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Thread: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

  1. #1

    Default mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    My baby (boy) is 5 months old, and breastfeeding has been so far a wonderful experience. I had "failed" to BF my older, now 2 yo daughter, and had been so sad and frustrated that thought I would never be able to do it, but here we are!

    Now, the problem is that I think I lost too much weight in a very short time. From 65 kg (143 pounds) I am now at 50 kg (110 pounds). This wouldn't have worried me, if I hadn't been getting ill often and with long recovery times, the last couple of months. A month ago, my husband went abroad for 5 days for work, and with the lack of sleep with two little children, and the cold weather, I had a cold which ended up in an ear infection (never had that before that I can recall! so my immune system must be very weak...). This took four weeks to go away, and I'm not 100% ok yet.

    While being sick I ate too little, and there's a lot of energy being spent taking care of two little ones. Plus, I am also weary of eating during the night even if hungry, because I have stomach problems (gastritis). The result of all this is that now I feel often dizzy, short of breath when I climb just one flight of stairs, and sometimes have the feeling I'm going to pass out. My body feels heavy, I'm depleted.

    Of course I'm eating as much as possible, but I wonder if I'm anaemic or how all my vitamins and minerals are. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow to do some tests, but I'm afraid I'll be told to stop breastfeeding if the results are too bad. Already my husband is saying all my health and energy problems will be solved if I stop breastfeeding. I'm in a country which IMO is not so BF-friendly (Holland). Last baby checkup at 5 months the nurse was surprised I was still bf-ing and congratulated me because, she said, women in Holland don't breastfeed so long. So I'm a little bit afraid of all the pressure that I'll get if I do some blood tests and get advice from a family doctor telling me it's better to stop BF.

    So... do you have any advice as to what to eat (or what else to do) to recover from this sudden weight loss? I'm eating all the time, nuts, butter, bananas, avocados, nut butter, cheese, I even got back to drinking some milk. I was not the kind to eat a lot of meat (perhaps once a week). I'm also taking some natural vitamin supplements.

    Next to this, I've been going earlier and earlier to sleep. Yesterday I went with baby to nurse and sleep at 7 PM!! after putting toddler to bed. I end up the day early and exhausted, and I need to get as much sleep as I can, while baby is not feeding (which is variable, but can be every 3 or 4 hours, or if I'm "lucky" he can do a stretch of up to 6 hours. Those days I feel like new and nothing can stop me :P

    By the way, baby is growing perfectly, he is healthy (apart from a winter cold which we all have, and coughing), and happy.

    Anyone had this problem and got over it successfully (or not)? Getting more and more weak, and prone to getting ill? Any advice? Also any advice to convince husband and doctors or not let their pressure win?

    Thanks in advance!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Louisville, Kentucky
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    317

    Default Re: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    Oh, locomundo, I am sorry you are not feeling well! It sounds like you have a lot on your hands, and I am glad that you are being deliberate and active about trying to get yourself feeling better. I'm glad to hear that you are focusing on eating well, focusing on nutrient rich foods, as well as trying to get yourself the sleep your body needs to feel rested. I also am glad to hear that you are getting some blood work done, and that might be able to help you know what, if anything, is going on, so that you can fine tune a plan for feeling better. I don't have any specific ideas beyond what you already have planned or are doing, but hopefully some others will chime in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    Welcome to the forum!

    I know the idea of being told to stop nursing is very scary. Just remember that even if your doctor tells you to stop, you don't absolutely have to. You can always take time to seek more medical opinions and figure out if it's something you really definitely want to do.

    When you go to the doctor, I suggest having him/her run a thyroid panel. Some of the symptoms you mention- dizziness, weight loss, changes in appetite, exhaustion- can be symptoms of thyroid problems, which are common in the postpartum year.

    Getting sick a lot... Well, that might just be what comes with being in close contact two small children. My kids drag home all sorts of interesting germs, and I feel like whenever they have an illness, I get one, too. Probably because they will do things like sneeze right into my eyes.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    Please explain to your husband that breastfeeding is normal, biologically. It is how ALL mammals including humans feed their young and is an integral part of normal human reproduction and biology. So I very much question the idea that breastfeeding is going to make a mother ill, have low energy, or lose too much weight. Studies indicate that generally mothers do lose pregnancy and other excess weight more quickly than those who are not nursing in the first few months of breastfeeding, because of course lactating does burn energy. -meaning breastfeeding mothers typically should eat a little more. But this typical weight loss is NOT to the point it is unhealthy.

    I am no doctor, but it sounds to me that you got very ill and consequently did not eat normally. Wouldn't that cause weight loss, breastfeeding or not? It is also possible to cause anemia or other vitamin deficiencies. perhaps you are still ill with a low lying infection. Treatment for any those things would not include not nursing and could be done while you continued to nurse your baby.

    So if the doctor tells you to stop nursing, ask him or her for studies that indicate such a thing is needed. And insist on tests that will find out what is really wrong. Blaming breastfeeding will only lead to a longer amount of time where whatever is wrong goes untreated.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; December 7th, 2014 at 12:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    So if the doctor tells you to stop nursing, ask him or her for studies that indicate such a thing is needed. And insist on tests that will find out what is really wrong. Blaming breastfeeding will only lead to a longer amount of time where whatever is wrong goes untreated.
    Exactly!!! When a health professional blames breastfeeding for a mother's ills, it generally means that the professional isn't looking hard enough for the real cause.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    81

    Default Re: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    As well as seeing your doctor, you might want to check out a book called "Mother Nurture" A mother's guide to health in body, mind and intimate relationships.
    I found it really helpful when I was feeling sick and tired and drained and my son was a few months old. It is a self help book for mothers and addresses ways to improve nutrition, stress levels and relationship among other things. It helped make me feel that my condition was normal and gave clear steps to improvement.

  7. #7

    Default Re: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    Thank you all for your replies and support! I think everything combined (two little kids, getting sick, 5 days alone, not eating enough, and bf of course requires energy from my body), I ended up asking too much of my body. One thing I'm also changing is eating during the night when I feed, which I had stopped because of stomach issues. I called the doctors and first I'll do those blood tests.
    Thanks, it's good to feel the support of fellow mums!

  8. #8

    Default Re: mother weight loss, feeling depleted, sick often

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*nathansmum View Post
    As well as seeing your doctor, you might want to check out a book called "Mother Nurture" A mother's guide to health in body, mind and intimate relationships.
    I found it really helpful when I was feeling sick and tired and drained and my son was a few months old. It is a self help book for mothers and addresses ways to improve nutrition, stress levels and relationship among other things. It helped make me feel that my condition was normal and gave clear steps to improvement.
    Thanks! I'll check this book out right away! Sounds like something that'll help me feel more "normal", if you know what I mean

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