Lose Belly Fat After Stopping Breastfeeding: Causes & Tips for Moms

belly fat after stopping breastfeeding
Photo: milkdust.com

Key Points

  • The article explains that stopping breastfeeding is a significant change for both mother and baby, often resulting in increased belly fat.
  • Many mothers experience this increased belly fat due to reduced calorie burning, hormonal shifts, diastasis recti, and lifestyle changes.
  • Hormones like prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone, along with insulin sensitivity and thyroid hormones, affect fat storage.
  • Key tips to lose belly fat after stopping breastfeeding include a balanced diet, gradual exercise, stress management, and professional guidance.
  • Effective exercises include cardio, strength training, and HIIT. Consistent healthy habits are essential for losing post-breastfeeding belly fat.

When you decide to stop breastfeeding, it’s a big change for you and your baby. As you go through this new time, you might see some changes in your body. One thing you might notice is getting more belly fat. Don’t worry, it’s normal. many moms go through this. But knowing why it happens and what you can do about it, can help you stay healthy and feel good about yourself. This article talks about why you might get more belly fat after stopping breastfeeding. We’ll look at hormonal changes, clear up any misconceptions, and give you and give you a plan to help you feel good about your postpartum body again.

Will You Gain Belly Fat Once You Stop Breastfeeding?

Many mothers experience an increase in belly fat after they stop breastfeeding. During breastfeeding, your body burns an extra 300-500 calories daily to produce milk. When you stop nursing, this extra calorie burn ceases. If your diet and activity levels remain the same, those extra calories can lead to the accumulation of belly fat. Research shows that breastfeeding helps with postpartum weight loss. But once you stop breastfeeding, adjustments in diet and lifestyle are necessary to prevent gaining weight, particularly around the belly.

Will You Gain Belly Fat Once You Stop Breastfeeding
Photo: Beverley Bennell, quora.com

What Causes Weight Gain After Weaning Your Baby?

1. Hormonal Shifts:

Prolactin is a hormone that helps make milk when you’re breastfeeding. It also slows down how fast your body burns calories a little bit. Even after you stop breastfeeding, it takes time for Prolactin levels to go back to normal. which means your body might not burn calories as quickly as it used to right away. So, it’s normal if you notice it’s a bit harder to lose weight after having a baby. Just be patient with yourself and focus on eating healthy and staying active. Your body will adjust over time.

2. Diastasis Recti:

During pregnancy, your belly muscles stretch out, and sometimes they don’t come back together completely after giving birth. This can leave a gap, which is called diastasis recti. It can give your tummy a bulge that looks like a little pooch.

3. Lifestyle Changes:

When you’ve got a new baby, you’re probably not moving around as much as you used to. which can make it easier to gain weight, especially around your belly.

The stress of taking care of a newborn can also make things tough emotionally, and that stress can triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that stores more fat around your middle.

After you have stopped breastfeeding your baby, you might still feel like you need to eat a lot because of your “eat for two” mentality. Even though you don’t need that at all. If you eat too much, especially stuff like sugary snacks and fatty foods, it can add to the fat around your belly.

Hormonal Changes that Affect Weight Loss if You Stop Breastfeeding

When you stop breastfeeding, your body goes through some changes that can affect your weight loss journey.

Prolactin: One of the hormones, prolactin, that I have already mentioned earlier. This hormone helps with milk production, goes down. This might make you feel hungrier and less full after eating.

Estrogen and Progesterone: Then, there’s estrogen and progesterone, which also change after breastfeeding. These hormones play a role in how your body stores fat, especially around your belly.

Insulin Sensitivity: Changes in insulin sensitivity can influence how your body processes and stores fat. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar. If you become more resistant to insulin, it can make it harder to lose belly fat and easier to gain it.

Thyroid hormones: Lastly, there’s your thyroid hormones. When you’re stressed or tired, they might not work as well, which can slow down your metabolism and make it tough to lose weight.

Tips to Lose Belly Fat After Stopping Breastfeeding

Tips to Lose Belly Fat After Stopping Breastfeeding

1. Prioritize a Balanced Diet:

Make sure to eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are packed with nutrients and give you long-lasting energy, helping you stay full and reduce cravings.

Include lean protein in your meals. Fish, chicken, beans, and lentils are great options. Protein helps speed up your metabolism and build muscle, which can help you burn more calories even when you’re not active.

Add fiber-rich foods to your diet. Whole grains, legumes, and vegetables are good choices. Fiber slows digestion and helps you feel full, preventing overeating.

Don’t avoid healthy fats. Avocados, nuts, and olive oil are essential. These fats help you feel satisfied and support hormone balance.

Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps flush out toxins, keeps you full, and aids in digestion.

Try to limit processed foods. They often have high amounts of added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium, which can lead to weight gain, including belly fat.

2. Rediscover the Joy of Being Active

Start slow when getting back to exercise. Don’t push yourself too hard right away. Begin with gentle activities like walking, yoga, or swimming. As your body gets used to moving again, you can gradually increase how hard and how long you work out.

Focus on building your core strength. Do exercises like planks, bridges, and pelvic floor exercises. These help strengthen your core muscles, which can improve your posture and support your belly. They are also good for helping your body recover if you have diastasis recti.

Cardio exercises are important too. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise each week. This helps burn calories and keeps you fit overall.

Don’t forget about pelvic floor exercises. Strengthening these muscles can help you control your bladder better. It also supports your core and improves your posture.

3. Manage Stress: Prioritize Rest and Relaxation

As a mom, I know how hard it can be to get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can mess with your body’s hormones, making you feel hungrier and slowing down your metabolism, which can cause weight gain.

Try to get 7-8 hours of good sleep every night. Make your bedtime routine calming and ensure your bedroom is comfortable for sleeping.

Stress is another thing that can make losing weight difficult. High stress levels can interfere with weight loss. To manage stress, try relaxation methods like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. These practices can help keep stress in check.

Using mind-body techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can also help reduce stress. Lowering stress is important because stress can lead to belly fat. So, taking time for these activities can be beneficial for both your mind and body.

4. Embrace Patience and Self-Compassion

Losing belly fat isn’t quick or easy. It takes sticking with it and putting in the effort. It’s normal to have setbacks, so don’t get discouraged. When you notice good things happening, like feeling more energetic or getting stronger, give yourself a pat on the back. It’s important to feel good about yourself, inside and out. You’ve already done an amazing job taking care of your kiddo, and now it’s time to take care of yourself too!

5. Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re trying to manage your weight while breastfeeding, talking to a registered dietitian is a great idea. They can make a food plan just for you, taking into account your breastfeeding journey.

If you think you might have diastasis recti, a condition where your abdominal muscles separate, seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist can help. They can figure out what you need and give you exercises to make your core and belly muscles stronger.

Tips to Lose Belly Fat After Stopping Breastfeeding
Photo: babywise.life

Effective Exercise to Lose Weight After You Stop Breastfeeding

Exercise is really important for losing weight after you stop breastfeeding and for staying healthy overall. Once your doctor says it’s okay, you can start with some good exercises to help get rid of belly fat.

Cardio Workouts: Cardio exercises are a great start for burning calories and speeding up your metabolism. You can try brisk walking, swimming, or cycling. These activities help you burn calories and improve your overall fitness.

Strength Training: Strength training is also important. Building muscle helps you burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. Try bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups boosts metabolism and targets belly fat.

Core Exercises: Focus on exercises that strengthen your core, such as planks, bridges, and yoga, to help tone your belly area.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Finally, think about doing HIIT, which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. This means doing short bursts of hard exercise followed by short breaks. This involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest. HIIT is excellent for burning fat and boosting your overall fitness level.

Video Courtesy: FirstCry Parenting

The Best Way to Lose Belly Fat Once You Stop Nursing

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but by combining a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management, you can effectively tackle post-breastfeeding belly fat. Remember, consistency is key! Here is a little recap:

  1. Set Realistic Goals: Aim for gradual weight loss of about 1-2 pounds per week, which is healthy and sustainable.
  2. Healthy Eating Habits: Adopt a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Avoid fad diets that can lead to quick but temporary weight loss.
  3. Consistent Exercise: Regularly engage in both cardio and strength training exercises. Consistency is key to seeing results.
  4. Get Enough Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night. Lack of sleep affects hormones that regulate hunger, leading to overeating and belly fat gain.
  5. Stress Management: Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to manage stress levels, which can contribute to belly fat gain.
  6. Stay Motivated: Track your progress and celebrate small victories. Having a workout buddy or joining a support group can help keep you motivated.

Wrapping Up

Losing belly fat after stopping breastfeeding is possible with the right approach. This article provides a roadmap to a flatter tummy after breastfeeding. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different. So, understand that your body has undergone significant changes, and it’s important to be patient with yourself. Focus on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and healthy lifestyle habits. Consult with healthcare professionals if needed. By making small, consistent changes, you can achieve your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle for both you and your growing family. Good Luck 🙂

Should You Stop Breastfeeding Solely to Lose Belly Fat?

Absolutely not! Breastfeeding offers numerous health benefits for both you and your baby. It strengthens your baby’s immune system, reduces the risk of of breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and postpartum depression. Focus on healthy weight management strategies that complement, not replace, breastfeeding.

Is it easier to lose weight after you stop breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding burns calories, it doesn’t guarantee weight loss. After weaning, your metabolism might adjust, but dietary changes and exercise play a bigger role. Focus on healthy habits and don’t stop breastfeeding solely for weight loss – its benefits are irreplaceable.

What are the side effects of stopping breastfeeding?

It’s common to feel sad, emotional, or even depressed after weaning. Some people might also experience strong feelings of anxiety, trouble sleeping, anger, and mood swings.

How long did it take to lose weight after stopping breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers who gained 25-35 pounds during pregnancy can usually lose this weight within 6-8 months after giving birth. However, many mothers take longer to lose the baby weight. Studies show that many women only lose up to 86% of their pregnancy weight within the first 6 months postpartum.
– Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/breastfeeding-and-weight-loss

How can I keep breastfeeding and lose weight simultaneously?

If you want to lose weight while breastfeeding, both diet and exercise are important. Focus on a balanced diet with at least 1800 calories daily. Prioritize fruits, veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats. Eating less might be safe for some overweight women, but in general, breastfeeding moms should eat more calories.

Exercise is the safest way to lose weight during this time. Talk to your doctor before starting exercise, then gradually add walks, yoga, or swimming to boost calorie burn without harming milk supply.


  1. Gaining Weight After Stopping Breastfeeding – Is It Common? – https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/gaining-weight-after-stopping-breastfeeding-is-it-common/
  2. Weight Gain After Stopping Breastfeeding: Causes And Tips To Avoid It – https://www.momjunction.com/articles/gaining-weight-after-stopping-breastfeeding-causes-tips_00755487/
  3. How Do Your Hormones Change After Weaning? – https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-do-your-hormones-change-after-weaning-5097211
  4. Post-Weaning Depression Is a Thing, And It’s Time We Start Talking About It – https://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/weaning/post-weaning-depression-is-a-thing-and-its-time-we-start-talking-about-it/
  5. Diet or exercise, or both, for weight reduction in women after childbirth – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9392837/

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