In each of my pregnancies, I gained an awful lot of weight – 55 pounds in the first, 50 in the second, and 63 in the third. Each times I used Weight Watchers and was able to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight within about 6 months postpartum. Here is my experience losing the baby weight while breastfeeding.
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When to Start Trying to Lose Weight?
With my first baby, I had read that I should wait about 6 weeks – 2 months before trying to lose weight. That was my plan after he was born, as making sure that I was able to breastfeed him was more important to me than losing the baby weight.
Over the first month, I lost about 20 pounds of water weight, so I wasn’t really in any hurry to start dieting – it felt like the weight was sort of falling off by itself. In addition, I was really hungry, all the time. I was up around the clock taking care of my baby, and I was starving around the clock, too. The idea of going on a diet was just overwhelming.
Around the five week mark, though, the weight loss had stalled, I didn’t like the way that I felt, and thanks to fenugreek I’d gotten my supply up to where I was overproducing. I decided to go ahead and start trying to lose weight. (With my second baby, I started earlier than that – she was born in mid-December, and I thought it might be easier if I joined everyone else in the country by starting my diet on New Year’s Day.)
Going on Weight Watchers
To lose the weight, I decided to go on Weight Watchers. I picked it because I knew that they had a program especially for breastfeeding moms. Even though I was starting a little earlier than recommended, I didn’t want to jeopardize my supply. Also, as I said in a previous post, I didn’t really know what to do with the vague calorie guidelines that are given to breastfeeding women (in the past when I’ve lost weight, I’ve just counted calories) and figured that I could just follow whatever the Weight Watchers rules were.
I ended up being really happy with the plan and counting points. At first, though, I was STARVING. It seemed like the number of points that I got were really small compared to how many points foods “cost.” After a week or two, though, I figured out how to make it work for me. A few of the things that I did to minimize hunger and live “normally” as much as possible:
- I came up with a few go-to snacks. The big one was fruit (a banana, a bunch of fruit salad, etc.) and a Hershey’s Kiss. On Weight Watchers, fruit is free, and the Kiss was just one point. Between the bulk of the fruit and the fat in the Kiss, it was a pretty filling snack and I’d be okay for an hour or so.
- I limited bread. I LOVE carbs, and I could never do an Atkins-type diet. However, bread costs you a lot of points, and it just wasn’t worth it to me as they didn’t fill me up for long enough.
- With a new baby and going back to work, I didn’t really want to deal with cooking fresh food – when I was home, I wanted to snuggle with my baby. Though it was less than ideal, I found some processed options that worked for me.
- On Weight Watchers, you get weekly points that you can use any time during the week – you can spread them out, eating some each day, or you can eat them all in one day. I almost always saved mine for the weekend, and tried to eat fairly normally then. It was so nice to be able to go out to dinner or whatever a few times a week and not have to worry about points, but just enjoy the event.
I was able to dig up a graph of my progress from my Weight Watchers profile from my second baby. Overall, I was really happy with the rate at which I was able to lose the weight.
When I did Weight Watchers with baby #3, I was about three months in when they switched from PointsPlus to SmartPoints. I didn’t really like SmartPoints, but that just might be because I was used to the old way and change is hard. I would definitely recommend checking out some other reviews with the current system before signing up.
Maintaining the Weight Loss
Once I’d gotten to my goal each time, I went on the the Weight Watchers maintenance plan. I was surprised to find out that maintenance only gives you 6 additional points over the weight loss plan, but I went with it. With both babies, I continued to lose weight on the maintenance plan and a month or so later transitioned to eating to appetite (really being careful to stop eating when I was getting full, rather than finishing everything on my plate – I knew I could always get more later) versus than tracking.
So that’s my experience. Tell me about your experience! What worked for you? What didn’t work?