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Erin van Vuuren

Will I Gain Weight After I Stop Breastfeeding?

I think breastfeeding helped me lose weight after baby. Will I gain some back after weaning?

Maybe. Maybe not. “Breastfeeding does consume more calories. It also makes a woman’s metabolism more efficient,” says Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, author of Breastfeeding Made Simple and creator of the Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app. Once you wean, you will no longer be burning 500 calories a day simply by nursing your child. But you’ll probably be less ravenous too, so you might not eat as much.

“It’s a natural thing that women feel anxious about,” says Denise Altman, IBCLC, spokeswoman for the International Lactation Consultant Association, who adds that every mom is different. “Some women find that when you’re not nursing and your metabolism changes, they keep weight more persistently or they gain. Others don’t. We all have our own experiences,” she says.

If you do start to pick up pounds after weaning, don’t panic. Just adjust your diet and exercise habits — the key to not gaining is to burn off all the calories you’re consuming.

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