Does Brad know?

Does Brad know?

It’s long been suspected that breast-feeding gives mothers an edge in shedding their baby-bearing weight. Now, a number of big-name nursing-moms are crediting their own postpartum weight-loss to nursing. And fanning the flames is a recent large-scale study suggesting that weight loss through breast-feeding isn’t an urban myth. “X-Men” hottie Rebecca Romijn called breast-feeding her twins “the very best diet I’ve been on.” In November 2008, Angelina Jolie posed for the cover of W magazine nursing one of her twins; she said breast-feeding had helped her get her figure back. The W cover gave her instant-icon status among advocates of nursing and led to the exhibition last month in London of a bronze statue depicting a naked Jolie double-nursing her newborns. The shift in dynamics has led to a cultural expectation that new mothers have to bounce back from childbirth and claim their place as a “yummy mummy.” Beauty-care products such as the “Mama Mio” line advertise firming creams, including “Boob Tube.” And breast-feeding moms can shop online at YummyMummyStore.com for accessories like form-fitting tops. All hype and celeb testimonials aside, the question remains: does nursing help speed weight loss in postpartum women? Maybe. A 2008 epidemiological study of 36,000 women in Denmark found that the more a mother nurses her baby, the more weight she loses six months after birth. There were factors that determined how much weight she shed, including whether a woman was overweight before she became pregnant, how much weight she gained while she was pregnant, and the duration of nursing. But other studies have found that breast-feeding moms don’t necessarily lose fat faster than those who feed formula to their newborns. A study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that, at six months, non-lactating women lost more body fat than lactating women, and at a quicker rate. The study authors said that prolactin, an appetite stimulant, could possibly lead to overeating among nursing mothers. And non-lactating mothers exercising more strenuously than nursing mothers during the first six months could tip the scales in their favor. So, is big weight loss among breast-feeders who eat big just a big lie? Experts say it’s possible that some moms who eat without guilt (or weight-gain) were “restrained eaters” before they became pregnant: they ate fewer calories than they burned, for instance 1,800 calories daily instead of 2,000, which slowed their metabolism. Once they became pregnant, the moms-to-be ate enough to keep their metabolisms going for their babies’ well-being. After birth, they lose a pound a week even though they’re eating a lot more, because making milk expends around 500 calories a day. There are numerous challenges faced by breast-feeding mothers: little professional help, an enduring public “yuck factor,” and maternity leave many advocates say is too short maternity. But these same advocates say there are many reasons, both pro-baby and pro-mom, to nurse: breast-feeding gives an immunity-boost to babies, and it may lower the risk of breast cancer for mothers with a history of the disease in their families.  And the very act of nursing helps the uterus shrink back to pre-baby size. Eat that. – Boomer