Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feel the burn?

You've heard it countless times from countless celebrities. From Rebecca Romijn to Kimora Lee to Jessica Alba, all claiming they dropped the pregnancy weight with little to no effort thanks to breastfeeding. Salma Hayek famously disagreed, stating for her, breastfeeding did not make the weight fall off.

So does breastfeeding really help you shed the pounds? We know breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day, but a new research study suggests it won't necessarily get you into your pre-pregnancy clothes any faster. According to the study, a few factors determined how much a new mom lost: whether she was overweight before pregnancy, what she gained while expecting and duration of nursing, said Kathleen M. Rasmussen, an author of the study and a nutrition professor at Cornell.

So what does this mean for the average breastfeeding mom? I think the take away is that if you gain sensibly while pregnant (no more than the recommended 35 pounds or so) and breastfeed, you'll probably lose the weight quicker. However, I don't think women should concentrate on the numbers on the scale. I think the most important thing to remember is that you're doing the best thing for your baby and improving your health at the same time.

Is it OK to breastfeed in order to get back into your skinny jeans? Absolutely, it can definitely factor into your decision, and as Marsha Walker is quoted as saying, "We deserve it. She ought to get into those jeans after 9 months of pregnancy and 20 hours of labor. That’s what I tell mothers.” At the end of the day, no woman looks the same after having kids as she did before, not even Heidi Klum. And that's OK (or at least, it should be).

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