(Extended) Breastfeeding, Weaning and Fitness

Hey guys! Happy Monday! I am finally starting to feel like myself again after battling round 2 of the flu and I am now moving on to my next project– weaning Cyrus.

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Breastfeeding has been a great journey for me. I started going to La Leche League meetings when I was pregnant to meet fellow new moms and to learn about breastfeeding. It ended up being so much more important to me than I thought it would be. The moms at the meeting made me realize how great breastfeeding is and made me determined to stick with it when Cyrus was born.

Any new mom knows that breastfeeding comes with its own set of challenges. There can be unforeseen problems in the beginning– poor latch, tongue tie, low supply, excessive supply and the list goes on and on. For me, it always seemed like I was fighting to keep my supply up and it took a lot of discipline to to make sure I pumped enough milk for Cyrus to drink when he was with his nanny.

The first time I had to give him formula (because I forgot my pumped milk at home when I was taking him to his day care) I felt like a failure. Trying to keep my supply up meant I had to make sacrifices in how long I could be away from my baby. I would start to panic and feel sick if we were separated for more than 5 hours. I even spent time pumping in airport bathrooms and brought my baby on a business trip.

But in spite of all the struggles I faced, I am so glad I was able to breastfeed for as long as I did. Not only was it a great bonding experience, but numerous studies have proven the benefits of breastfeeding for babies’ health and intelligence. That’s not to shame moms who feed their babies formula. I know that breastfeeding is not for everyone. I just think that if there is a choice to be made and you are leaning toward breastfeeding try it and don’t get discouraged. I felt like giving up so many times in the first few months and then it clicked and it got easy.

Because of that, I think breastfeeding is a lot like starting a fitness program. It really takes discipline in the beginning, but after a while,  it becomes like second nature.

Cyrus’s second birthday is in a few weeks and I feel like now is the right time to stop nursing. I have been slowly cutting down his feedings, which were already only about 3-4 a day. I have been telling him that the “milkies” are sleeping and it seems to be working so far.

It is a little sad to close this chapter of my relationship with Cyrus but I am also excited to get my boobies back to myself. I worry that it will not be as easy to get him to sleep, that I will not be able to comfort him as easily, that plane rides will be a lot more difficult, but I am sure I will figure all that out.

Do you have experience weaning a toddler? I am dying to know what worked! What do you think about breastfeeding?

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3 Comments

Hi Val, I am curious how you calculated your calories and macros when you were breastfeeding while in competition prep. I’m in the same boat as you were. I’m still nursing 12 month old twins but am also preparing to compete in bikini division in 6 weeks. I need to start burning fat but am having trouble calculating calories and macros while taking breastfeeding into account. Any tips? Thanks!

    Hi April, Thanks for the comment and congrats on nursing 12 month old twins!! That’s a lot of work and dedication so you should be proud of yourself.

    Let me start by saying that I am not a nutritionist I am basing my response on my own experience and on the research I have done. First of all, I would not go any lower than 1800 calories/day if you are exclusively breastfeeding or 1500 calories/day if you are breastfeeding occasionally (and that is just for a singleton). I know my body pretty well and I know that I will lose weight at a steady but healthy pace if I keep my calories between 1800-2000 while breastfeeding occasionally. I never let myself get to the point that I was starving. That said, everyone is different. I think this post: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=156380533 on calculating calories and macros on bodybuilding.com is good. Since you are breastfeeding, calculate your calories based on the activity level higher than the one you estimate yourself to be. This will give you a good starting point. It also gives you guidelines for calculating macros.

    I’d also recommend one of those fancy gadgets that help track calories burned, steps walked etc. like Body Media or Fit Bit. That way you can figure out approximately how many calories you are burning per day and eat 100-200 calories less than that per day. Then adjust if you find you are losing weight too fast or gaining.

    Many of the breastfeeding resources I have read say that how much a mom eats does not have that much of an effect on milk supply to a certain point and I find this to be pretty true for me. Here is a good article from kelly mom about nutrition needs: http://kellymom.com/nutrition/mothers-diet/mom-calories-fluids/ I feel like the more important thing is to make sure you have enough energy to get through your day without feeling completely drained and to make sure you are meeting your nutrition needs so that you do not become vitamin deficient.

    Unfortunately, there is not a lot of info out there for breastfeeding competitors but I hope this information was helpful.

      Thanks val! I have kept my calories around 1500 and seem to be dropping about 1-1.5 lb per week so I have been happy with that. My supply has dropped a bit but I have also stopped pumping in addition to breastfeeding so I’m sure that has something to do with it.

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