Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Breastfeeding Helps Moms Lose Weight

Women Who Breastfeed Are More Likely to Shed Their Baby Weight 6 Months After Giving Birth, Study Shows
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 8, 2008 -- Breastfeeding may help new mothers shed the baby weight.

A new study examines the relationship between breastfeeding and postpartum weight retention. The study, which looked at data for more than 25,000 women participating in the Danish National Birth Cohort, measured how long women breastfed and also how intensely. Each woman received a breastfeeding score. Results showed that women with higher breastfeeding scores were more likely to lose their pregnancy weight six months after giving birth.

Researchers concluded that women who gain a reasonable amount during pregnancy and breastfeed exclusively are likely to lose all pregnancy weight six months after giving birth. They also estimate that women who breastfeed retain 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) less than women who don't breastfeed at six months after giving birth.

Participants, all recruited by their doctors during their first prenatal visit, were interviewed four times -- twice during pregnancy, as well as six months after giving birth and 18 months after giving birth. They answered questions about their weight and how they were feeding their babies.

Postpartum weight retention is an important health topic, according to authors, because U.S. women of childbearing age "are alarmingly heavy." Fifty-two percent are overweight and 29% are obese, according to the study. These existing weight problems can be exacerbated by pregnancies.

Another key factor that contributes to postpartum weight retention is the amount of weight gained during pregnancy. Thirty-eight percent of American women gain more weight during pregnancy than recommended.

This study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, provides one more reason to breastfeed. Current recommendations call for breastfeeding six months exclusively and to any extent until the baby's first birthday, according to the study.

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow