How I Lost 50 Pounds After Pregnancy While Breastfeeding

how to lose weight after pregnancy while breastfeeding, postpartum weight loss tips, irina bond, before and after baby postpartum body

One of my most frequently asked questions is how I lost the baby weight.  It took me about a year to lose almost 50 lbs since the very end of my first pregnancy with my daughter, so it was definitely a long process, especially while breastfeeding and wanting to make sure my supply didn’t suffer.  And of course with the emotional implications of trying to get used to motherhood and yet another new body shape.

I’ll try my best to share what worked for me after my first pregnancy, because I know a lot of mamas have a hard time getting back to their “old self.”  We have so much more responsibility on our shoulders as new moms — caring for an entirely new human being’s every want and need at all hours!  There’s less time for everything but you also have more to do, so it makes sense why it can all feel so overwhelming.  Add wanting to lose weight to the mix, and it’s easy to feel anxious and even sad.

At the end of pregnancy in early December 2015, I was a whopping 194 lbs — heavier than my husband, who’s quite a bit taller too!  You can imagine how that felt.  I gained 35ish throughout my first pregnancy, but I also wasn’t at a happy place with my weight before I ever got pregnant.  I lost the first 20 lbs pretty quickly in the first few weeks with the baby, placenta, and water weight gone, but after that it was a slow and tedious process, since I didn’t want to do anything drastic while my body provided all her nutrition.

I lost about 2-3 lbs a month after the initial big weight loss, which felt like eternity in the grand scheme of things.  But that slow and gradual weight loss was what worked for me and what happened naturally.  I can’t follow a crash diet plan or workout routine for the life of me!  About a year after my first baby, I was around 144 lbs (5’9″) and feeling a lot more like my “old self.”

 

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Here are the 3 main things that helped me lose the baby weight slowly but steadily over the first year of my daughter’s life:

  1. Starting the weaning process and in turn breastfeeding less,

  2. Changing the way I see food,

  3. And staying busy and fulfilled with a hobby outside motherhood and housework.

 

Notice there’s no mention of the gym or crash diets.  I tried working out over the past year, but it just wasn’t something I could maintain, since Vienna was attached to me at the hip at all times.

 

Breastfeeding Less & Weaning

Sounds controversial, right?

With exclusively breastfeeding, I had an out-of-control appetite, rivaling that of my husband.  Obviously I had a lot of trouble losing weight in the beginning, because I was taking in way more calories than I was burning with the breastfeeding.  Having a baby was a huge lifestyle change, and honestly, food was my comfort, so I let myself eat whenever and whatever I wanted to.  Because of that, the fat didn’t  just “melt away” with breastfeeding, and my OBGYN even told me I’d probably be hanging on to a few extra pounds due to breastfeeding.

A year later, I was still nursing, but it wasn’t my daughter’s main source of food anymore.  We started adding in solids around 5 and a half months, so that took away from the need to exclusively breastfeed.   When we did nurse, it was more of a comfort thing at night and sometimes during the day if we were home a lot (that continued on for two years – well into my first trimester with my son).  My appetite leveled out over time, and I could eat my regular 3 meals with some healthy snacks throughout the day while feeling satisfied.  My boobs also significantly decreased in size from when she was a newborn, since there wasn’t as much demand for milk production.

I love breastfeeding and am a big advocate for it, but it definitely made me a hangry mama!  Some of us lose the weight quickly while breastfeeding and some of us hang onto it a while longer.  I think it also has to do with how we respond to stressors – I tend to gain weight when I’m stressed.

 

Changing the Way I See Food

Tying in with breastfeeding less, I started to look at food as a nutrient source instead of a comfort source when I was feeling sad or overwhelmed.  That had a lot to do with becoming more confident as a new mother too, which came with time and practice.  Again, having a baby is a huge lifestyle change, and we all turn to different things for comfort.  For me, it was food.

Feeding Vienna solid foods helped me redefine food in a way too.  I would ask myself, “Would I feed my daughter this food?”  I’m much more inclined to give her the more nutritious option than if I’m cooking just for myself, so this mentality was helpful in encouraging healthier cooking habits for my whole family.  I focused on eating more “whole” foods and making most of my food myself.

 

Staying Busy & Feeling Fulfilled

Lastly, after figuring out some kind of natural rhythm between mothering duties and focusing on my career, my blog in a sense helped me lose weight.  It’s my creative outlet, my “other baby,” and I love the freedom it gives me to have one foot at home and one foot at work.  It’s a documentation of my life, and it helps me stay aware of all the blessings over the years — pretty amazing!  It gives me the fulfillment I crave on a daily basis as a go-getter.

Staying/working at home requires a lot of willpower to be able to organize yourself.  And sometimes the hours run into days and days into weeks and weeks into months, feeling like you’re doing the same thing over and over again.  Feed, bathe, diaper, play, sleep — over and over.  Groundhog Day, right?  My hobby blog allowed me to have goals for myself that in turn made me a happier and more fulfilled mama.

I highly encourage SAHM’s to have a little place for themselves to be able to do things they love and have conversations with other adults outside of daily mommy and housework responsibilities – whether it be work, a hobby, involvement in organizations, whatever.  We were all somebody before having kids, right?  That’s what keeps me sane and (kinda) balanced, haha.  And a happier mama is less likely to turn to negative things for comfort.

Going outside the home every day has always been important to me, even if just for a short stroller walk or to get the mail.  Being cooped up inside the whole day drives me nuts!  Seeing the world function as it always does makes me realize my problems are small and not as important as I might think they are.  Life goes on, and we are very resilient as women.  I would do anything to make sure I had a positive mentality, no matter how “hard” I thought life was at the time.

 

 

So, I’m not sure if that’s what you expected for a post on losing baby weight, but that’s just me being real.  My weight loss was a lot bigger than a diet or workout routine.  I can’t stick to strict diets or workouts for the life of me.  It was a mental and emotional journey of getting used to becoming a mother, which took time.  Much love to you all!  xo

 

 

Update:  Here I am 4 months postpartum with my second baby, and the above still stands true for me.  Breastfeeding makes me really hungry, but I don’t want to risk losing my milk, which is my son’s primary source of food right now.  As he starts to eat solids in the next few months, we’ll naturally transition into less breastfeeding, and I’m confident I’ll have a smaller appetite and start to lose the rest of my baby weight little by little.  Some women melt away quickly while breastfeeding and some hold onto their weight a little longer, like me.  Having grace for myself while understanding how miraculous my body is makes this journey a lot easier on me mentally and emotionally.  It’s a long process of healing and adjusting and finding a new rhythm, now with two kids.

 

how to lose weight after pregnancy while breastfeeding, postpartum weight loss tips, irina bond, before and after baby postpartum body

 


xoxoirinakiss
 

17 Comments

  • inka_kartinka@hotmail.com'
    Reply February 1, 2016

    Inna

    Awesome read my youngest daughter will be 10 months in a few weeks and I still need have 12 lbs to lose. I’m 5’5 and gained 45lbs with all 3 of my pregnancies . Your right it’s all about balance. Keep up the awesome work

  • janniscamilotto@gmail.com'
    Reply February 1, 2016

    JanNYC

    Hi! Great article! It is definitely not easy at all! I’m still fighting the extra 35 pounds left after my delivery. Irins can you write a post talking about what you eat in a daily basis and if you have been dieting , any healthy tips! It will be great! Thank you xo

    • Reply February 1, 2016

      Irina Bond

      Hi Jan, it’s been noted! Once we move to our new place, I’ll have decent light and will be able to take photos of meals much easier. No real dieting over here, just trying to be conscious of my food choices. xo

  • amber_la@yahoo.com'
    Reply February 2, 2016

    Amber

    Irina, thank you for being so candid and brave about your postpartum journey. I am 5’0″ and gained 40 pounds. It took me a whole year to lose the excess weight and then six more months to tone it up. I love the Jillian Michaels DVDs, they work. Now I’m in a better place than I was before the pregnancy because I’ve stuck to my fitness routine for me. Ladies you can do, just put in thirty minutes a day and you’ll be amazed. Hugs to all moms out there.

    • Reply February 4, 2016

      Irina Bond

      Thank you, Amber! I will definitely check those DVDs out – I prefer working out in my living room anyway. xo

  • andiperullo@aol.com'
    Reply February 4, 2016

    andiperullo

    I have…gasp…70 pounds to lose. It’s so awful! I went on bedrest towards the end of my pregnancy and couldn’t do anything and the nausea was so bad that I just ate and ate. Then with the c-section I had zero desire to workout. I keep saying today is the day I’m going to start… Thanks for being so open and honest!

    • Reply February 4, 2016

      Irina Bond

      Thanks, girl! We do some pretty amazing things with our bodies. Wishing you health and happiness. xo

  • Fashionworthknowing@gmail.com'
    Reply February 8, 2016

    Nicolette

    Just found your website and love this article. I am trying to loose that last 15 lbs and my son is 15 months old ugh. But I want to loose 10 more after that and then I will be at my wedding weight wooohooo. Inspiring me to do a similar post on my blog.

    http://www.fashionworthknowing.com

    • Reply February 8, 2016

      Irina Bond

      You can do it, mama! (That is, if it really feels right). Women can be beautiful at any size. I think that’s why we as a society just adore pregnant women. xo

  • pen0314@gmail.com'
    Reply February 8, 2016

    Ess

    I am just reading this now and I’m glad I did. Thank you so much for this honest post. It’s nice to know there are still honest bloggers/vlog gers out there who aren’t so focused on the fame and putting on this facade of perfection. Have you ever thought about vlogging as well– putting the content you post here on YT?

    My daughter is a month younger than Vienna and like you, I exclusively breastfed up until my daughter’s 1st birthday. But unlike you, I’m struggling with losing weight– sad to admit but I actually gained weight because I find comfort in food way too much– especially with the struggles of being a first time mom and trying to find balance in everything.

    It would be so great/helpful if you could do more of these types of blog entry. Would love to know, more in depth, how you were able move forward as a first time mom– how are you able to juggle life as a wife, career woman, and mom so successfully?

    • Reply February 9, 2016

      Irina Bond

      Hi Ess,

      Thanks so much for reading! What a lovely thing to say. I’m far from perfection, but I’m not against trying to be the best version of yourself anyway.

      I’ve considered YouTube and vlogging (and I’ve made a handful of videos on my account), but video production is a lot of work. Blogging is too, but I feel like it fits my personality better (introverted, believe it or not). I do use Snapchat almost daily (same username as Instagram: irinabond).

      Those are all great topics. I need to cover more mommy stuff on here. Don’t be fooled by pretty pictures, though – I never quite feel completely balanced. It’s a whole lot to juggle.

      xo, Irina

  • k_phan_99@yahoo.com'
    Reply February 11, 2016

    katattack2000

    Wow you look great pre and post pregnancy! I hope that whenever I become pregnant that I will be able to maintain the weight loss too !! Just stumbled across your blog 🙂 Looks beautiful!

    • Reply February 11, 2016

      Irina Bond

      Thank you so much! That’s really kind of you to say. I felt pretty good while pregnant (although 50 pounds heavier than now), but as soon as the baby came out, I no longer had that adorable bump but a soft and pudgy belly instead. So glad that’s (mostly) gone now. But I miss having a bump and can’t wait for round two. That goes to show that you can feel confident at lots of different weights. xo

  • nedda2000@yahoo.com'
    Reply February 7, 2017

    Nedda

    Love this post! It is so real! Life is so different and difficult post baby and i struggled with that (my son is attached at the hip too). Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply February 7, 2017

      Irina Bond

      Different and hard but more than worth it! Moms with older kids always say they want to go back to this age. I want to make a conscious effort to cherish every stage. The hard stuff is all really just small stuff in the long run. xo

  • […] that.  Thank them profusely and be grateful they are in your life.  Don’t even think about weight loss in the beginning at all.  Focus on taking in the right nutrition, and the weight loss will follow […]

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