Breastfeeding but not losing

I'm sorry, I know there are a lot of posts about not losing but I just need some advice about what to do different, because obviously I'm not doing something right. I'm at exactly 3 weeks of logging on MFP. I'm supposed to eat 1310 calories a day to lose 1.4 pounds a week. I am still breastfeeding my 12 month old around 5-7 times a day so I add 200 calories onto each day because of that. I also eat back most of my exercised calories (but not all). I usually end up with a goal of around 1600-1800 calories when taking into account the breastfeeding and exercise, and usually I'm around 100 calories under for the day. I am working out about 30-60 minutes a day (mostly treadmill, but some circuit and yoga as well). I measure and weigh my food.... everything!

I didn't have a scale the first week so I don't know what I weighed, but from week 1 to week 2, I actually gained .2 pounds. From week 2 to week 3 I have lost .4 pounds. I know a loss of .4 is better than gaining, but after how much I've been working out it's really discouraging. I'm in the obese range for BMI so I have a lot to lose. I'm wondering if I should decrease my calories, but the complicated part is the nursing because I want to make sure my milk supply doesn't go down. So I guess my question is should I keep doing what I'm doing, or should I decrease my calories?


  • broox80
    broox80 Posts: 1,195 Member
    I gained while breastfeeding. I had to just put losing on the back burner while I nursed, then was able to focus on losing.
  • njitaliana
    njitaliana Posts: 814 Member
    I would stop adding back the calories that you burn off while exercising. I lost weight while breastfeeding, but I didn't add back any calories from exercising.
  • MommyToAllieB
    MommyToAllieB Posts: 56 Member
    I'm breastfeeding too. I don't know your height and weight, but I've heard it isn't safe to eat less than 1800 cal/day while breastfeeding. I think the 0.2 and 0.4 fluctuations could just be water...I know sometimes our bodies hold onto weight when we aren't eating enough because our metabolism slows down. I don't know what is right for you, but I am eating 2100 cal/day while breastfeeding. An ounce of breastmilk is 20 calories, so if you are producing 32 ounces a day like me, that is 620 calories that are going to feed your baby. If I work out I eat back some if not all of those calories as well, so my intake is 2100-2500 depending on if I work out. I have been losing a pound a week on that amount.
  • My little nursing monster is ten months old. You'll drop the weight if you dpon't eat back your exercise calories
  • bacitracin
    bacitracin Posts: 921 Member
    SCALES LIE. Don't go by the numbers on the scale. Go by your body measurements. You could be retaining water but burning body fat, you could be building muscle but reducing body fat percentage (admittedly, extremely slowly for a woman in a deficit, but muscle growth means water retention too).

    Go by how your clothes fit and how much less flabby your skin gets.
  • kgeyser
    kgeyser Posts: 22,505 Member
    You're losing, losing is good! I'm an extended breastfeeding mom as well, although I'm down to two nursing session per day. I don't think the issue is with your nursing calories or your calorie intake (provided that your food weights and measurements are accurate). More than likely, you are overestimating your calorie burn during exercise, especially if you are relying on the calorie burn on the machine or in the MFP database. Personally, I would keep eating my daily calories and breastfeeding calories, but only eat around 50% of my exercise calories back. That may only put you 50-100 more calories under your daily goal (after accounting for intake, bf, and exercise) but it might get the scale moving a little more. Just watch your supply and add some calories back in if your supply seems to tank. I've found losing weight with breastfeeding to be tricky because you sometimes have to play around with the calories a bit to find the right numbers for you.
  • victoria_1024
    victoria_1024 Posts: 915 Member
    Thank you, you all have good insight! I was focused on breastfeeding rather than weight loss for a long time, but now that my infant is over age 1 I feel like I need to focus on my health. I've been breastfeeding, pregnant, or both for 5.5 years (no breaks in between!) and so I've been putting my own needs on the back burner for a while. I don't plan on weaning anytime soon so I need to find a way to lose/get healthy while nursing!

    It's a good point about not knowing how many calories I'm burning while working out. I don't have a heart rate monitor (looked into it, but we just don't have the money for that right now). I usually just go by what the MFP data base tells me.

    I have been doing measurements too and haven't seen any huge changes yet (though I haven't measured yet this week). I don't feel much of a difference in my clothes yet, but I am feeling stronger when working out so that is good.
  • Elliehmltn
    Elliehmltn Posts: 254 Member
    La Leche League International ( has a great deal of information about maternal nutrition and health while breastfeeding. From the tone of your post, it sounds as though you may already be familiar with this organization. Here's an excerpt from their page introducing the topic of weight loss (

    ...."If you have stopped losing weight or are gaining weight after the first two months, check with your doctor about increasing your activity level and reducing your intake by about 100 calories per day. A daily brisk half-hour walk with your children in a stroller or sling will help you lose weight plus get you outside for fresh air.

    Gradual weight loss of about one pound per week, while consuming about 1500 to 1800 calories per day, will help you to feel good and have the energy you need to care for your baby. The composition of your milk really does not vary much with your diet. (Mothers in famine conditions can produce milk that is nutritionally perfect for their babies.) However, your health may suffer if too many of your own reserves are used to provide milk. It takes a lot of energy to care for your baby so be sure to take care of yourself by "eating to hunger" and "drinking to thirst."

    Anyone who wants to start a weight loss program should consult with their physician to rule out any health problems that would contraindicate the diet or exercise."

    Basically what others here have said in their replies.
  • victoria_1024
    victoria_1024 Posts: 915 Member
    Thanks for finding that for me, Elliehmltn!

    I just took my measurements, and in 3 weeks have lost 2.5 inches around my hips, 2 inches around my tummy, a little over an inch around my waist, and only around .25 inches around my chest (which I suppose isn't surprising since I'm nursing). So there have definitely been changes in my measurements, I just wish the scale would reflect that! I would think after 3 weeks I would start to see something.

    I may do what someone suggested and eat back only half of my exercise calories. If I don't eat back my exercise calories (or at least some of them) I'm starving and I just feel like I can't maintain doing this long term if I'm starving all the time.
  • codycsweet
    codycsweet Posts: 1,019 Member
    With all three of my kiddos I didn't loose weight while nursing. With my last one I was so hungry all the time trying to keep up with his appetite I actually gained some. I am happy to hear that you are losing inches that is important. I have come to realize the scale isn't as important as we want to believe. Go by the measurements and how your clothes feel.
  • victoria_1024
    victoria_1024 Posts: 915 Member
    With all three of my kiddos I didn't loose weight while nursing. With my last one I was so hungry all the time trying to keep up with his appetite I actually gained some. I am happy to hear that you are losing inches that is important. I have come to realize the scale isn't as important as we want to believe. Go by the measurements and how your clothes feel.

    This is my 3rd baby I've breastfed and I've tried to lose weight many times, but never gotten below the weight I am at now! It's definitely frustrating. But I am going to keep it up and if I can keep from getting discouraged, maybe I can actually lose something.

    I should add that I sleep pretty badly at night. I can usually get a solid 5 hours, but after that it's just broken up sleep because of my infant, husband getting up for work, and early riser children. I don't know how that affects weight loss, but I'm pretty much tired all the time.
  • celtbell3
    celtbell3 Posts: 738 Member
    Great information. I have a friend on here who is going through this same issue. Will send her the link!