Breastfeeding has sucked the literal life out of me

jordan-whitt-142396-unsplashI know, I know, I’m the annoying woman who is complaining about weight loss from breastfeeding. Well, I’m not complaining so much – I’m appreciative of my children for assisting with the removal or downsizing of all the fat cells they helped to create and / or enlarge during pregnancy. Muchos gracias, babies. Yet, while I’m the lightest I’ve been since I can remember (well, I’m not 80 pounds like I was back in grade 4), I don’t feel as though I’m a healthy “light”. Let me elaborate.

I gained about 23-25 lbs. with both pregnancies. I lost 30 lbs. after my daughter. The additional 5 lbs. can mostly be attributed to muscle mass loss. And the same thing has happened with my son, but I started at a lower weight and have now lost another 30 lbs. or so. I feel silly writing this. I feel silly because I know many moms (and dads who put on the baby belly in “support”) struggle SO hard to lose the weight after babe arrives. So hear me (roar) when I say this, I’m not complaining about the weight loss per se, I’m struggling with how it has impacted me physically. 

Recently, I’ve started exploring more alternative methods of care. Yes, I’m branching out into the world of the somewhat weird, but not really. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has been around for, well, 2000 years or so (please note: I did not look this up so please don’t fact check me…it’s early and me just wants to write) and has become more mainstream in the good ol’ western world. But I’m even contemplating visiting a naturopath which is REALLY out there (for me). Anywhos…I’m mentioning this because at my last visit, my practitioner did a nervous system reset to help me better absorb iron.

Say what? 

Yes, she did a nervous system reset to help me better absorb iron and hopefully help me with energy. It involved me holding a vial of iron (don’t ask me what this means) while my spine received a few gentle taps and touches. Then I had to hold the vial for the remainder of the session (needling). Yes, this sounds weird. I agree with you, but the questions de jour is, “did it work?”.

Well, I don’t know. I would love to live in a bubble and perform a controlled trial, but alas, I live in a house with two kids where many confounding factors may contribute to a change in energy. Recently, my son let me sleep for seven hours in a row (which was delicious beyond belief), so that will definitely impact my energy. But before I received my lengthy night rest, I did feel more energized and positive. More than I have in a while. Placebo? Maybe. Again, I won’t really know.

What I do know is that my body needs to be nourished (coffee can only get you so far). My massage therapist also commented on my weight loss and ribbiness (it’s a word), highlighting to me the profound need to address whatever is going on inside me. With the Doctor of Chinese medicine, we discussed the likelihood of my body not absorbing what it needs, likely contributing to my physical exhaustion. We discussed my insatiable craving for vegetables (weird) and how I was considering going vegetarian (also weird). We decided to continue this exploration over the next few sessions (and maybe even do some more resets). I told you, I’m going balls to the wall with new modalities of care.

I am also going to get some blood work done and ensure all is OK from a hormone standpoint. Apparently, thyroid can take a hit after having a baby (again, I’m going off of what a few folks have mentioned, not research…it’s early folks). So I will also be exploring the traditional methods of care to ensure all is A-OK in the bod.

Let’s summarize…

Breastfeeding impacts women differently. Some aren’t able to breastfeed. Others lose their supply quickly. Others do not have any weight loss. Others lose weight and feel fine. Others, like me, have the literal life sucked out of them. And while I don’t mind returning to my pre-baby weight, I do mind feeling completely depleted.

So I’m crafting a plan, working with unique people and new modalities to explore ways to address these issues (as well as the old strategies – exercise, eating right, blood work and talking to my doc). I share because I want to ensure other breastfeeding women get the support they need to ensure a nourished and bountiful breastfeeding experience. 

M

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