Body image, dieting and breast/chestfeeding
Let's take a deep dive into why people lose weight right after welcoming a new baby and if it is compatible with breast/chestfeeding
Going from a state in which you are childless to with child is a MAJOR transition that is often accompanied by radical changes to our physical form that can lead some to want to transition back to the body they knew ASAP.
You may have noticed (or experienced) that even some partners may gain or lose weight when their other half is pregnant. Similarly, parents going through fertility treatments, surrogacy and awaiting adoption or foster children frequently gain weight, lose weight or notice changes in their form.
Transitions are incredibly stressful and a lot of us, for better or for worse, use food to cope. Many of us overeat, or eat to soothe, and some even lose their appetitive entirely when stressed. Those who use food to cope really vary with regards to how this is expressed. *For this post, keep in mind that some partners who do not carry their infant may still feed their baby.
Weight shifts can be from pregnancy +/- additional responsibility +/- caring for your partner +/- having to balance it all +/- maybe some exogenous hormones and meds to induce or support lactation (if one didn’t carry or has medical conditions that require additional support to feed) +/- financial strain +/- a pandemic +/-potential anxiety or depression induced by the transition or the time it took to create a family, +/- a TON of other things.
Some of us take it in stride and accept that it is all part of the package of creating a new family and that it will likely come off in time, while others may prioritize losing weight, or even fixate and constantly research how to get back to how they looked before, ASAP.
I am not here to tell to not diet. You are the boss of you, and you make the decisions at the end of the day—though, you deserve to have ALL the info so you’re making a truly informed decision. So here are some things to consider, re: to dieting and breast/chestfeeding (and when I say dieting, I don’t mean changing your diet to include healthier, whole foods—I am talking about getting rid of entire categories of food, calorie restriction, etc.).
Dieting can be a big shock and a change to your system. The stress of dieting and managing cravings that you aren’t able to fulfill can put your body into a stressed state, increasing your stress related hormones which can decrease important and necessary breast/chestfeeding hormones such as: oxytocin and prolactin (which may affect supply and/or letdown).
Some folks notice that calorie reduction doesn’t impact their supply one bit and others notice that a reduced calorie diet can seriously affect their supply.
If you decide to diet
ensure you pay close attention to your supply to ensure your infant is satiated.
If you carried your infant it may be wise to hold off dieting for the first couple months to allow your body to heal, your supply to build and for you to figure out breast/chestfeeding. The additional stress of dieting may be one too many things to manage that soon after bringing a new life into your home.
Go easy on yourselves, folks. If you would like to book a virtual or in-home session with me to manage body image issues/feeding postpartum head over to azurainfantfeedingsupport.janeapp.com