Tracy Anderson’s Breastfeeding Story
Fitness guru Tracy, who’s helped celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Richie and Madonna shape up, explains why she’s a huge breastfeeding advocate and why she doesn’t sweat public breastfeeding at all.
The Bump: Did you always want to breastfeed?
Tracy Anderson: I am probably the biggest breastfeeding advocate around. I have an almost 15-year-old son and I nursed him for three years. So, it was never a question when I became pregnant with my daughter, Penny, whether I would breastfeed or not.
TB: Why are you such a big advocate? Is it the health benefits?
TA: I absolutely think that there are incidences where women can’t breastfeed, and I am in no way judging any mother’s path. But, if women can look at the science of it, breastfeeding is the most natural thing. It signals to our bodies that it’s time to pull back and get everything back into place. Also, when they’re born, babies root for the nipple. It’s their nature. I think that anytime you can give something, especially a new life, the natural order of things that that’s the healthiest way to do it. Also, there are tons and tons of health benefits to breast milk!
TB: So, what’s the real connection between breastfeeding and losing the baby weight?
TA: Women ask me all the time “Do you breastfeed to help you lose weight after the baby”? And I am like “No, that’s the worst thing you can do,” because if you’re breastfeeding properly, then you have to eat 500 more calories a day to make sure that your milk is healthy. It’s harder on your body to try and produce something out of nothing than it is if you were actually nurturing it properly. This is not a weight loss tool, even though it does pull your uterus back and cause contractions that will pull everything in your stomach back into position better. This is to be used as a bond between you and your baby and a way to feed it and support your baby’s health.
Every single person is different in how their body will react to breastfeeding. If you breastfeed on demand, most people will burn more calories than what they can consume, and it will actually aid in their weight loss. But, for some people it doesn’t work that way.
TB: Did you have any trouble breastfeeding?
TA: I had no trouble breastfeeding. I feel really fortunate that I didn’t. A very dear friend of mine, when I was pregnant with my son, said, “Just say, ‘As long as the baby and I are okay, please give him to me right away because I want to be able to nurse, and I don’t want him to be given anything else unless it’s medically necessary.’” I just stuck with that with my son, and sure enough, he was fine right when he was delivered. Him latching on to my breast and me feeding him was a bigger rush to me than when I pushed him out.
TB: Is there any advice you’d like to give women who are considering breastfeeding?
TA: I just urge every woman to give it a chance. I don’t think it’s healthy to set a crazy standard for yourself and say, “I am 100 percent breastfeeding. I have no other options.” Sometimes the options aren’t in your hands. But the nutrition of a water bottle or a formula bottle compared to the colostrum that the baby could get from the breast is unparalleled. So, I think that every woman should try and if for whatever reason they don’t like it, they don’t feel like it is right, or the baby rejects it, then you move on from there. But, I think that most women will see that wow, it’s a great thing.
TB: Do you have any funny breastfeeding stories?
TA: I tend to be really liberal with breastfeeding in public. I just don’t really hide it; my daughter doesn’t like to be covered up. I was at a meeting last week and Penny is so smart that what she does is she holds the other nipple while she is nursing on one to get it to let down the milk faster. So the person I was in a meeting with actually re-told the story. She was like, “You know how smart this kid is? She actually pulls at Tracy’s other nipple while she is nursing, like an udder, to let the milk down, so it’s ready for her when she’s ready to switch sides.”
TB: You filmed your new DVD, Tracy Anderson Post-Pregnancy 2, when you were 11 weeks postpartum. How was that?
TA: I wanted people to see the reality. Not only do I create tools that moms need to look and feel their best through pregnancy and after, but I actually get to do it. I wanted to show people what is possible.
During my pregnancy, I did a lot of research on the hormone called relaxin, which helps your body to expand to be able to carry the baby and stays in your body six months after you give birth. So, I designed the exercises around the fact that I can use that to pull everything back smaller and tighter than ever.
Women want to be able to feel more comfortable in their own skin. They want to be able to able to get their bodies back as good or better than they did before. There’s nothing vain about that — and there are tools do that. And that’s what I’ve been working on.
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