Moms like to share their experiences with each other, right? And if we hear the same story enough times from different sources, we tend to believe it’ll be true for ourselves as well. Breastfeeding is one of those mom topics that I love to talk about. When I was new to it, I was always seeking advice and encouragement from the breastfeeding veterans in my life. And now that I’ve been at it for 25 months (and counting), I love to encourage and troubleshoot with the new moms that I know!
So, when my first baby was still a baby, I had a great group of girlfriends who were getting up at 6am several times a week to meet at the gym. They invited me, but sleep was not something I was willing to sacrifice at that stage in my life. “We just need to lose our baby weight,” they told me. “Oh,” I said. “That didn’t happen from breastfeeding for you?” I asked–honestly curious since I had lost all of mine and then some from breastfeeding. “Oh it did with the first, but just you wait for the second, third and fourth–the weight will stay on!”
So I politely declined the workout group and began assuming the worst for my body for any subsequent babies. I lost so much weight with my first baby that my dad and brothers asked if I was eating enough (YES, ALL THE TIME.) But with my second? Surely I will need to put effort into shedding the pounds.
And so came the second baby and the second round of my breastfeeding journey. And just like everyone said, the weight stayed on. (And just like the first time, the pathetic amount of sleep I was getting was not something I was willing to sacrifice for gym time.) I got on the scale at one month, two months, three months–still 15-20 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. It was fine; I don’t get too hung up on what I weigh, but none of my pants were fitting comfortably anymore.
So I stopped weighing myself and my mom took me shopping. It was time to commit to the bigger size I never thought I’d be (but don’t really have time to exercise my way out of in this season of life.) So we bought six new pairs of pants, all above my old size. SIX PAIRS. That’s more pairs of pants than I’ve gotten since high school. This was me embracing my new body and being okay with it. I thought it was mature of me. (LOL)
But then three more months of breastfeeding went by. My baby got bigger and hungrier and the pounds just disappeared. And just like the first time, I was below my pre-pregnancy weight again (and STILL eating all of the time.) And while this seems like a great problem to have (please don’t hear me complaining here), all of those new pants I just got are way. too. big. I could fit a third leg into some of them. Money and pants that fit well and time to shop for them does not grow on trees where I live, ya know? So this is just a flat out bummer.
So here are the two takeaways, friends:
Don’t let the experiences of other moms cause you to form expectations for yourself. This is true in every aspect of motherhood from birth to college applications! Learn from them, yes, but just because it happened this way to all of your friends does not mean it will be the case for you.
When it comes to breastfeeding specifically, do not go shopping until after your baby is really eating solids (not weaned per se, just on the other side of his or her peak demand for milk). Get some regulation and then see where the cards fall with your size. For better or for worse, you need to give your body some time to figure out what the new normal is. And when in doubt– leggings, yoga pants, and dresses, girlfriends!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever assumed another mom’s experience would be yours and it wasn’t? Tell me about it!
Do you have a new baby at home? You might also like these posts about postpartum life!