Have your cake and eat it

After reading this article about debunking the truth about breastfeeding weight loss, I felt my hackles rise.  A defensive response I know only too well but one I haven’t felt for a while.

Obviously, looking at photos of Kate’s stupidly smooth and flat stomach is enough to make anyone feel outraged.  Stupid princess.  With her stupid princess face and stupid princess skinny body.

Boobing was cited at the reason her weight has ‘melted away’.  I’m sure there are plenty of boobing mothers out there revolting at the fact their weight hasn’t just melted away, as they melt their way through their organic Green & Blacks, fantastically silky smooth 100g milk chocolate bar (545 cals).

A 2007 Cochrane study (which is a review of lots of studies) on postpartum weight loss discussed whether it was diet and/or exercise that was most important in losing the pregnancy podge.  It looked, in great detail, at all matters breastfeeding.

“Decline in physical activity and increase in caloric intake above the ordinary demand of lactation may explain why some breastfeeding women fail to return to pre-pregnancy weight.”  No shit, Sherlock. That’s because they’re suffering with DMF and having to force another cake in their face hole just to fire the synapses up enough to aid the decision; cardigan or coat?

Some studies suggested malnutrition lowered milk production. Some studies showed that a slight decrease in calories increased milk production.  Some studies showed that exercise had no adverse effect on milk production.  Some studies showed that exercise possibly makes your milk taste a bit weird and cause the baby to say, “what the frick have you been up to? Get back on the sofa and work out that packet of chocolate hobnobs. Pronto.”  A lot of studies, all saying not a lot.

It concludes, “The results suggest diet or diet plus exercise are effective strategies in reducing body weight.” *Sighs*

Another review of literature published this year says, .“..of the five studies that were considered to be of high methodological quality, four studies demonstrated a positive association between BF and weight change. This systematic review highlights the difficulties of examining the association between BF and weight management in observational research. Although the available evidence challenges the widely held belief that BF promotes weight loss, more robust studies are needed to reliably assess the impact of BF on postpartum weight management.”

So on one hand, it says boobing does effect weight loss, but then it disparages this by saying the type of research carried out to get this information is a bit crap.

So here is my summation of the breastfeeding/eating/weight loss subject:

You burn approximately 500 calories when breastfeeding.  According to this website which suggests 50 ways to burn 500 calories, that is equivalent to 2 hours housework, 2 hours and 10 minutes of guitar playing and 2 hours of playing frisbee.

Burning 500 calories a day will help you lose one pound a week – that’s three months to lose one stone.  Considering the average weight gain during pregnancy is 25-35 pounds (22 of which is baby, blood and boobs apparently), that means, on average you have 13 extra pounds after VDD (Vaginal Destruction Day) to lose and that’s if you were sensible when pregnant and not taking full advantage of eating an extra portion of cheesecake because ‘the baby wanted it’. So whatever way you look at it, don’t expect too much for at least three months. The article points out Kate’s post baby body 89 days after VDD (although she has a princess vagina so it was probably back to pre-pubescent tightness before she’d finished delivering the placenta, which was also perfect). By my reckoning, that’s about three months.

500 calories is also equivalent to 11 Jaffa Cakes or 8 Chocolate Bourbons or 6 Chocolate digestives or a 100g bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.  All of which I have probably consumed in one evening of cluster feeding.

So, you see what I’m saying….is it isn’t rocket science.  It’s not because breastfeeding has failed you. The rules are the same, breastfeeding or not – if you input more than you expend, then the baby blub won’t shift.  Eating more doesn’t increase your milk supply or quality of your milk as is still (frustratingly) advised by health professionals, and the extra 500 calorie allowance doesn’t actually go that far when you live on a breastfeeding diet of cake and biscuits.

However, should you really want to treat yourself (and your boobee) to a Starbucks grande whole milk white chocolate mocca with whipped cream….. you can. Just this once. (500 cals).


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