Calorie Restriction Promotes Lactation

So says the Journal of Nutrition, February 1, 1998:

Maternal plasma prolactin concentration generally increases under conditions of negative energy balance, which may serve to protect lactation.


It’s often said that breastfeeding helps one lose the “baby fat” after birth. So I haven’t been controlling what I eat at all, because the word on the street is “ya gotta eat!”

“Keep your strength up! Breastfeeding is hungry work!”

Well, for the first 2 weeks I was definitely ravenous. So I ate. And my stomach adjusted to larger meals — I was astonished when I found myself actually FINISHING MY PLATE when we started eating out again.

So now, after 9 months of having a tiny stomach (the organ, certainly not the abdomen), I’m back up to eating full plates of food, and my appetite has increased accordingly.

Part of the problem is feeling frantic all the time, because I have a kid who refuses to be put down when he’s awake, and has a very hard time falling asleep under most circumstances. So I go all day eating nothing but finger food (which is great, because I’m eating more fruit and nuts), but feeling pretty underfed. And when he’s finally asleep, I tend to seize the opportunity to prepare food and eat with both hands with a bit too much gusto.

Well, so much for breastfeeding’s magical effect on dropping the baby fat. I’ve actually gained 5 pounds. Granted, most of it would have to be muscle, because my measurements haven’t changed much since the birth.

Here’s the thing. I want to drop off a bunch of this fat. I don’t want to hear anybody giving me a hard time about it, because it comes down to basic economics: Most of my clothes don’t fit very well, and I don’t want to buy new ones.

Conclusion: weight loss via calorie restriction seems like the way to go. And I will do so with peace of mind knowing it won’t endanger my ability to breastfeed — it may even have a promotional effect.

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