Will Breastfeeding Make My Belly Smaller?

Get the scoop on why new moms get cramps while breastfeeding and how it can help shrink the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size.
profile picture of Laura Riley, MD
ByLaura Riley, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
May 2017
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Can breastfeeding help make your belly smaller? Yes! This is yet another reason to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is associated with profound uterine contractions (nope, you’re not done with those—sorry!), so you may feel some pretty intense abdominal pains when you breastfeed during the first couple weeks. But all that hurting will actually pay off, shrinking your belly to its pre-pregnancy size (or at least pretty close to it).

At one to two days after birth, your uterus is about the size it was at your 18th week of pregnancy), so don’t be surprised that you still look pregnant. It will get progressively smaller as the days go on. By one week postpartum, it’ll be closer to the size it was at 12 weeks pregnant, and by six weeks postpartum, it’ll be pretty darn small. Breastfeeding just helps accelerate that whole process.

Breastfeeding is also associated with less  blood loss after delivery, and it helps you lose any extra pregnancy poundage, since you’ll burn more calories to make milk for baby (note: breastfeeding is not your go-to weight loss plan. It’s not going to magically take off all your weight—but it helps). It also reduces a mother’s risk of ovarian cancer and premenopausal breast cancer. So nursing baby isn’t just good for her, it’s good for your health and your recovery too.

Plus, more from The Bump:

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