastfeeding)

I have given birth to and breastfed four babies now, and up until the last baby, thought I could not lose a pound while nursing. And although it was definitely still a struggle and a lot of trial and error, I did manage to figure out how to do it. What I thought was impossible was just a matter of tweaking a few things.

6 months ago I opened up my Fit After Pregnancy Coaching Program to women who have had their babies. As I’ve written about, it can be extra challenging to drop the weight of pregnancy while breastfeeding. Here are the four most common problems my clients were having before coming to me for help, and how we have worked together to overcome them.

You Haven’t Found the Sweet Spot

Cutting massive calories will not work during this time. Your breastfeeding body loves fat, and if it thinks there is no fuel coming in, it won’t let go of the fat reserves. You must eat enough calories to let your body relax and let go of the additional fat stores, but also eat less than your maintenance or weight gain range. With my coaching clients, I call this the “sweet spot”. And while every single one of my clients initially came to me saying “I can’t lose fat while breastfeeding”, they are all now in that range and losing 1-2 pounds a week. Take a look at the progress of one of my clients below, currently on my meal plan program and eating close to 2000 calories a day:

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 3.55.00 PM

Many of my clients have ended up needing an INCREASE in calories before they began to drop the weight.

You’re Being Too Restrictive

Along the lines of not eating enough calories, another reason women fail to make any progress while nursing is they become too restrictive. They cut carbs out, or give up all sweets, or force feed themselves bland, boring foods that they think they have to eat to lose weight. This is just simply unnecessary. I make sure that my clients’ meal plans are also full of delicious foods that they enjoy. In fact, I give them each 200-300 calories per day to eat whatever they want. Why does this work? Because it eliminates the number one obstacle to long-term adherence: the restrict/binge cycle. There is no willpower being worn down on a day to day basis. They are eating 80-90% whole, healthy foods, but it’s recipes they love (and they often tell me their spouse and kids end up loving them too!). They never have to eat an entire bag of chocolate because they don’t feel like it’s going to be the last time they ever get to eat chocolate.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.07.35 PM

A sample day on my meal plan includes delicious recipes and free calories

Don’t listen to all the BS out there about certain foods being the devil. That’s not real life. Just find the right balance of whole foods and fun foods, eat within that sweet spot, and you’ll make progress towards your goals.

You Think You Have to Exercise Long and Hard to Force the Weight Off

Forget long, grueling workouts. It won’t happen in the first year, especially if you’re working around your baby’s sometimes non-existent schedule. I give my clients short, intense 20-30 minute workouts that are efficient and put the body into a fat-burning mode day and night. Not only does this help with their breastfeeding hormones situation, but it’s much easier to fit in to the life of a new mom.

Exercising with a new baby is not easy. Exercising with a new baby, older siblings, and maybe even a full-time job can feel impossible. Exercising to lose weight with all of the above pressures sitting on your shoulders? It’s just not gonna happen.

You cannot go into an exercise program postpartum with the mentality that you’re going to exercise the extra weight off. You’ll lose patience before you see any results because it takes time, longer than your willpower will last.

Exercise for the enjoyment, for the endorphins, for the energy. Associate those good feelings with the choice to exercise each day. Endorphins are instant gratification, and that will keep you going.

Your Mindset is Off

None of the above matters if you don’t get your mind right. Your thoughts are incredibly powerful, and your choices will reflect what your mind believes. If your thoughts are negative, self-abusive, and berating, you will make subtle choices that reflect those thoughts. Adversely, if your thoughts are positive, accepting, and patient, your choices and behaviors will also begin to reflect this. What most women think is that they will diet and exercise down to a body they like, and THEN self-acceptance will come. But this is backwards! This is why my coaching program includes weekly mindset lessons where we work on body image, self-talk, and belief systems. You won’t want to take care of yourself if you don’t like yourself. You might temporarily be able to out-exercise and under-eat your way to a body you’re happier with, but it won’t last and you’ll be miserable along the way. I teach my clients to eat not only for pleasure but for health, to exercise not only for joy but for stress relief, and to learn to listen to their bodies. The bonus to learning and practicing this self-care and self-acceptance? A quiet, peaceful mind AND your best body.

To learn more about my Fit After Pregnancy coaching program and submit an application, click here.

 

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  1. Danica

    June 7th, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I have 5 kids. I’ve only lost weight while breastfeeding one. That was my first and I was 21 and supplemented with formula. How do I find my sweet spot?

  2. Deanna Schober

    June 8th, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Use my calorie calculator to find your maintenance calories while breastfeeding, and then subtract 15% from that number. Consider that your starting point. Be consistent with those calories for 2 weeks, and if nothing happens then drop 50-100 and be consistent for another 2 weeks. Keep going until you find the sweet spot! 🙂 With all of my clients we’ve managed to find that number on the first try.

  3. Jennifer Flair

    June 27th, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    How can I locate your calorie calculator for weight loss while breastfeeding?

  4. Deanna Schober

    July 6th, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    In the top menu section of the website 🙂

  5. Jillian

    September 7th, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    So for instance, the calculator says that my maintenance calories should be 2198 (2698 when I check off that I am breastfeeding). Should I subtract the 15% from the first number, or the second? Thank you!

  6. Deanna Schober

    September 8th, 2017 at 8:46 am

    From the second number as a starting point.

  7. Jillian

    September 8th, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I’m glad that I checked – I’ve only been eating 1900 calories, and my supply has started to go down. Not sure if it’s a coincidence or connected, but I’ll try the different number and see how it goes. Thank you so much!

  8. Amanda

    May 8th, 2018 at 10:24 am

    When using the calorie counter which weight is better to start from postpartum breastfeeding weight or pre-pregnancy weight?

  9. Deanna Schober

    May 9th, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Your current weight

  10. Nicole

    October 26th, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Thank you for this! Just had my fourth and am going to use your calculator Any chance you would share the macronutrient percentage breakdown you recommend?

  11. Deanna Schober

    October 27th, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I’m not a big macros person, I would just say at least 100g of protein and let the others fall where they may. Once you get down to losing the last 5-10 lbs you might need to begin limiting carbs but for most people that’s not necessary.

  12. Abigail

    January 15th, 2017 at 7:06 am

    I always have an issue with counting calories. I like to think I eat healthy in that I don’t eat much “boxes” or “packaged” foods. I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. These don’t come with a nutrition labels. I’m not in the habit of counting calories. So when I make a dinner I don’t want to have to look at each and every ingredient, ex: the olive oil, the spices, the salad dressing, the bag of potatoes, and do all that math and then figure out wahat constitutes a serving for each one. How do I work this out?

  13. Deanna Schober

    January 15th, 2017 at 8:17 am

    If you don’t like counting calories (which I have gotten away from since writing this post, as a coach) then as long as you’re eating mostly whole foods just try staying in touch with your body and hunger cues and eat until you’re about 80% full (100% would be stuffed). Because you’re nursing this might be more than you’re used to! I do believe our bodies will tell us exactly what we need if we learn to listen.

  14. Abigail

    January 15th, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Actually the only issue I’m having is I seem to not be able to control binging on the sweets. I have the issue of convincing myself that THIS time I will control myself and then I buy the cake mix or package of cookies or chocolates for my pretty candy jar. Then I binge on them and feel sick. Physically and mentally. Other than that i eat pretty healthy. No fast food( I tend to feel sick even thinking about it especially with breastfeeding. Nature really is amazing!) I don’t do boxed dinners or frozen food meals either, very rarely. As I said in my above comment it’s lost of prepared meals, raw fruits and veggies, plain oats, eggs, yogurt whole grain breads healthy fats, lean meats etc etc. sooooo I literally just got up and threw the cake I had made last night away. The cake that I ate half of and prompted me to write this as I lay awake at 3am AK time. So please excuse typos due to my wakeful mommy exhaustion ;-p So tell me PLEASE how do I find my sweet spot. I also got myself an awesome personal trainer about 2 years ago and over a year lost a lot of weight and got nice and toned so I know all kinds of excercise and love to do it. But like you said the time is hard to come by now so I’ve been easing into it with moves I can do in my living room. Also my son is 2 months old now and I’m breastfeeding exclusively. I have a wonderful 9 year old daughter also who is so helpful and I am preparing to go back to work however I stepped down from full time to part time so shouldn’t be too much, we shall see! Thank you so much for your time 4 babies=super woman.

  15. Deanna Schober

    January 15th, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Cravings and bingeing on sweets is a sign that you’re not getting enough to eat. Increase the amount of protein, healthy fats, fiber and complex carbs you’re eating at your main meals and the cravings should stop.

    You should have some hormone changes at around 4-6 months postpartum that will make changes easier to make as your metabolism revs up. Before that many women’s bodies hold on to fat for dear life as the milk supply is being established.

    Good luck!

  16. Abigail

    January 15th, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Alrighty, I’ll give that a try. I’m usually hungry all the time and It’s hard to keep up with my hunger demand right now too. Healthy food up here in AK is so expensive. Which I have always said how ridickus it is that staying healthy is for the rich it feels sometimes. So I do tend to make myself wait so I can stretch out my food. If I weren’t breastfeeding it would be fine. I have a WIC appoinment soon so that should help with the financial part of my eating like a crazy person. I’ll go stock up on meats today. Thank you!

  17. Abigail

    January 15th, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Any tips on complex fats?

  18. Kendall

    January 15th, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Hello! I’m breastfeeding my 3rd baby and she is 9 months old. I have never breastfed for this long and am having a hard time losing the last 10 pounds! Where is your calorie calculator? I would love to try your program!

  19. December

    February 15th, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I’m 24 and breast feeding my first baby. It’s been 6 months and I feel like I’m gaining more weight than losing. I regret to say I eat a lot of prepackaged food due to the fact my husband is the only income right now. I try to eat the calories my body needs, could prepackaged foods be a factor in the weight gain? Although it may mean less food- would it be necessary to switch over tp whole foods?

  20. Deanna Schober

    February 15th, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Necessary? No. But maybe a little easier. Whole foods fill you up more than processed foods do, so you’d have less issues with hunger, and your body would be healthier overall. But for weight loss you just need to eat slightly less calories than you need to maintain your weight. You don’t necessarily need to eat 100% whole foods all the time, but adding them in where you can would help your hunger and blood sugar.

  21. Tetyana

    February 21st, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I am working out 4-6 times a week with personal trainer, do not consume more than 1500call a day. Usually it is arpund 1000-1300. I have lost only 8 lbs for 11 month.
    Breastfeeding my daughter for 2.5 years.
    I am about to give up and go to doctor, as with no work out and no diet I had almost the same result.
    Any idea?

  22. Deanna Schober

    February 22nd, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    You are almost certainly not eating enough food – your body might be hanging on to the extra fat because it is taking in so little fuel – try increasing your protein and veggie intake until you hit a higher calorie level. With that much exercise you need more fuel in the tank!

  23. Romi

    March 25th, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    I have been following Weight Watchers and exercising 30 min 4-5 t/week since May 2016. I have lost 10 lbs, but for the last 3-4 months I have plateau at my current weight for some reason. I am just breastfeeding 1-3 t/24 hr now and wishing to stop next month when my son turns 2 1/2 years.
    How could I get out of this plateau and start loosing weight again? (I do see a lot of change in my body with my exercise routine which includes weight lifting but no changes in the scale).
    Thank you.

  24. Deanna Schober

    March 27th, 2017 at 10:21 am

    If you’re seeing positive body composition changes, why worry about the scale? Muscle is dense and now that you’re building it, your “normal” weight might have changed. I would just stay consistent, make sure you’re eating according to your hunger cues and I think you will continue to see positive changes. 🙂 Scales are overrated!

  25. cate

    April 3rd, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I have been trying to follow a nutritarian diet- particularly Eat to Live. I have been breastfeeding for a year and a half. I have not been able to lose weight after my pregnancy besides a measly 10lbs when I was training for a half marathon( I also lost some milk supply.) I have been on this diet for about a week and a half now, and nothing is happening. Besides the fact that I am starving. I am now lactose intolerant, thanks to my daughter who had milk protein allergy up until recently. I had cut all dairy out of my diet to bf her, and it totally made me lactose intolerant. Therefore, nutritarian wasn’t a huge step for me cut dairy. I definitely miss salt and meat. Anyway, this is the 3rd diet I have tried and I don’t think its working either. Most of the time it works a little bit or not at all. As well, usually my supply responds to the diet by decreasing and my daughter therefore wants to nurse constantly. I just don’t know what to do. Should I just stop trying to lose weight until I am done nursing?

  26. Deanna Schober

    April 4th, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Maybe stop trying to lose weight and see what happens when you just practice self-care. If you listen carefully to your body and the signals it sends you, you will end up at your healthiest weight eventually, even if it’s a few pounds heavier than you are used to because of nursing. If you’re starving, you’re not getting enough fuel. Your body won’t let go of extra fat if it senses famine (which it seems like it does). Try eating healthy foods but in larger portions.

  27. Valerie

    April 7th, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Does all this information also apply to women who are strictly pumping?

  28. Deanna Schober

    April 20th, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Yes, anyone who produces breastmilk 🙂

  29. Ashley

    April 9th, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I struggled with an eating disorder on and off before becoming pregnant. Because of that I have never learned to or become comfortable with listening to my body’s hunger cues. Before getting pregnant I fluctuated between 115-120 pounds for over a year. My diet was definitely restricted but not extremely. I probably ate about 1500 calories a day, more or less. It’s hard to know because I stopped counting calories a long time ago. During my pregnancy I gained around 45-50 pounds. At my 2 week pp checkup I had lost around 20 pounds. At my 8 week pp visit I had GAINED 2 pounds! I exclusively breastfeed and plan to breastfeed for at least a year. I walk for at least 20 minutes everyday with my dog and I started exercising for an hour 3 times a week a few weeks ago. I am definitely not over-eating…It’s possible I am under-eating. Could that be the reason for the weight gain? Do you think if I do something differently I will be able to lose weight while I breastfeed? Do you think I can get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight once I stop breastfeeding?

  30. Deanna Schober

    April 20th, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Hi Ashley,
    I relate to your struggle. Do I think you can get down to pre-pregnancy weight once you stop? That is impossible to say, and too many of us compare our post-baby bodies to our current ones. We change as we go through pregnancy and just life in general. What I do know is that you can get back to your HEALTHIEST weight for the current season of your life. I don’t know how far postpartum you are, but I found it pretty hard to move any weight the first 2 months when I was establishing my milk supply, no matter what I did. Things got easier after that. But it is certainly possible that you might be undereating. Make it a goal to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, and then add snacks as needed to your hunger level. If that feels overwhelming, start with just breakfast and add in more as you go. Good luck!

  31. Amanda

    April 19th, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Hi. I’m currently breastfeeding my 3rd baby. He will be 18 months May 4th. With my first(had him at 19) I lost 30lbs by the time I left the hospital and had lost all but 18lbs by 6 months. Just before he turned 8 months I found out I was pregnant with his middle brother. I had him at 20, once again on bed rest(I have been on bed rest with all 3 of my boys). I couldn’t for the life of me get below 160(heaviest was 172 while pregnant with oldest and middle, over 180 with youngest.) Middle son went into the hospital for 3 months and I was consistently .eating at least 2 meals a day and pumping for him. I started losing weight. 2 weeks after he came home from the hospital(he was 13 months) I found out I was pregnant with his baby brother(had him at 21, 9 days before I turned 22), the one I am currently nursing. I got to 180 something with him, again bed rest for 10 weeks. I’m currently 23 and last I checked I was 162. I fluctuate between 155-165. I was 116 when I got pregnant with my oldest…it’s driving me crazy having all this extra weight. I am also on the mini pill which I was not on after my oldest. I’m not sure if it is part of the reason why I can’t lose weight or not. The birth control and not taking my prenatal as often as I should are the only things that changed between my first son and my other two. Besides stress.

    I do have a lot of stress in my life(middle son has Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1 and trying to get him on first FDA approved treatment. it’s #1 genetic killer of kids 2 and under), and I don’t get hungry often. Before I had kids it wasn’t really a big deal that I didn’t get hungry often. But I feel like it is a big reason why I am not losing weight. What can I do to fix that? Also I’m a huge chocoholic and a lot of times even when I’m not hungry I can still eat a bag of chocolate. It’s terrible, I know. I really need help losing the weight and as much as I love my husband he tends to give into me wanting chocolate all the time. So he’s not very good at keeping me on task haha. It’s difficult getting to the gym because my middle son has 24/7 nursing and if a nurse calls out I have to fill in if they can’t find anyone.

    Any ideas on work outs I can do at home or to fit my schedule would be greatly appreciated .

  32. Deanna Schober

    April 20th, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I would definitely look at your stress levels as being a factor. If you’re in a state of chronic stress right now (and who wouldn’t be with everything you’re going through!) and not getting enough sleep to clear out the stress hormones, on top of nursing, your body might have trouble dropping fat. I would focus on doing anything you can to relieve your stress, just for yourself, mama! You can’t take care of your babies if you’re not also taken care of. Try some meditation, find even just a few minutes a week to do something nice for yourself, call a friend, workout if it helps. Here’s an article with some home workouts: http://fittobepregnant.com/2016/07/05/workout-youre-exhausted-function/

  33. Allie

    April 20th, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I loved this post, I am on baby number two and breastfeeding. Six months and no weight has come off!!! I had a winter baby and didn’t get outside to do my normal long walks like I did with baby number one. I just did your calorie counter and it recommended almost 3000 calories for me! This seems crazy, can you explain. I entered my current weight 191 but my probably weight is always around 150-160. So I’m not sure if I’m entering the right weight into the box. Would love to know what you think. Thank you!

  34. Deanna Schober

    April 20th, 2017 at 9:02 am

    The calorie calculator calculates your maintenance calories, so 3000 would be what you need to eat daily to maintain your current weight. To find your weight loss calories, subtract 15% from that number. Start there and if nothing happens after 2 weeks, cut 50-100 calories and try that for another week. Keep doing this until you find your “magic” number. Remember that the calculator is just a “prediction” tool and only gives estimates based on the general population, so it might even be easier to not worry about counting calories and just eat to your hunger cues. Eat 3 whole food, healthy meals each day and stop eating when you’re full, then add snacks as needed. If you’re listening to your hunger, your body will find it’s own calorie range. Good luck!

  35. Lena

    May 5th, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    I’m 4 months pp and gained about 40lbs during my pregnancy (this is my first) I lost the first 20lbs within 3 weeks and was so excited and now I’m stuck. I seem to eat very healthy trying to avoid refined sugar as much as I can working out at least 2 times a week but those pounds just won’t drop. any tips or ideas would be very appreciated!

  36. Deanna Schober

    May 8th, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I would experiment with a higher range of calories and maybe some HIIT (introduced in slow phases). Make sure you’re getting 100g of protein a day and eating lots of vegetables at each meal.If that doesn’t work you could experiment with lowering your starch intake after 3pm (breads, pastas, grains)

  37. Rebecca

    May 5th, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Deanna,

    My little girl is now 8 months old and I have literally not lost a single pound. I can’t say that Im a large person but my weight is currently 135 lbs. I normally sit around the 120 lbs range. I was approximately 135 lbs when I got pregnant (but was a bit heavier than normal). I was diabetic during my pregnancy and had to eat extremely healthy and therefore only gained 15 lbs. This was great cause I was back to my pre pregnancy weight 3 days after birth. Now I’ve been trying to lose weight by doing exercise, healthy eating etc. At one point in cut my calories down to 1200 and was going to the gym and still nothing…so I gave up and stopped trying to lose weight. I know hormones play a large role in weight loss.. I don’t want to stop breastfeeding just so I can try and lose weight but is there anything you can recommend?

  38. Deanna Schober

    May 8th, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I would experiment with a higher range of calories especially if you’re nursing. Stay focused on eating to feel good and exercising for endorphins/enjoyment rather than weight loss, and this will help with your frustration and wanting to give up.

  39. Bethany

    June 6th, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    My LO is older now & down to one feeding session a day right before bed. How should I calculate my calorie goal to find my “sweet spot”?

  40. Deanna Schober

    June 6th, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I would find your maintenance calories, then add only 250 calories, then subtract 15%. That’s your starting goal. But remember that’s just a guideline/calculation based on a very broad recommendation, so use it just to plan your meals and then eat to hunger.

  41. Meredith

    June 7th, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Hi I am doing whole30 and I am nursing my fourth LO i am losing weight and feeling wonderful but I was just wondering if it’s ok if I don’t reach the calorie count. I am full and I am not wanting to eat anymore then I already am but just want to know if I need to change something up. I am 35 lbs heavier then I need to be.i just came upon this post and thought I would ask. Thanks

  42. Deanna Schober

    June 8th, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    I would trust your body’s hunger over the calorie calculator, everyone is different. Focus instead on consistency (stick w/ whole 30 for awhile) and just be patient, keep your thoughts centered on how great you feel instead of weight loss and it will happen naturally 🙂

  43. Bre

    June 12th, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I am 5’2″ and weigh 111 lbs. My prepregnancy weight at my leanest was 105 lbs. I have gone between 108-114 lbs for the past few months. My baby is 9 months old and breastfed. I workout 30 minutes 4-7x/week. I would like to lose these last few pounds and be able to keep them off. I used the calorie calculator and to be honest, the thought of eating 2100 calories scares me. haha I feel like at my size I will gain weight if I eat that much. I have noticed though that every time I get my weight closer to that 108 range that I feel very hungry and over the span of a weekend I can gain 3 lbs back with a mix of healthy and unhealthy foods. I just eat a ton. I’m just not satisfied with how my stomach looks any more. There seems to be so much more fat there even though I’m weighing pretty close to what I used to. Can you give me some thoughts?

  44. Julia

    June 16th, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Where can I find the calorie calculator?

  45. Deanna Schober

    July 6th, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    In the top menu section of the website there is a link

  46. Delores White

    June 21st, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Hi. Im a first time mom of a 8.5 month old baby. I’ve been breastfeeding since day one. My last day pregnant I was 200 pounds (5″10 so I don’t look terrible with my weight) but 8.5 months down the line I am still 200 pounds. I was 172 prepregnancy and would like to feel good again. I work out three times a week and am somewhat of a healthy eater. I tried counting my calories but it messed with my supply tremendously. Any advice would be great.

  47. Deanna Schober

    July 6th, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Don’t be so aggressive with calorie cuts this time, just cut 50-100. If your supply drops, go back up and then try again. With most of my clients they may have a drop in milk at first but it always has recovered within a week.

  48. TyNO

    June 29th, 2017 at 5:15 am

    My lo is 21 months and bfing. I also work 60hr weeks so working out for long periods hasn’t happen since the day I learned I was expecting her. I get about 8k to 10k steps in a day which is way less than before pregnancy. My work requires a lot of standing and walking and I walk the local lake once every 1 1/2 weeks; 15min YouTube yoga during lunch 3 days a week; YouTube walk-at- home 2days a week and Fitness Marshall dance videos.

    I’m 4’11” and gained 47lbs during pregnancy. I don’t eat a lot of processed foods and prefer veggies and salad with nuts over beef, pork and chicken proteins (I’ve never been a big meat eater.). I’ve been doing better the past few months with eating boiled eggs with my breakfast and before lunch. I eat several small meals and snacks a day. This was how I ate before pregnancy. I also drink 100 oz of water a day ( no soda, very little juice and 12oz of mother’s milk tea). I have only lost 7 pounds in the 21months. I’m so frustrated because I’m not letting go of the excess fat especially around my mid section. I’m seeing more and more signs of stress on my body especially my legs (verecose veins) and ankles (dark rings). I’m not able to sleep well at all.

    I love bfing my lo but I don’t love the fat deposits. I understand it took time to gain the weight and time to shed it, but I’m very unhappy with my 170lbs and don’t know what to do differently.

  49. Anya

    July 20th, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    I was 140 pounds (5 feet 8 inches) before getting pregnant with my 1st child. 185 – before giving birth. 175 afterwards. I nursed him for 3 years and could not get rid of any more weight until I stopped nursing. Only then it started melting with tennis and other exercise but the real trigger was not nursing – it went down to 147. Now with my second child, I was 195 before giving birth, 180 – 6 weeks later. Now at 2+ months, eating very consevatively and exercising 2+ hours a day – not a pound more. I eat quite healthy except for one bar of organic milk chocolate every couple of days. Is it really the nursing? I nursed my first child that long because he was not ready to be weaned, should I only nurse for the min 6 months and be done this time around?

  50. Deanna Schober

    July 21st, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Anya, you’re the only one who can answer that question. Everyone is going to have an opinion for themselves and has to decide if it’s worth it to keep going or quit when they realize how it affect their body. No matter what, you are the only one who has to walk in your shoes and decide what is acceptable for you and your life. It is likely the nursing making it more difficult to lose fat in your case, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to keep nursing and also drop weight. It just might be a little bit different or slow than when you are not. Try getting active again like you did with tennis before and see what happens!

  51. Renee

    July 28th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I have 4 little ones and always pack on a ton of weight while breastfeeding. I always lose after quitting. After my son was born, I dropped to 170 lbs. Now I’m back up to 210 after a year of breastfeeding. Over the past couple months, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with calories to figure out exactly how many to eat. It seems like if I eat above 2300, I gain weight. If I stay around 2100-2300, I maintain the same weight. If I go below 2100, I lose a little weight but my milk supply plummets. I feel like my only choice is to keep counting calories just to keep myself from gaining anymore weight. But its so discouraging to do all that work and not lose a single pound. My son isn’t ready to wean and neither am I but I feel like it’s the only way I can lose this weight. Why can’t I find the “Sweet spot”?

  52. Deanna Schober

    July 28th, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Renee–I would start as close to 2100 as possible (maybe 2050), have some backup milk pumped, and try to get through a week or two with a lower supply. Once your body adapts, the milk should recover. And make sure you’re giving each calorie range you try at least 2 weeks. Watch the overall trend of your weight, don’t judge it on a day to day basis as you’ll experience fluctuations. Take an average instead.

  53. Alyssa

    August 6th, 2017 at 9:03 am

    I used the calorie calculator and it says for my age, weight, and the fact that I’m breastfeeding I should be eating 3,126 calories per day. That seems like WAY too much. I’m doing HIIT three times per week and cardio 3 times per week on alternating days with one rest day. I don’t limit what I eat but I find that I lose track of time and forget to eat or I have no appetite. I try to eat things to boost my milk supply like oats and peanut butter plus other nutrient dense foods (with indulgences here or there throughout the week) *I’m 4 weeks PP and have been cleared by my doctor to exercise* but I haven’t lost any weight in the last 2 weeks and it’s very frustrating. Any tips? I feel like I’m doing everything the way I’m supposed to (eating healthy foods without being restrictive and exercising) Please help!

  54. Deanna Schober

    August 14th, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Hi, the calculator gives you your maintenance calories for breastfeeding, you’ll need to subtract 15% for weight loss (which I would not do until your supply is well-established). And remember that a calculator is only a tool, you will need to use your own body’s intuition for how much you actually need. I would start between 2200 and 2400 and see how you feel. Your body is going to fight fat loss like crazy right now because at only 4-6 weeks pp, you have a lot of prolactin from pregnancy and nursing. Prolactin is a fat-loving hormone that helps your body keep fat reserves for your baby in case of famine. You JUST had a baby, and I know you are uncomfortable with your changed body, but this time of life can call for more patience and understanding of your body than before pregnancy. Focus on staying active and eating healthy and forget about the numbers on the scale for a while, it will make you crazy. If you eat like an athlete and workout like an athlete, eventually you will look like one too–maybe not in your preferred timeline, but it will happen.

  55. Nicole Gargalas

    August 7th, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Deanna!

    Love the article! I am nursing my 18 month old and I am having trouble losing that last 10-15 lbs. I am working out a lot and cutting my calories low. According to what you are saying is to up my calories? Should I find my calories
    And the subtract 15%? Thank you for the help!

    Nicole

  56. Deanna Schober

    August 14th, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Yes increase slowly, and yes your goal will be to hit the number on the calculator – 15%.

  57. Heather

    August 28th, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Hi Deanna,

    I’m currently breastfeeding my 13 month old twins (2-3 times max each per day).

    I was eating around 2300 calories daily until recently I dropped it down to 2000 as my weight loss has stopped and their feeds had decreased.

    I exercise about 5 days per week.

    I have around 15 pounds left to lose and loads of muscle to gain back. I’m not winning…. any suggestions especially given I’m feeding twins??

    Thanks!

  58. Deanna Schober

    September 5th, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Congrats to you for BF twins for 13 months! Thats amazing!

    Just keep experimenting w/ dropping 50 calories each week until you see a change. You might also try starch cycling where you remove all starches, including whole grains, after 3pm and see if that helps at all. Ultimately, as long as you’re staying active and eating nutritiously your body will eventually catch up in its own time.

  59. Victoria Pritchard

    September 14th, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I am on my 5th child and 41 years old. I don’t think there is anyway my metabolism will ever pick up. It’s always extremely hard for me to lose weight and I only did in the past when I was on bio identical hormones which is not possible when nursing. I always gain 60-70 lbs when pregnant, even when dieting(1200-1400 cal a day) i gain 3lbs a week in the 2nd trimester. Your calculator says I should eat 2, 256 a day. I have never come close to that in my life! Currently I am 184, I was 194 at birth 3 weeks ago and had a 8lb baby, so obviously I am not losing anything at all. If anything I am gaining because I should have lost 20-30 from fluids and baby at birth. I gave myself about 4 days after birth as free days to eat whatever I wanted. I started working out last week, 2w PP- just walking and body weight arm and standing ab exercises maybe 30min 5x a week and walking the kids to the park. I have been eating 1500-1700 cal a day with mainly veggies, protein, fruit(berries) and only a few portions of carbs(beans, oatmeal etc). No sugar, no alcohol etc. I have not even lost 1 lb this week. I am honestly terrified to eat more.

  60. Leah Ramirez

    September 29th, 2017 at 8:38 am

    What if you have a low milk supply and are supplementing with formula too? I want the BF benefits so I continue to pump and nurse (he barely gets 5 oz a day from me :(. ) but not sure what my calorie intake should be. I did the calculator and with Bf it says 2790. Should I follow that still?

  61. Deanna Schober

    September 29th, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Hi Leah! You probably don’t need that much, and remember the calculator is giving a maintenance level too (not weight loss). The more calories you take in, the stronger your supply will be, so if I were you I’d probably start around 2300 (that’s for weight loss–if you’re not worried about weight loss yet then closer to 2500). If your supply begins to tank even more then increase that by 100calories. If it doesn’t dip, and you’re not losing weight, cut it by 50-100 calories/day for a week at a time until you begin to drop the extra weight. Hope this helps!

  62. Hadiza

    November 8th, 2017 at 1:36 am

    I’ve been staying within 1200-1400 calories and working out 6 times a week. Your calculator says I should be eating 2401. I’m worried a bit. I’ve not lost any weight with what I’ve been doing and I’m so tired and confused. Would eating 2401 somehow make me lose weight now?

  63. Deanna Schober

    November 8th, 2017 at 11:18 am

    You’re definitely in a low range especially if you’re nursing. Your net intake of calories is likely below 1,000 which is very low, and your body may be in famine mode. If the calculator says 2401, that is for maintenance. You need to subtract 15% from that number and start there (so about 2000 calories). You could start by increasing what you are eating slowly. Make sure that you are using whole, unprocessed foods, specifically lean protein and vegetables/fruit, to increase the calories. I think you will see that your body will relax and start to release the extra fat stores on your body when it is well-fueled.

  64. Karina

    January 4th, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    I just gave birth 3,5 weeks ago. And weight have been stuck for the past 2 weeks. So desperate to lose another 20lbs. Please help me.

  65. Deanna Schober

    January 9th, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Karina, be patient with yourself, it will happen. There are tons of articles on this site to help for free or I offer a few programs that you might look into as well. XO

  66. Jacque

    February 14th, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Just wanted to say thank you for all the information! I went to the doctor yesterday and when I saw the scale it really hit me that I had not lost as much weight as I thought I had after being almost 5 months postpartum. Needless to say I came home in tears and stayed that way well into the afternoon. After stumbling upon your website I feel hopeful and no longer feel like a such a failure when I reach for that snack and the jar of peanut butter with a giant spoon… going to try your program and see what happens. Thanks for the glimmer of hope!

  67. Deanna Schober

    February 14th, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    All the hugs!! XO

  68. Joy

    March 14th, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    After each of my three babies, I was left with 40lbs of fat to lose (after dropping about 20lbs each directly after birth–I know, way too much weight gain). Breastfeeding really helps me lose that weight. With one child I used weight watchers for a couple of months to kickstart the loss, and with this one I’m just making healthier choices, going on walks, and eating intuitively. For me, it’s way easier to control what I eat when I’m not pregnant. During pregnancy is when I just cannot stop eating. I know some women struggle with breastfeeding weight loss, and we are all different. Finding that “sweet spot” is the thing to do. I drop about a pound a week just nursing, eating healthy and walking some.

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