Monday, January 10, 2011

Inquisition Monday

I'm Just Saying had a question last week:

I want to take an appetite suppresant (diet pill) from Walmart but how much do you feel really goes through the breast milk? I have been really good at my choices of healthy foods and making sure I am careful for her but I have just cant lose the last 8 or so pounds from my pregnancy. I haven't taken anything and I just want your advice ..

I actually don't know much about appetite suppressants, but my first impulse is to direct you to Thomas Hale's book, Medications and Mother's Milk. It's updated every 2 years and it is pretty much considered the go-to book on breastfeeding and medications. It looks at how the medication affects both the child and the mother's supply. Libraries don't normally have it, but if you can find an IBCLC or an LLL leader, they should know someone who has a copy and can direct you there.

The sad news is that many moms find that breastfeeding is what keeps those pounds on. I've heard it explained that your body has to be ready to have extra stores of nutrients in case you suddenly find yourself in famine. I personally think of it like hormonal birth control. Sometimes hormonal birth controls causes a woman to gain 5 or 10 pounds simply because the hormonal make up of her body has changed and it can't be lost until you go off the birth control. Well, when you're breastfeeding, the hormonal make up of your body is different from when you weren't and it's going to cling onto the pounds until weaning.

Now, just like not every woman gains weight when going on the pill, not every woman's body is going to cling to those extra pounds while breastfeeding. But unfortunately, you don't know if you're one of them until you try.

So in conclusion: try a finding that book and be patient with yourself. I'm sorry I don't have a copy myself. I should get on that! I hope that answered your question.


  1. I also noticed (and it has been the same with many of my friends) that as soon as I stopped BFing, I dropped 10-15 lbs very quickly. (which supports your birth control theory)

    Not that it should be used as an excuse to stop, but just a light at the end of the 10 lb tunnel!

  2. My advice would be to stop worrying about weight at this point if it's only 8 more pounds. At this point it's wiser to focus on the dimensions of waist, thighs and arms-the weight could almost all be in the breasts! Plus if working out has been part of the weight loss plan muscle mass weighs more than fat so it may be impossible to reach the target weight without the loss of muscle mass. Overall health is FAR more important than weight, and I would always steer clear of pills designed to help you lose weight unless recommended by your doctor after trying everything else in an effort to combat serious health issues.

  3. I guess I'm one of those fortunate few... I began eating a lot healthier after giving birth (cut out sugar for the most part, more vegetables, etc.) and dropped to a much healthier weight than I was pre-pregnancy. Everybody insists it must be the nursing, but I think it's the combination of nursing and healthier living.

    Good to hear there is a reliable book to refer to for meds-while-nursing issues. :)

  4. I wish any woman who struggles with this issue well. I know we live in a society that stresses weight and so we take on those ideas even when it's of no real benefit to do so. Still, I encourage all of us to love our bodies just as they are.

    These bodies nourish our babies. They wake up in the morning and allow us to take in the world, feel the hugs of our children, express the love we feel inside. These bodies grow musty and give us the pleasure of getting them clean and nice-smelling, again. These bodies grow babies and love. Literal love.

    Let's be as loving to our bodies as our bodies are to us. If our bodies feel the need to keep on an extra 8 or 18 or 38 pounds, let's be patient with them and accept that. Because these bodies are good to us.

    Let *us* be good to us, too.


  5. Thank you so much for this clear explanation of what so many women experience! I absolutely cannot lose the baby weight until they wean, no matter how much I eat or exercise. It is so hard to be torn between gratitude that I can feed them well, and frustration that doing so keeps me like this.

  6. Thank-you Thank-you, ..I truly do think it is the "Hormonal Birth Control Because I have not had a menstural cycle in lets see 9 months to carry baby and she is 17 months old now so that 2 years and 2 months of no period. I love love your blog. I am looking for that book ASAP. You are so sweet to answer my question . I really appreciate it . You make the world a better place. Thanks again and keep up the good work/blog

  7. I've seen it over and over: Women lose all the baby weight but about 10 lbs, then when they stop breastfeeding in magically melts away. So, I would skip the diet pills and just be patient. One day you'll get your body back!

  8. Evelyn10:38 AM

    I have the OPPOSITE problem! When I'm nursing I get well below my pre-pregnancy weight. And as soon as I stop nursing (even as soon as the baby nurses less often) I start packing the pounds BACK on!!! It's so frustrating. :(


Please review my blog comment policy here before commenting. You may not use the name "Anonymous." You must use a Google Account, OpenID, or type in a name in the OpenID option. You can make one up if you need to. Even if your comment is productive and adding to the conversation, I will not publish it if it is anonymous.