Longing to be a Loser: Fighting the Post-Baby Weight-Loss Battle

I’ve never been one to care TOO much about weight.  For me it has always been, “Man, I think I better do something to fit into these pants better,” or, “I need to watch it so that my wedding dress zips!”  During pregnancy I didn’t have a problem putting on weight once the puking stopped! I often heard, “Wow, you don’t look like you’ve gained 50 pounds!” in the last few days of pregnancy…although I definitely could tell!  Although my belly was never huge, my face and hips sure were!  I appreciated the fact that I didn’t look massive (according to others), but I did wish that I had stuck in the 25-35 pound range.

I was very ill the first 18 or 19 weeks of pregnancy, and I regularly lost my breakfast or dinner (or both).  I could never let myself be hungry, as I felt MUCH worse when that happened.  My 3:00 a.m. snacks also encouraged the weight gain.  Honestly, I wasn’t concerned, and neither was my doctor.  I am tall and was fairly thin when I got pregnant, and I knew I could lose it.

Plenty of people told me that you lose 15 or 20 pounds in the hospital from the baby, placenta, etc. plus a lot of water weight.  Breastfeeding would also help greatly, and I would lose thirty pounds in the first few weeks (or so I was told).  I definitely hoped it would be that easy.

lana scale

I can honestly say I don’t know exactly how much I lost in the first few weeks.  The only weigh-in that I had that was memorable was the day I came home from the hospital.  I remember stepping on the scale and thinking, “What the…?” when I saw I had only lost nine pounds.  Granted, I had a small baby, but I was pretty stinking sure that I had AT LEAST nine pounds of “stuff” come out of me. So much for the 15-20 pounds I was banking on being really “easy” (if you count giving birth as easy). I didn’t dwell on it long, as I promptly jumped in bed for a nap then spent the next few weeks getting used to being a new mom.

My maternity leave was ten weeks long, and I truly was hoping that I would get down to within ten pounds of my pre-baby weight before going back to work.  My main reason? I didn’t want to have to buy new clothes!  Although I can’t remember exactly the number, I know I was probably more like 15-20 pounds up and definitely needed to purchase a few shirts and a pair of pants or two.  That was a sad day.  When I went back to work, and even now, I use some of the same clothes as I did when I was pregnant.  And when I say pregnant, I mean VERY pregnant.  I have a couple of pairs of pants with drawstrings and a few open cardigans that I wear with long tank tops underneath.  These are worn often, and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little depressed that they are the same clothes!

The more time that passes, the more I realize that I am going to have a heck of a time with these last ten pounds.  It seems that I am going to be one of those women who hang onto the last bit of baby weight until I am done nursing.  I have found from experience that if I work out very much or cut any calories that my milk supply goes way down.  I try to eat healthier, spread out my meals through the day, drink a ton of water, and drink tea that should (and does) help with milk supply in case I miss a snack or two.  However, I have lost basically no weight in at least a month.  I get the same results if I eat poorly, so that is frustrating. I definitely have to give myself a break, as I had a really hard time healing after giving birth (emergency forceps birth = OUCH), and it wasn’t until four months and an extra doctor’s visit later that I felt like I could really function very well.  Not cool.

For quite a while I thought the “nine months on, nine month off” saying would be true for me.  Now that I have hit a plateau and only have a few weeks until Jessa is nine months, I have mostly come to terms with that not being true.  My husband has heard me say, “If I could just get five more pounds off I will have so many more things to wear!” probably more times than I would like to admit.  Even those five pounds are so elusive!  I have a closet full of clothes that have not been worn in over a year.  I see ladies who have babies half Jessa’s age who are back to their old body.  All I have to say is…lame!

How did losing the baby weight go for you?  Was it relatively easy to lose after you stopped nursing?  I am hoping so, but I am also secretly scared that it is just wishful thinking.  Please share you experience!

Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


  1. I think every woman feels this way. There is so much pressure to ‘lose the baby weight’ and get back down to pre-preggers size. Just look at Kate Middleton. The day after she had her beautiful little boy, the media was all about when she was going to lose the baby weight. It’s the same for most celebrities. I, too, have those obnoxious friends who went straight back to their lowest weight and then still whined that it wasn’t fast enough. YOU ARE A TWIG! EAT A BROWNIE!!! lol In reality, although our babies are only inside of us for 9 months, it takes a year (sometimes more) for our body to completely go back to a normal position. At least this is what I told myself–but my doctor did actually say this. haha I know it’s not easy because I struggle with it daily, but embrace your curves. You earned them. You just carried a human being around inside of you! 🙂

  2. I am one of those obnoxious people who lost the weight easily, and although it’s nice to technically be the same size as I was before, I’m still not the same SHAPE and I don’t think I ever will be. My clothes never did fit the same way as they did before, even though the number on the scale was the same. So I didn’t escape the whole “buying a new wardrobe” dilemma! I tried to look on the bright side of things, though, and saw it as a chance to update my look and actually start dressing like a mature adult instead of an old college student. 🙂 Anyway, this is all just to say that you aren’t alone in having a hard time with your clothes. I say just enjoy it and go shopping!

  3. I had a similar experience as you. I gained 60lbs. (that’s when I stopped counting) and started out a slim and fit Pilates teacher. I was sick the whole time and the only way to make it bearable was to eat. So, I got gigantic and even though I know all about diet and fitness and started doing stomach contractions in the labor room (just to see what it felt like to use those stretched muscles), it still took me a year to lose the weight. I couldn’t get rid of it until I stopped nursing. I am on baby #4 and should be mature enough to not be bothered by other people’s success but it still makes me feel like a failure to see how easy it is for some people. I try to remember that in the end, we will all be flabby and old so let it go! Ha. Good luck.


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