Ever since, oh...probably a few months after my son was born, but especially last summer, my MIL, and mom, have been on me about gaining weight. They essentially think that in breastfeeding my son, it's sucking nutrients out of me and I need to eat more. I eat when I'm hungry. Same as I did when pregnant, same as I did before I got pregnant. I've never been a big person; I've always been slender, and very lightweight. In 5th grade I maxed out at 55 lbs, I was the lightest of everyone in my class, beside a little boy who weighed around the same as I. But in gym class, I had the strongest arm muscles out of everyone, due to climbing trees every day. In high school I maxed out at 112 lbs. I'm 5'2", been that way since high school, haven't changed. I am 16 lbs lighter now than I was before I got pregnant, and gained 30 lbs during pregnancy. I am not bothered by my weight. I do not think I'm underweight like my mom and MIL have been pressuring me into believing, but my MIL's words have been irritating me. I know she means well, but she won't believe me when I say I'm fine. I have strength, I have energy, I sleep well. Numbers on a scale mean nothing to me, I go entirely off of how the person is feeling. Everyone has their unique weight.. and this is mine.
Last summer when my mom and MIL saw me in a bathing suit, I got hounded. "Your legs are sticks!" "I can count every rib you have!" "Your hips are poking out!" "I can feel/count every single one of your vertebrae if I run my fingers down your back!"
I do not believe my legs have gotten either thicker, or thinner, since high school. As far as my hips go, which are, yes, more defined now that I've given birth, to that I say......I've given birth. They got wider. My son pushed them apart like the gates of heaven in order to get out, lol. It's got nothing to do with me being underweight, but the rest of body just hasn't filled them out. As far as my ribs go, she's speaking of my ribs easily seen on my chest. I'm not sure if it's some sort of lack of collagen(although I'd think I'm too young for it..), mixed with weighed-down breasts from breastfeeding stretching the skin over them, but they got less visible when I put a bra on which pushed them up together a bit. They're still noticeable, though.
Anyway. My MIL told me back around Thanksgiving that if I don't gain a few pounds during Thanksgiving and Christmas, she's going to do something akin to force-feeding me. She hasn't said anything to me since the last time she brought it up, in which I told her, "Look, I appreciate your concern, really... but the only thing different about my body are my hips from giving birth. I eat well, and have lots of energy. Trust me, I am fine."
Honestly, I think what's going on is this: Neither of them breastfed. My mom was forced to bottle-feed me, because I was born via C-Section, and she was in so much pain that baby-me on her belly when she tried to nurse me was brutally painful, and she never figured out side-lay nursing. As far as my dad joining in with my mom, HIS mom only nursed her kids until they were 6 months old. My MIL tried to breastfeed her son, but after his circumcision, he refused to nurse. My son is going on 2 years old, and still nursing frequently. I think the concept of this is so ....abnormal in this culture, that they mentally think he should be weaned from my breasts completely, and taking in all his nutrients through solids and liquids. This leads to them seeing me as underweight. My MIL pretty much had a spaz attack when I told her I have no intentions of weaning my son based on my timing, and that babies can wean anywhere from 3 years to 7 years at the latest(according to a biological study I read in which the researcher likened the natural weaning age of human infants, to those of chimpanzee infants, and that 7 years old was the latest age at which either could wean. Dunno if this is technically true, but I said it as a roundabout range.
Another theory of mine as to what's causing them to think I'm underweight is perhaps that my hair is now short. I cut it short two years ago in November, and it sort of seems like after that was when they really started hounding me about my weight. Before that, I had long hair...for YEARS. Ever since my mom stopped dictating the length of my hair as a child it had been long. Perhaps short hair makes me look underweight? I know style/length can seriously affect the age a person looks. I'm in the process of growing my hair out, probably out to be a little longer than my chin, not strictly to see if this was the root cause of their beliefs, but because I'm looking for a change in my hair. How it will effect how they see the state of my body is just a bonus.
This is what I think their problem is. Has ANYONE confronted something like this from their families?
I would tell them they are being rude and to leave you alone. Do you think they would appreciate constant critiques of their diet and body size? I doubt it. You are allowing them to get into your head. If you're eating enough, then what's to worry about? If you feel like you are undernourished and need help, you can talk to your doctor.
Yes, I used to get this stuff, too. I didn't even crack 110 by the end of high school. People definitely felt comfortable expressing the type of stuff you mention, and I basically took it. It's considered insulting to overweight people, but somehow not to underweight/thin body type people. Now after two kids, the people who used to double my ice cream servings and encourage me to drink cream are criticizing me for being overweight. You can't win. I am trying to be as healthy as possible, even if that means not losing weight and still feeling OK about it. I'm still working on what it is in my words/behavior that makes people feel comfortable saying things like this to me (yes, I know it's partially their own deal and lack of filter, but I do think I have accepted stuff like this too much whether subtly or overtly). Oh, and practicing telling people to go take a flying leap, too! I think the best approach is super direct: "Thanks for your concern, but my weight/body is my issue, and I don't wish to discuss it with you," i.e., don't engage by giving reasons or your perspective, because it will just keep the conversation going that you didn't want to have in the first place.
Good luck with your family.
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"
It's not about breastfeeding. It's just taking care of yourself.
It is rude for people to comment on your weight.
but everything has pros and cons
I wouldn't just blow off your concerned family members. If you respond seriously and show them that you are taking care of yourself and it isn't a health risk then I am sure they will back off. You can sit them down and tell them that you considered what they had to say and after looking into it fully know that you are healthy and the subject is not to be brought up again.
First, I would just find out what the calorie needs are supposed to be for someone your size and activity level. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools/daily-food-plans/moms.html
Keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and see if you are getting enough calories the way you are currently eating. I believe it is recommended for nursing moms to have up to 500 calories more. You might need to eat a bit differently than you are.
If you are sure you are getting enough calories, you could discuss your weight with your health care provider to make sure there are no health issues causing your weight to drop. There are some health risks with being underweight and some medical conditions that affect weight. I wouldn't just ignore it.
My sister lost weight after her second child was born. She became much thinner than she ever was before pregnancy and really started to look skeletal- not a healthy thin. She had always been thin but not this thin. She didn't perceive a problem herself. She totally dismissed people's concerns and got angry and defensive because she ate, etc. Turned out that she does actually have a health problem which is affecting her weight and it wasn't about nursing or what she ate. Her bone density is one concern now.
Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)
No no, I actually reached 124 prior to pregnancy. If I were under 100 lbs, I'd be worried. Additionally, according to the BMI calculator in the link you provided, onlyzombiecat, I'm within normal range. Normal range for someone my size is 101-136 lbs, which is what I've read before, which is why I haven't been worried. I'm not saying I couldn't stand to gain a few pounds, but at the moment, as I'm functioning well, feeling well, sleeping well, eating well, etc etc, it's not a huge concern. My next doctor's appointment I'll bring it up to him.
A thyroid imbalance could be possible, I am quite moody on a day to day basis, but I am also highly stressed. I've always been stressed living here.
According to this, 66% of adults in Michigan are overweight. It makes sense that seeing someone with a low-"normal" BMI might appear "underweight" when overweight is more common than "normal."
I have also experienced "concern" about my size that was actually subtle bullying/undermining from others who were actually envious rather than concerned.
My experience with family was that my grandmother gave me a lecture on "eating less" every time I talked to her on the phone. She hadn't actually seen me and didn't breastfeed herself, so had no idea how quickly I was losing despite eating massive amounts of food.
I found that my weightloss reached its low point when I was almost exclusively breastfeeding young toddlers and it got easier when they started eating more solid foods.
I've gotten grief about my low weight all of my life from certain people. I just shrug it off. Nursing can make you super skinny (smaller than you normally are) but as long as you feel healthy and are getting enough calories/nutrients, what's the big deal? This is at least what I've had to say, many times over. It's tiring. I'll have to deal with that again, soon. Try to not let it bother you. I agree having a frank discussion with the offended parties might be a good idea.
Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)
I'll fiddle around with that calorie counter in a few minutes and see where I'm at as far as that goes. Considering my size, and the fact that I can fly my 27 lb son over my head for a little while, or toss him up in the air and catch him, I don't think I'm doing too bad, lol. It's nice to know there are others who know where I'm coming from, though :)
Ugh! I'd practice a couple of responses that shut down the conversation. They'll get bored if you refuse to engage. I'm about the same size as you. Luckily no one close to me has ever gotten super annoying about it, but I have gotten the odd, rude "eat a sandwich!" from a stranger or two. I dropped below 100 for a month or two when I was breastfeeding ds1 (normally about 105). It was when he was around 6 or 7 months, growing lots and not interested in solids yet. I felt fine, ate everything in sight for a while, and the weight came back. My ds2 is almost 4 mo now, but I'm still hanging on to 5 pregnancy pounds, so if it happens again, I'm prepared this time, lol!
If you want to gain a few pounds, I found drinking smoothies instead of water with dinner helped.
Mommy to DS1 July '09 and DS2 Oct '12