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You’ve probably heard of how breastfeeding burns about 300 to 500 calories every day. This surely may have seemed to you a great way to start shedding that pregnancy weight. But on the flipside, you may also have heard that many moms gain weight after they stop breastfeeding the baby. So, is rapid weight gain after stopping breastfeeding common? Is it something that you need to worry about? Let’s find out.
Will You Gain Weight Once You Stop Nursing?
Weight gain in breastfeeding mothers is quite common and this may be due to a combination of reasons, including increased calorie intake, lower calories burnt, and hormones. Hormonal changes that happen within your body right from the minute you get pregnant continue even after delivery and until you wean your baby. These hormones are responsible for quite a few body changes in pregnant women, even once you stop breastfeeding.
This, however, may not be the case with mothers who exercise while and after breastfeeding and are conscious about their diet and calorie intake.
What Causes Weight Gain after Weaning Your Baby?
Did you gain weight after stopping breastfeeding? Here are a few reasons for this gain:
- You are eating more calories than your burn. While you were breastfeeding, your body needed added calories to sustain milk production. Your eating habits and portion sizes increased as a result of this. Once you stopped breastfeeding, you may not have cut down on the calories that you consume. Without breastfeeding to burn the additional calories, your body is taking in more calories than it can burn.
- Prolactin is a hormone that is released during lactation in women. Once you stop breastfeeding, this hormone, known to reduce the metabolism of fat, only decreases gradually. This may have caused a few extra kilograms.
- You aren’t exercising enough to burn the extra calories off. As mentioned, you may still be eating as you did when you were breastfeeding. All that food, without any exercise, can cause you to pack extra kilograms.
Hormonal changes only rarely cause weight gain after you stop breastfeeding. So, it is quite possible to attribute the weight gain to the increased calorie intake and lack of exercise. There are no inclusive studies that may help us identify the true cause behind post-breastfeeding weight gain.
Tips to Avoid Weight Gain after Breastfeeding
If you’re about to wean your baby and want to keep that extra weight off, here are some tips for you:
- Eat healthy snacks to provide your body with those additional 500 calories while breastfeeding.
- Once you get consent from the doctor, start moderate exercises for 15 minutes per day. You can increase the duration gradually.
- Incorporate a healthy diet and control your calorie intake. Avoid rapid weight loss diet.
- Listen to your body’s signs. Eat as per your appetite and avoid overeating.
- Set realistic goals. Don’t think that you have to lose all the weight within a stipulated time. Starting gradually, give your body time to readjust to the new diet and routine.
- Change your lifestyle. Exercising is great to lose weight. But if you cannot exercise, for whatever reason, at least start taking the stairs or going on a short walk each day.
Weight gain after weaning is often quite easy to reverse if you stick to a good diet plan. But, if you are gaining a lot of weight and have blurred vision or other symptoms, a doctor’s visit is essential.