Will breastfeeding help me lose weight?

Q: I'm breastfeeding and still haven't lost all my baby weight. What's going on?

A: Sure, every new celebrity mom seems to swear that breastfeeding made her pregnancy weight melt off. Though it does burn a few hundred extra calories a day, nursing isn't always a silver bullet for you to drop all your baby weight instantly. In fact, your body may be holding on to those last stubborn pounds as a way to preserve energy (it's nature's way of ensuring your baby doesn't get malnourished). Don't cut back on calories or start exercising intensely without getting the okay from your doctor, though. Assuming that you're eating sensibly and getting regular exercise, you'll probably drop the rest of the weight once you stop nursing. --Katy Koontz

Originally published in Parents magazine, August 1999. Updated 2009.


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