Blog › Forums › Women’s Health › Gaining weight and insomnia while nursing
Tagged: breastfeeding, high cortisol
- This topic has 17 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 9 years, 10 months ago by amajo319.
July 5, 2013 at 10:41 am #7185
Hey all- I am a 28 year old mom nursing my 8 month old son and I can’t seem to stop gaining weight, especially belly fat. Exercise or cutting calories gives me insomnia. I also have to eat a heavy protein before going to bed or I will wake up at 3 am with crazy high cortisol insomnia. I eat to satisfaction and don’t cut macronutrients, but I can’t believe how much weight I continue to gain. With baby fat, I am a good 45 pounds above my pre pregnancy weight and this has never happened before with my previous two kids. My chiro says that nursing is a stress on my body and is causing the high cortisol levels. I have no periods while I breastfeed. I’m wondering if anyone else is in a similar situation. All the other mom’s I know drop weight while they breastfeed…just like I used to do. *sigh*July 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm #7211crinklyParticipant
yes this sounds familiar, except my insomnia is induced by my son wanting to nurse. maybe you will drop weight when you wean your baby?July 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm #7231scarlettsmumParticipant
Yes, I gained 10 kg when breastfeeding. And now that I started rrafing another 4 kg and I am not even there temperature wise. I never lose weight breastfeeding, only gain. We are now going through teething and what I’m doing at night is that 1 night I am available for my little one and the next I put earplugs in my ears and am not available. It may sound cruel, but I am only a human and also need to sleep, especially as I also have another child who needs my attention during the day.
Maybe try valerian herb for sleeping?July 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm #7239
Thanks! So glad I am not the only one. Everybody looks at me like I’m crazy when I say breastfeeding makes me gain weight. I’ll have to try the valerian! I am counting the days ’til I wean. Hopefully, more sleep and weight loss will ensue!July 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm #7392GinaKavorkaParticipant
Okay, I apologize because I don’t have any children yet. However, do you think it’s possible that you’re not eating enough calories while breastfeeding? Supposedly, it uses up an extra 500 calories or so per day. In other words, it makes your metabolism run higher. So if you’re not fueling that metabolism properly, perhaps this could cause some weight gain. Does that make sense?
I could be way off base here, but that is what came to mind.July 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm #7422carrieleeParticipant
I agree with Gina. Up the calories. And breastfeeding does not stress the body any more than sex or any other activity that feels lovely and promotes the continuation of the species :-)
And I am a mom. Of 7. With 15 years of breastfeeding experience. Sitting in a chair and lifting your shirt is not stressful :)
CarrieJuly 6, 2013 at 9:20 pm #7423carrieleeParticipant
And I don’t mean to sound insensitive to your plight. Could this be hormonal, some women become hypothyroid postpartumJuly 6, 2013 at 10:39 pm #7444
Thanks for the suggestions, but I am pretty sure I eat enough calories. I can’t believe how much I eat, but I just eat when I’m hungry and include lots of carbs, proteins, sugars and good fats. I don’t know why nursing would prevent me from losing weight…with my first baby, the pounds dropped off of me and my baby got big and fat. Now, I gain weight and my baby is below average weight, even though fat chunky babies run in the family. It’s like my body won’t let go of the fat, even for baby. I’m sure it’s something hormonal. Thanks for your support!July 7, 2013 at 6:55 am #7503StephanieMichelleParticipant
Amajo, I’m not sure how long you’ve read this site but Matt did a post about this a little while back. Here it is : http://180degreehealth.com/2012/11/postpartum-hormonal-changes
Sorry if you’ve read it, but it helps explain why not all women lose weight breastfeeding. I think its kind of a myth because I know a lot of women that don’t just magically drop tons of weight while breastfeeding. And I will argue that breastfeeding can be very stressful, especially if you’re losing sleep, developing mastitis, etc. Its not always as simple as lifting up your shirt and sitting there.July 7, 2013 at 8:35 am #7511
Thanks StephanieMichelle…great article. That makes a lot of sense!July 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm #7561racheelieParticipant
Here’s a decent caloric calculator that seems to be more fitting to women’s caloric needs, and if you are breastfeeding, you might even want to add an additional 300-500 calories. http://www.bcm.edu/cnrc/consumer/archives/energy_needs_of_women.htm#
I would agree that you might not be eating enough. Breastfeeding is NOT stressful on the body. A baby is stressful. Two or more children and a baby is stressful. Being a mom is stressful. Lack of sleep is stressful. Not moving your body is stressful. If you are taking any type of birth control, that is an additional stress, and may be your primary fat trigger. Many moms suffer from post partum hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue–I admin for a mother’s support group and page and see it ALL THE TIME. Check your salt intake. Sometimes, it’s as simple as adding more salt to your diet–a breastfeeding mother not only needs more calories, but needs more of the micronutrients to support breastfeeding and metabolic health.July 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm #7576Hannah RansomModerator
Definitely could be thyroid stuff. I would get that checked out and try to rest and eat a bunch (sounds like you are).
Did you have your babies really close together? I just wonder since you say that you didn’t have this with the others what the differences are for you. In terms of you not losing as much weight and your baby not gaining as much I thought perhaps if you had them close together your body is in a kind of survival mode and afraid to give much up. Theoretical, though.July 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm #7616
My babies are all around two years apart so not too close. I’m sorry, but I DO think nursing is stressful. You are making milk and nourishing another human being…using up more calories a day than hard core exercise. Also, my first baby – no issues and 40 pounds fall off, second baby – no issues until I went on a low cal diet, exercised, barely slept AND had a severe health issue with the baby. Then I gained a little weight and kept it until I stopped nursing when it slowly came off with dieting and exercise. Third pregnancy…I was much more relaxed and did not restrict food in any way, baby sleeps through the night and I gain, and gain, and gain. It will be interesting if the weight comes off after nursing again. Yeah, I probably need my hormones tested )-:July 10, 2013 at 5:45 pm #8229aprilParticipant
I think it could be related to thyroid issues. I posted about something similar recently. I would focus on rest and distressing as much as possible.July 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm #8943RebeccaCParticipant
I think it does sound like an adrenal issue. Especially the part about waking up at 3am and not being able to fall back asleep. I’ve felt like I had an adrenal issue since having my last baby too. I’ve had 2 bouts of weight gain that both seemed stress related, once when my husband had surgery and also when I cut things out of my diet to get rid of the baby’s eczema. I also feel like my body overreacts to small stresses like getting all 3 kids out the door to get somewhere on time would turn me into a raving lunatic. I would also be tired all day but then not be able to fall asleep at night. I’ve seen some improvements with the few changes I’ve made so far, I’ve cut out caffeine and try to do breathing exercises or short meditation when I’m feeling stressed and for a little while I was taking phosphatidylserine at night to help me sleep, it lowers cortisol levels and it really did help me, but I don’t seem to need it anymore. I also lost about 5 lbs so far, still have plenty more to lose, but I’m just concentrating on feeling better and moving more and eating plenty… and hoping that maybe more weight will come off when I’m done nursing… but that will probably be another year or so.
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