The terrible truth about breastfeeding

breastfeeding mom This is not another post about whether breastfeeding or formula-feeding is the way to go. Nope, this post is about a lie that I was led to believe about breastfeeding and I know I'm not alone. It's time to tell the truth about breastfeeding.

So what's this lie that I speak of? I know you've heard it. Perhaps you even believe it. It is that breastfeeding helps you lose weight. You've heard it right? People swear up and down that if you breastfeed you will burn a crazy amount of calories and get so skinny no one will ever believe you just had a baby. Well, I call bull-caca on that!

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Yes, lactating does make you burn more calories, but that does not necessarily lead to you losing all kinds of baby weight. Yes, some people do, but I suspect those are people who are being very conscientious about what they eat and also exercising.

I agree with what Salma Hayek has said on the subject, "It's a lie! It's not true! I'm going to say something. Except for a couple of exceptions, the only reason people lose weight like that when they're breastfeeding. It's that they're not eating and they're breastfeeding. And that's not good for the baby."

I breastfed both of my babies and it made me ravenous. I felt like I could eat all the time. I did not lose weight. A good friend of mine on the other hand also breastfed both of her babies and she lost a ton of weight. This is where I point out that she is a personal trainer and makes a living from being fit and helping others get fit. I am a writer. I make a living sitting on my bum and putting words together. I have a feeling my friend's weight loss had more to do with her eating habits and activity level than it did with breastfeeding.

Still, I thought that maybe I was an anomaly. That maybe somehow I was the only woman who managed to not become skinny from breastfeeding until I talked to my doctor about it. At a regular checkup, we discussed my weight. My doctor encouraged me to keep exercising and told me that she had no doubt that it would be easier for me to lose weight once I stopped breastfeeding.

Wait, halt the presses!!! I made her explain and she told me that for some women, herself included, breastfeeding actually made them hold on to extra pounds.

So the next time someone says they are going to breastfeed their baby and you hear anyone else, yourself included, say something along the lines of, oh, that is going to help you lose the baby weight, I want you to smack them with a side of bacon, 'kay?

Image via Corbis Images

Topics: breastfeeding  weight loss  myth