Poll: Nursing mom - any advice?
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Add more calories - 500 100.00% 1 100.00%
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New Nursing Mom - LOST!
06-15-2013, 01:19 PM
Post: #1
New Nursing Mom - LOST!

I'm at a loss of what to do really. I just had my third child 4 months ago. I have the same pattern of weight gain after each child so far. I typically gain 35-40lbs during pregnancy. I lose about 10 lbs in the first week to two weeks, then I gain in all back within another week, and continue to gain during breastfeeding.

After my first child, I was doing Body for Life, and working out hard and eating maybe 1200-1300 calories a day. I didn't lose a pound, but I lost my milk supply and ended up formula feeding my baby. When the 1200 calorie regimen wasn't working, I started Isagenix (fast 2 days, eat 5 days at 1200 calories, fast 2 days). This brought me down to within 15 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight (although no milk supply) and then I got pregnant with #2.

Number 2 pregnancy - gained 35-40lbs during the pregnancy. Lost maybe 10...gained 20 while breastfeeding in the first 2 months. That put me at 10 lbs OVER being 9 months pregnant. Once again, I was eating low calories...but had no energy to work out. Going to school full time and working. Lost my milk supply by month 3 or 4. LONG SLOW weight loss after that. I tried everything....Body for Life again, Weight Watchers, Clean Eating, Metabolic Effect.....nothing was working. I lost maybe 10 lbs over the next year and a half. Frustrated, I finally turned to the Hcg diet. Lost 20 lbs in 2 months...happy...until.......after 2 months, it just STOPPED WORKING. I plateaued and couldn't lose any more weight. This was still 30 lbs heavier than I was pre-pregnancy with my first. Plus, I had no energy, and was almost fainting at work due to lack of food.

So...fast forward. Pregnancy #3...TOTAL SURPRISE. Not planned. Gained the SAME 35-40 lbs. Then, as with the same pattern as previously experienced...lost 17 lbs within 2 weeks...gained it all back a week later..and the scale is STILL GOING UP. The one thing I decided to do differently this time is to keep breastfeeding no matter what. That meant, EAT MORE FOOD! So...I found this website. It's really really important to me to breastfeed this one since I failed so miserably the last two times without even getting to where I wanted (back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Problem is...I'm lost in terms of what to do. I went to the scooby BMR/TDEE site. I found out that my calorie requirements were WAAAY higher than I had thought. 2857 to maintain (no nursing calories added) assuming the workouts. Looks like I've been in starvation mode for a looong time. The problem is...I'm SCARED TO DEATH to have the scale go up any higher or at any faster a rate than it already is. I'm heavier than I have ever been in my life, and I can hardly stand the fat on my body now. I've been SO tempted to so the starvation/exercise thing again but know that it isn't right. Hasn't worked twice before...and that whole phrase about doing the same thing expecting a different result...

Anyway - what kind of calories should I make these calories up with. I read somewhere the 40/30/30. All organic? All whole foods? Any cheats?? Do I add 500 nursing calories in it too?? I have to say that my breastmilk supply has been borderline as it is. Average daily calorie intake is now about 2200-2700.

I'm 5'10", have always been very muscular, and now weigh 240 lbs :-0

Before the kids, I was 150#, lifted weights and cardio 4-5 days a week, and ate pretty much whatever I wanted - with a healthy appetite (I could out eat most men). And I could be happy in a bikini. But that was 10 years ago in my 20's. I'm now late 30's.

Any advice? Anyone else go through the gain while breastfeeding thing? I've been to nutritionists, body builders, doctors, naturopaths....and none of them have any answers for me. Everything they suggested backfired...even when I was following it perfectly.
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06-15-2013, 04:07 PM
Post: #2
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
Hi! I'm a nursing mom. I'm nursing a toddler, so I currently add 300 to my daily calories. With an infant though you should definitely stick with 500 cals added on.

What I'm wondering about is your pattern of weight gain after pregnancy. That combined with the struggle for a milk supply sounds hormonal to me. Have your doctors, naturopaths checked your thyroid? I do tend to jump to that one because it's what I've personally dealth with. If they have checked it and ruled it out, did they check the right levels? TSH is what most doctors test and is utterly useless. Your Free T3, Free T4 need to be checked. There's some other ones too, but my brain is not firing on all cylinders right now. I can get you a link if you want more information.

It sounds like your metabolism is slowing down each time to attempt to meet the demands of nursing, all of the activity, less food, etc...

Given your history, I'd highly recommend a metabolism reset for you. I'd jump all the way up to your TDEE and ADD in your extra 500 for nursing. I don't know if you use mfp to log. You can enter it as negative calories too. My nursing is always added in breakfast as -300 calories.

Here's the thing. You will most likely gain at TDEE. Your body will replace water and glycogen that is lost while eating at a deficit. That's 5 pounds right there - just know in your mind that's what it is. Some people do gain a bit because their metabolism has slowed so much that BMR is lower than calculated. However, it's best not to keep skipping around numbers trying to find that magic number. Pick a starting point that you think is TDEE and eat that number consistentlyf or a month. Don't worry about day to day fluctuations - they happen to everyone. At the end of the month, see where you're at. Are you up more than that 5 pounds? Are you continuing to gain? Are you losing at a slow rate? Adjust based on that. Reset can be anywhere from 4-12 weeks or more. My guess is that given your lengthy history with low cal you may end up on the higher side as far as the amount of time needed to truly reset. But you never know - everyone's body responds differently.

So to sum up, my advice is to check out the reset info, and give your body a break from eating at a deficit and get thyroid issues ruled out.

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06-15-2013, 04:21 PM
Post: #3
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
Thanks for the advice! Yes, did indeed have the thyroid checked out every which way from Wednesday....all totally normal. The naturopath and the nurse midwife both agree that it's hormonal - but don't know how to "fix" it. At least, it's not thyroid they agree.

I guess I'm mostly scared to death that eating that many calories I'll just keep gaining and gaining - like what I'm doing now at a waaay less calorie range (1000 less than what my TDEE and nursing calories would be). Do people actually stop gaining when eating more calories - seems so backwards from all the things everyone else tells you.

Course, I'm a prime example of someone who can eat at a calorie deficit and not lose weight. Guess it's too much of a calorie deficit :-)
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06-15-2013, 04:32 PM
Post: #4
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
How long has it been since you've jumped up to the higher calorie level? With the fact that you're still gaining, it's possible that your body needs some time in order to stabilize. That being said, at some point you do want to get to your TDEE as you don't want to reset your body at a number that's lower than TDEE - that will make cut that much harder and will also be harder on your body!

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06-15-2013, 05:14 PM
Post: #5
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
I've been eating more calories since I had her...about 4 months, but nowhere near my TDEE + nursing calories. I didn't track anything the first 2 months post partum (we ended up in the NICU...lots of stress etc). For the last month I've probably been eating 2300-2700 calories a day and have gained . I stopped weighing myself about 3 weeks ago because I was too depressed to see the scale keep going up. Last I checked about 3 weeks ago, I was up 5-7 lbs during that time. I feel like I'm heavier - and puffier.

I started going to the gym this past week, and am doing the high intensity/low intensity lifting workouts with HIIT episodes getting up to 85-95% max HR in between. I was SO sore this last week afterwards...that I missed a workout episode. But I definitely look like I've swelled 10 lbs. My mom commented that she thought the gym was supposed to make me look thinner, and I look like I weigh MORE. I'm supposed to be eating 3300. I haven't gotten up to that point yet.
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07-12-2013, 12:16 AM
Post: #6
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
Look, I think you've gotten used to doing things to your body that make you lose weight fast but it just doesn't stay off. I hope my advice helps. First, make sure you're excercising while you breast-feed. Eat healthy, don't go hungry at all and exercise lightly as much as possible. Second, after you're done breast-feeding try a long term diet like the Dukan Diet Weight loss plan that lets you lose weight and trains your body to keep it off. You'll see some pounds fall off in the first phase but with time and patience you will be able to get back to your healthy weight.
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07-12-2013, 12:33 AM
Post: #7
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
Actually, I never gain any weight at all unless I'm breastfeeding. There is something that really makes my body gain during this time period in my life. Then it takes HARD work to get it to come off. I don't eat more when I'm breastfeeding, I'm exercising more now than ever before...but still my weight goes UP.

There's something definitely wrong with my hormones. Once I've lost weight, it doesn't come back on unless I get pregnant and then breastfeed. I had a very stable weight prior to getting pregnant again for about 3 years. It's just breastfeeding that makes me balloon up.
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07-12-2013, 08:03 AM
Post: #8
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
I don't actually recommend the Dukan Diet, unless it's something that you could keep up for life (the fat is too low IMO, kinda low carb, and lots of "rules" to keep up with that may not be feasible for life)...

Kiki (aka rambling )
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05-06-2014, 01:37 PM (This post was last modified: 05-06-2014 01:41 PM by SemperFit.)
Post: #9
RE: New Nursing Mom - LOST!
Hi!! Are you still nursing? I see it's an older thread. I'm commenting though, because I know there's nursing mommas out there wondering how to keep working out, establish & keep a sufficient milk supply, & somehow lose weight. I fall into same category as JCC in the sense my body packs on the lbs pregnant & probably postpartum if I sat still.

I nursed first child for 26 months. I'm 13 months into nursing my second baby. I gained 60+ pounds both pregnancies, this last one I was working out 6 days a week (teaching Zumba), yoga, swimming, weights until 2 days before having him.

I'm here to share info & encourage. Both nursing relationships my #1 goal was to nurse until they're at least 2 years old. I work out for stress relief, and keep the mantra slow and steady weight loss is the best. There is not a day you can cut calories while nursing. If you do, what does happen (if you're not foraging for a snack at 2am) is your baby will nurse even more the next day to increase your milk supply. I'm always working on delicate balance of keeping my milk supply up for a happy, healthy, gaining baby. Lifting weights & eating really good food keeps me happy ;0). Mmm avocados, cheese, & dark maca chocolate.

For an immediate gratification culture, as a nursing mom, the first 2 years it really is all about establishing a healthy kid who feels loved, nurtured, & safe. How I see it is I'm tied to them, & they're dependent on me. I will get my body back, it's a matter of time & hacking away at that goal e.v.e.r.y single excruciatingly long day. It'll happen. Just tell yourself you're investing in long term gains for the health & wellness of you, your kids, your partner, etc.

My sleep is awful from having wee ones, but I can control nutrients in as well as working out. The days that I know there will be more stress (or a few days before), I'll drink mothers milk tea or take fenugreek to help supplement as well as eat more.

The nursing/active/weight loss REALLY makes you love & pay attention to your body. And when you get your period back as hormones keep fluctuating...you have to account for that too.

I hide the scale every few weeks, because it can be frustrating to see the erratic fluctuations. I pull it out to see if I'm still going down, then I reacquaint myself with my intuition & focus on enjoying the day, the kids, the workouts...eventually if I keep showing up & challenging myself, & REfueling my body...it (& I) will get there. The nursing thing makes you take the long, slow approach to be kind to your body.

We can do this!!
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