Hi Is This Normal,
Is it normal to lose your appetite? For how long? It’s been three months and pure hell trying to keep the little supply of breast milk I have. No food sounds appetizing or appealing to me, and I find I have to force myself to eat even a little bit. Not eating enough has tanked my breast milk supply, and now I’m stressed that I won’t be able to continue for as long as I’d planned. I want to keep breastfeeding, but I also want to start to feel like myself again!
Dear No Appetite,
This is one of those problems that no one takes seriously. People in general are so weird about weight and weight loss. Like, they just assume that it’s always a good thing and don’t care to examine the reasons behind it. It’s a dangerous reaction, particularly for postpartum moms. When a new mom, one who’s breastfeeding, says they have no appetite? We need to listen. Well, I hear you, mama. Let’s figure this out.
It’s helpful to understand what causes breast milk to decrease. One of the main culprits during postpartum is fatigue and lack of energy. You know what can contribute to fatigue and loss of energy? Loss of appetite! When you’re breastfeeding and not taking in enough calories, your body will deplete its own resources in order to maintain your milk supply.
The concern here isn’t just your breast milk drying up. Not eating can lead to all kinds of issues for you, like weight loss, hair loss, exhaustion, and brain fog. When you have no appetite, it’s incredibly hard to will yourself to eat. I know you’re focused on keeping your breast milk supply up, but it might be more helpful to think of your overall health first.
Loss of appetite after pregnancy and postpartum is normal. Losing it for three months and counting? There’s likely more going on here.
Make an appointment with your doctor, if you haven’t already. Postpartum recovery is a beast! Pregnancy and childbirth wreak havoc on your hormones and can potentially do a real number on your thyroid, not to mention other super-important functional systems within your body. Your doctor can order a full panel of blood work to make sure everything is functioning properly.
The other thing to consider and discuss with your doctor, is if your loss of appetite could be related to or caused by postpartum depression. For a lot of women, no appetite was the first noticeable sign of something being … not right. In fact for one of my personal mama role models, Chrissy Teigen, not having an appetite was what clued her in on something being wrong. Loss of appetite is a very common symptom of postpartum depression, and one that so many women blow off or ignore.
It may feel insignificant, and it sounds like you’ve been waiting for it to get better on its own. But your body needs food for fuel in order to function. You cannot take care of another little human without taking care of yourself, too. Please make that appointment with your doctor. Your health is incredibly important and it’s OK to make it your focus right now.
Hoping You Find Some Answers (and Your Appetite!),