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Post-Baby Foodshaming

Post-Baby Foodshaming

By Amalah

Dear All-Knowing Amalah,

Four months ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy whom I love dearly. Unfortunately, pregnancy left me with extra baby weight, which I do not love dearly. It has made me feel uncomfortable about my body, so I decided to get serious about losing the rest of the weight at the beginning of the year (because that’s what we do, right?), and started a diet. I enjoy eating healthily and am loving the extra energy I have, but my diet is causing problems in my marriage. My husband is the very thin, can-eat-anything-he-wants-and-will-still-lose-weight type and he has taken it upon himself to ensure that every calorie that passes my lips is accounted for. I’m nursing a baby, so I am hungry more often than he understands and he has accused me several times of “eating all day long.” When I walk to the kitchen he asks me what I’m doing and tries to talk me out of eating. Even grabbing a quick snack unleashes a lecture on the sorry state of my physical health. It is making me crazy. I tried rationally explaining that his food-shaming is hurtful and unhealthy and when that didn’t work I tried crying and screaming that his food-shaming is hurtful and unhealthy. Still, he carries on with his self-appointed mission to make me lose weight. I love him and know that he means well, but I swear that if he doesn’t stop I might just beat him to death with my juicer (that he bought me – go figure). How can I explain that the way he acts about how I eat is inappropriate? Please help.

Sincerely,

Desperate for a Respite

FLAMES.

FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE.

You had a baby four months ago. You are nursing. You are married to a jerk.

I mean, I’m sure he’s great and all and you love him, but this is ridiculous. You asked “how can I explain that the way he acts about how I eat is inappropriate” but I highly doubt there’s a script I could write that would get through to him. Because you’ve ALREADY explained it. Once rationally, and once in TEARS. And — call me old-fashioned and/or crazy — if you have actively driven the person you love to TEARS, and yet CONTINUE to actively engage in the same pattern of behavior that made them cry…that crosses a line into abusive.

I don’t care that he means well. He’s being controlling and obsessive and cruel. YOU JUST HAD A BABY. YOU ARE NURSING A BABY. You are a human being who needs calories to function (and 500 EXTRA calories to nurse). Weight loss should not be a priority here, for you and DEFINITELY not for him, because it’s not his damn body.

(Random aside: While many women love going on and on about the weight-loss benefits of breastfeeding, many MORE women anecdotally report that their bodies hold onto extra weight [10 pounds is what I’ve typically heard, though I’m sure it varies] that never budges until the baby weans. The more you know!)

It’s not a difficult concept for someone to grasp (especially after having been told) (twice!) that, “Hmm, my well-intentioned efforts to support my spouse in her diet and weight-loss goals do not seem to be helping, but instead seem to be actively making her unhappy and/or sending her the message that I’m grossed out by her post-baby body. Perhaps I should back off.” Since he cannot grasp that concept, I admit that I’m less than willing to give him the “but he MEANS well” pass. He’s got a great metabolism and superiority complex. And probably some hidden food issues of his own, mixed in with unrealistic expectations re: post-baby bodies.

Part of me wants to tell you to walk into the kitchen right now and just like, stare him right in the eyes while shoving an entire chocolate cupcake into your mouth in one big, spiteful bite.

But I won’t, because that’s not how grown-ups are supposed to handle things like this. Personally, I think you guys should probably consider taking this to a third party, someone who can also explain that yes, DUDE, the food-shaming is hurtful, unhealthy, and completely counterproductive. A couples counselor would be one option, especially if he’s ever shown these controlling-type tendencies about other aspects of your life or physical appearance. If you can think of any other instances that, hmmm, maybe suggest a pattern, insist he come to counseling because that pattern needs to stop NOW.

If this really truly is the one sole issue he’s decided to be a complete (but so well meaning!!) jerk about, I’d suggest hiring yourself a personal trainer. (Hey, I bet your husband would totally spring for the expense since it’s so IMPORTANT.) Preferably one who specializes in post-pregnancy weight loss. Maybe find a dietician or nutritionist. And then these people — AND ONLY THESE PEOPLE — are the ones who get any say in your diet/exercise plan and are the only people you need to be accountable to, besides yourself. Tell him this. You’ve absolutely had it with him and his self-appointed mission and it’s done and over.

If he continues to harass you in the kitchen or try to inventory your food intake or basically be the world’s most obnoxious calorie counting app, tell him it’s time for some counseling. If he really can’t see/understand what this behavior is doing to you (and your marriage), then this is a real problem, and one that might not magically go away once you hit the “right” number on the scale.

 

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

  • Ali

    Absolutely 100% agree with the wise Amalah. I too have a 4 month old and am hanging I to extra weight. It probably doesn’t help that I’m eating constantly due to nursing hunger. Fortunately, though, this is my second time around and I realize…even if you’re really working at it, it takes time. I started dieting/exercising basically immediately after baby #1 and the scale didn’t budge. Somehow though somewhere around the 6 or 7 month mark, the rest of the weight dropped off without any change to my routine. It seems that’s what my body wanted to do. It might not be the same for you, but here’s the thing– you grew a human in 9 months! And now your body is still supporting your baby! You can’t just expect to drop the pounds overnight and your husband really needs to understand that . Nursing hunger is no joke! Taking care of a baby is no joke! Your top priorities should be your little one and your sanity. I think someone needs to have an intervention with your husband because he just doesn’t get it.

  • Tricia

    Oh man. A bit of rage over here! I know that your body right after baby can be hard to reconcile. Everything is stretched and the weight doesn’t magically go down once a human comes out of you. I totally agree with Amalah about handling your husband’s comments, but. also cut yourself some slack! It took nine months for that weight to get on there and realistically could take longer to come off. Health is important but so is enjoying every second you can get with your sweet baby. Hang in there! ~hugs~

  • Bethany West

    Oh, the hunger! Nursing hunger is intense. I remember once when I was nursing our first, we got invited to dinner at my SIL’s. I was too hungry to wait for dinner, so I ate an entire bag of microwave popcorn just before leaving. At dinner, I ate firsts, then seconds, then small thirds (don’t want to appear to be a pig, right?), then needed one more helping, PLUS a big dessert. After arriving home, I finished off some leftovers from the fridge. Sometimes you just need to eat! And eat! And eat!

    It can be so hard to get a well-meaning but clueless DH to understand some things. If you figure it out, let me know because I’m in a similar boat with a different issue.

  • Liz

    Nursing hunger pangs are intense!  You are smart to listen to your body. I’m sorry your husband feels he is in charge of this. Spot on advice, Amy, as always!!!! Good luck and I hope he backs off. 

  • If husband refuses to talk to a third party (and honestly, it’s likely that he might if he just doesn’t seem to get it), I would tell him that you are posting THIS letter on your Facebook wall and tagging him in it. Let The People decide and shame him into compliance. Big step? Yes. Will it work? Well, he’ll receive the message, but may not understand. I am just so frustrated on your behalf. Not okay, husband. Not. Okay.

    xox

    • J

      AWESOME idea. Public shaming might be part of the solution for this.

      • wendy

        I personally an so annoyed with friends that fight out marital or relational issues on facebook. . Would never recommend it.

    • Cara

      While the idea makes me laugh, I think actually doing this is a bad idea.  Taking marital problems to Facebook is pretty much a guarantee you will make them worse, and there’s to great a chance it will be obvious this is not an anonymous letter.

      • praepes

        Couldn’t agree more

  • Kristen

    I agree with everything Amy said, ESPECIALLY the flames on the side of my face!
    This is ridiculous and I’m sorry but your husband is an asshole. At least with regard to food. 
    This should be about what you want and he should get involved only when you ask for support, advice, help, etc. 
    Keep your head up, mama. You can do this! Good luck, with everything!

  • Kerry

    Not eating until you’re full/satisfied makes you irritable during the day and makes it harder to fall back asleep if you get woken up in the middle of the night…AKA, when you have a 4 month old IS NOT THE RIGHT TIME. My daughter is almost 8 months old, still getting 100% of her calories via me, and my general policy is when in doubt, to eat a little something extra before bed. Preferably something high fat so it’s most likely to keep me full until morning. I think you need to shift the focus of your diet changes (energy! healthy food makes you happier! taking time for yourself!) and then tell your husband that this is the plan and you’ll let him know if you need him to make you a salad. Or 5 salads. With lots of cheese in them. Because green vegetables, while important, are not a valid source of calories for sustaining two entire human beings.

  • Carole

    I would like to echo the advice of Amy in regard to hiring personal trainer who has experience in postnatal/nursing moms (if you go that route). It really important for your supply and nutritional content of breast milk for you to be getting adequate calories, fluid intake and nutritional foods. I have seen many of my friends/coworkers hire a personal trainer when their babies are 4-6months and their supplies tank. Maybe showing your husband some articles on how many calories and what you should be eating as a nursing mom would be helpful? 

  • Stephanie

    I gained 55 pounds with my first baby and 45 pounds with my second. Both times, I eventually lost all of the weight, but it took time, like until I stopped nursing, which was around a year for both. I am one of those women who held on to about 5 to 10 pounds until I weaned. And as soon as I stopped, both times, within a couple weeks I had lost those few extra pounds.

    Four months is still REALLY early. Did I mention it took almost a year? And while I did amp up my exercise around month 4, it still took a long time. Your husband needs to cool it. Now!

  • Emiliy

    If he won’t consent to counseling, I cannot recommend solo counseling enough.  I agree with everything said by Amalah – but he may resist the idea of a counselor to discuss the issue.  A good counselor can give you tools to respond to his controlling statements and behavior, even if he won’t meet with the counselor.  It also can help add a good perspective to whether the behavior goes beyond this particular, cruel issue.  

    Good luck.  I’m so sorry you are dealing with this.

  • Jessie

    Amy is right, it does’t sound like your husband means well at all. 

  • Amanda

    Ho. Lee. Smokes.

    I am a fundamentally rude and obnoxious person. So feel free to disregard this advice as not for you. But if I were getting this kind of shit at 4 months post partum from my husband, I would probably respond with: “Are you fucking serious?” Then, “Stop talking. Right now, stop talking and leave the room.” And if that didn’t work, “This conversation is over. if you don’t stop talking about food and leave this room right now, I am leaving the house to do some self-care away from you. Have fun with the baby.” And I would walk right the fuck out. (Logistically this is challenging while breastfeeding but modify to suit your needs.) I have a tiiiiiny inkling that if he expects you to be totally focused on losing weight, presumably so his penis can have the sexy female body to which he is entitled, he is not really aware of how much work you are doing to keep this baby alive and happy. Leaving him alone with the baby a few times might be a helpful reminder that, uh, you’re kinda busy right now.

    I mean I cannot — CANNOT — imagine how he thinks that this is acceptable. He’s literally asking you to prioritize his sexual pleasure over your own happiness and caring for your child. Wow wow wow wow wow.

    • F.

      Although your response would probably be mine, me have funny logiv, and it’s not necessarily for his sexual pleasure. The OP has said she wants to lose weight, so he might just think that he is being helpful and encouraging and “keeping her on her goal even when she’s wavering”. The OP hasn’t mentioned anything about him wanting his “old” wife back. He might just think that her tears are “weakness” not the result of his d!ckishness.

  • Claire

    I have no useful additional advice – between Amy and the other commenters they have it covered. But just wanted to add my own, what an asshole. This isn’t right, isn’t normal behaviour no matter what excuses you give him.
    I would be bloody concerned at this, especially if that controlling nature is repeated anywhere else in the relationship. Also, getting it sorted now will do your baby untold favours – what is he going to do if your son carries a little extra weight? Is he going to fat shame him too? He needs to learn now that this behaviour is unacceptable full stop.

    • Melissa

      I second everything here.  Get the fuck out if he is so unwilling to hear you.

      HOWEVER, I would not leave my baby with someone who thinks his penis is more important than your baby’s health.  Take baby with you, or to Grandma’s, or a friend’s….wherever ELSE.  You need therapy to see how utterly abusive this is and I highly doubt this is the first time his controlling nature has come through.

      It took me time in therapy to really see all the many ways my ex was controlling.  Sometimes being in the middle of things makes it really hard to see, and abusers are subtle jerks a lot of the time.  

  • Beth

    You know what? When he has the baby and he’s the one nursing, he can decide how much food he needs to consume.

    I hate this pressure we’ve put on ourselves to lose the baby weight immediately after birth. I don’t care that celebrity so-and-so’s post baby body is banging just 7 days after giving birth. Mine is not. Heck, I still use the excuse that I just had a baby and he’s 18 months old. I haven’t boobed him in 5 months! 

    Amy is so right, and so nice compared to me because I would totally prescribe the cupcake remedy first. I suppose hiring a nutritionist is better as long as you can get your husband to agree to drop it now that you’re seeing an expert.

    I need to go hug my husband. Last night he brought home Swiss rolls for me because the weather is so bad he didn’t want me making a desperate midnight run for ALL THE CAKEY THINGS!

  • Cara

    I love the idea of hiring an expert, but be sure to interview well.  There are some personal trainers out there who would make your husband look reasonable.

  • Rebecca

    Yeah, totally not ok. Four months out and my body was still hanging on to several pounds but it tends to do that so I wasn’t concerned. If my husband had said anything he would’ve been sleeping on the couch (he owes me though because I gave birth without him and survived the first months alone for our last two;) One thing, though, and I ask because it’s happened to me: did you speak his language when you told him? It seems like you did, you tried two different tactics, but as a female INTJ (myers-briggs! Basically I don’t fit any female stereotypes) I am well versed with my husband thinking he had communicated (and vice versa) and finding out later we hadn’t. I now know I can’t give my husband any diet or exercise advice because he’s extremely sensitive about it but at first I did because my family has an inordinate amount of personal trainers in it and I know what I’m talking about so I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want my advice. Maybe something like that is happening? Anyways, remember you are awesome. Not because of anything else, just, you’re awesome. You don’t need to be more or do more. Just be you. Hope you get this all sorted out.

  • Glen

    Could this response and the room full of hate be any more predictable?! What makes you think you know this couples’ dynamic well enough to call this guy a “jerk”? This isn’t generous or nuanced advice.

    Having a child is a trauma for both parties in a relationship and the shape of that trauma quite eccentric to both sexes and between relationships. Both parties must adapt to an entirely new emotional, physical paradigm for their relationship. Sexuality and attraction are important–in some relationships they are critical–and the shock of child bearing, birth, and having a child around, fundamentally change those aspects of a relationship. The urge to get the baby weight off is the desire to restore a part of your relationship that has had a tumultuous 13 months.

    Why is your husband being militant about monitoring your weight? Does he think you can’t or won’t do it on your own? I think that’s the question you need to ask yourself resolve with him.

    Here’s what you know about your husband: he wants to sleep with you and he thinks you’re hot when you’re slim. It sucks that your weight is that important to him, but at least he wants to do you.

    • praepes

      Welcome, Fat Shaming Husband!
      Be sure to remind your spouse how good she has it, since you want to do her.
      Wow dude, just wow

    • Melissa

      Room full of hate?  No, you are talking about this person acting like a huge jerk and he needs to change. That’s not up for debate, frankly.  If he’s a great guy, he’d listen to his wife while she is screaming and crying about how much he’s hurting her.  If it were me, and my husband only thought I was hot if I was X weight and felt the need to constantly harass me about the fact that his dick requires servicing by an expected body type, he is quite welcome to GTFO.  He wouldn’t have time to leave if he refused therapy because I wouldn’t stay.

      “At least he wants to do you”?  That’s your ending line?  Wow.  

      Women are PEOPLE..  Not a husband’s plaything.  How hard is that?

    • Angela

      “What makes you think you know this couples’ dynamic well enough to call this guy a “jerk”?”

      If you fat-shame ANYONE for ANY reason EVER then you are being a jerk. This is exponentially true if you do it to your spouse four months after she delivered your baby. Yeah I get that physical attraction matters, but if your wife’s hotness is more important to you than her emotional or physical health, then you’re a jerk. If you feel like you have ownership over your wife and have a right to control her then you’re a jerk. And if your response to controlling, abusive behavior is to tell a woman that “at least he wants to do you” then you’re probably a jerk too.

    • IrishCream

      I can’t stop laughing at the last paragraph. Ooooh, congratulations, your husband wants to do you! (But only if you meet his strict qualifications, weight-wise.)

      • Right?!  What a compliment!  “Your husband will still have sex with you even though your body – that housed and birthed and now sustains your child – disgusts him.”  WTF?  Is this supposed to make her feel flattered?

        • IrishCream

          I think he was going for “deeply grateful.” She can still fulfill a woman’s most important role–being doable! What more could one ask for?

  • Lynn

    I vote for shoving the cupcake in mouth and couples counseling, because NOPE. Even if you hadn’t had a baby, this behavior would be completely unacceptable on his part. Concern for your health is fine. World domination is not.

  • Elf

    From what you describe, your husbands admonishments are likely not only obnoxious and cruel, but flat out factually wrong.  The newer dietary science is showing that most of what people have been doing to diet for the last couple generations is really rather counterproductive.  Calorie restriction damages your metabolism, so you can eat fewer calories over time without gaining weight and low-fat diets make it very difficult to lose fat, while eating very healthy foods (lots of protein, fruit, and vegetables) and restricting sugars and things that become sugar readily (sugar, white potatoes, and grains), is very effective.  Small snacks throughout the day is one of the most effective strategies for weight loss, so your husband is flat-out wrong about that.

    Be cautious when picking a personal trainer; a really good one (like mine) is worth his weight in gold, but there are also a lot of not-so-good ones out there.  One thing you might try is to find a book about a diet system that works for you (make sure it tells you to EAT when you’re hungry – many do) and then just point your husband to it anytime he mentions food.  I will ask my trainer for some sane recommendations and try to post them.

    The important thing about your diet and exercise when nursing is how you feel and what you can do – not the pounds.  If your diet makes you feel good and gives you energy, it is a good diet.  Your body is full of hormones, and may want to hold a few extra pounds just in case while you’re nursing, but you can set goals for your ability to do athletic things.

    The bottom line: do things to make your body feel good, and don’t let your husband make you feel bad about it!

  • Kate

    I agree with Amy that this level of controlling behavior is a red flag. One other option though, maybe to take the subjective element out of the equation. You could use an app like my fitness pal, include your calories for breastfeeding in your daily calorie allotment, and when he second guesses your food choices just tell him you still have room in your calories for the day.
    He says “should you really be eating that string cheese?” You say “yep, the app says I have 340 calories left for the day and I need more protien and calcium.” End of conversation.

    • Liz

      I like the idea of having a third party in the mix, in theory. But the problem is that husband should not be monitoring her food intake. If she wants to go beyond what the app says she should eat, that choice is hers and hers alone. Husband doesn’t get to second guess her, and the app is not a fool proof deity of health. Maybe she is still hungry after eating her allotted calories because the app doesn’t know baby is eating more due to a growth spurt. Or maybe she is stress eating. Either way, it’s her body, her choice. He can choose whether to stay married to someone who makes choices he disapproves of, but she does not have to justify every snack to anyone but herself.

  • vanessa

    yeah, your husband is an asshole. even if you WERENT nursing, this kind of behavior would be borderline abusive. 

  • The next time he goes off on a rant even though you are crying, quietly start packing a bag and go stay with a relative. This is abuse and it will only escalate unless you put a stop to it immediately and sounds like he needs a shock to the status quo and some alone time to contemplate it.

  • Eizabeth

    I would like to second Amy’s comments about baby weight. I had my fourth about a year ago. With each child it took a good nine months to a year to get back to my previous size –  which always felt like far too long cos I wanted to wear ‘my’ clothes. But it didn’t matter how I restricted my diet or how much exercise I did ( and I breasted all until one year), my body had to reach that magic mark of nine months to a year to drop the weight. Turns out I didn’t need to do anything differently ( ie restrict diet etc). Nine months to make the baby, a good nine months to lose the baby weight. Don’t stress too much about your body shape now, your baby is only four months. Maybe reassess in a year’s time. Good luck. 

  • Nancy

    Caloric restriction while nursing is no joke! I started working out when my son was OVER A YEAR OLD and didn’t eat enough and lost my supply. I can’t imagine what that would do to a 4 month old! That is way more of a serious health issue than your husband realizes…

  • Amie

    I can’t even imagine a world where my husband would even comment on what I ate at four months postpartum (unless it was to ask if he could get me anything else), let alone harangue me about every bite. ESPECIALLY after you told him how it makes you feel, more than once. Personally, the next time he offered an opinion on my diet I would probably tell him he could go eat a bag of dicks. Probably not constructive, I know. But it’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. This is not normal behavior on your husband’s part. You need to eat, you are still recovering!

  • Amie

    If you want to go the nutritionist route, try contacting Amelia at eating-made-easy.com. She does an online “Lose The Baby Weight” class, which is helpful and also totally sane. I think she might do one-on-one stuff too.

  • Maddy

    I just wanted to say that I’m in a similar situation to you, except for your husband – I’m sorry he is being a jerk and hope he starts treating you more kindly very soon!
    My son is 3.5 months old and I am still about 8 pounds over what I was when I got pregnant, despite exercising more now. I just don’t think that the weight will move until he is on solids or stops breastfeeding, I do identify with wanting your old body back, but I think we need to ease up on ourselves, caring for a baby, breastfeeding and coping with lack of sleep is hard enough – definitely eat healthy so that you get the nutrients you & baby need and exercise if it makes you feel good, but I don’t think you should worry about counting calories or restricting yourself (not that I can always take my own advice – a few weeks ago I was giving myself a really hard time about my eating and body and forced myself to walk for an hour even though I was exhausted, ended up having a meltdown then realised a few days later that my little one had been having a growth spurt and if I’d put two and two together I would have let myself sit on the couch, eat what I wanted and breastfeed). I’ve been trying to not eat chocolate for January and the other day my husband came home with two packets of chocolate biscuits for me ‘to make it easier’ I think he was thinking I was giving up bars only…so they are waiting in the cupboard till Feb. Hope yours sees some sense soon, there is no hunger like breastfeeding hunger!

  • Melanie

    I’m not going to comment or call him a jerk because I don’t know him or anything about your relationship. If my husband said anything like that to me he would have a carrot shoved up his ass while I simultaneously ate whatever the eff I wanted, especially four months postpartum! So that’s my vote.

  • Melanie

    Also, I’m currently 5 months postpartum and I find I actually lost more weight when I just eat what I want when I want it, as long as I’m eating the yummy food I have at home and not hitting the Mcd’s drive-thru. Your body knows what it needs and those needs change day to day.

  • Betsy

    If you’re nursing a 4-month old, you SHOULD be “eating all day long”! I understand that you want to lose weight, but I would suggest putting off dieting until your son is old enough to eat solid food. I mean, sure, you should try to eat healthy food. But you need lots of calories for nursing! If your husband doesn’t understand, maybe bring him to one of your son’s pediatric appointments and mention your dieting efforts to the doc. Doc might give some sound advice about how many calories to consume while nursing and then your husband can hear it from a third party. You have plenty of time to lose weight if you want to. But you’ll only be your son’s sole source of nutrition for a few more months.

  • Beth

    Maybe you should let him read this post and the comments. I think that might be enough public shaming (albeit annonymous) to get him to check himself. You are both on board with wanting to lose weight, so maybe make a different plan, like.. have healthy snacks in the house. You are allowed to eat as much _______ as you want. If you want seconds of your perfectly healthy dinner than he can leave you alone. Or let him count calories but add the extra 500 in there. I’m not saying he doesn’t need counseling, but those are a few ideas to try to get him on the breastfeeding diet level.

  • anon

    The only time a romantic partner ever got that excited about what I was eating, I was definitely being controlled and emotionally abused. It got to where I wasn’t allowed even a whole serving of YOGURT at a time. That man eventually went on to sexually assault me. And I still didn’t leave for another few months. My husband now has been with me through yo-yo dieting in a 130 pound range. He never judges what I eat, and he always supports me in my choices. OP, you deserve a man who thinks you are more than the sum of the calories you take in. I hope you and your husband find some peace through therapy.

  • liz

    Everyone says it takes 9 months to make a baby, but it really takes 21. 9 to grow and 12 to feed. And THEN it will take at least 9 months for (any of) the weight to come off AND you may never be exactly the same shape again. Your hips may be wider (actual bone changes). Your rib cage may be wider (ditto). Your breasts may be bigger or smaller. Your tummy may be in a different place. Your thighs may have changed due to hip change. Your butt may change. Some of these changes can’t be put back through diet and exercise. 

    And your husband needs to step OFF.

  • Jess

    I think everyone here has covered my RAAAAAGE about this whole thing.

    But I thought I’d lend my first hand nursing for two years per baby (two babies) experience:
    I gained 35 lbs with each pregnancy, after 2 months post partum was down to 15 lbs above pre-preg weight both times without really “trying” to lose, but those 15 lbs, whether I tried or not, stuck around until EXACTLY 3 months after weaning, both times.  I dieted and exercised like crazy with the first, didn’t make a dent.  I did nothing but sit on my ass with the second, didn’t make a difference up or down.  3 months post-wean: weight just kinda….went away.  The first time all 15 lbs was gone.  The second only 10 went away because of the aforementioned sitting-on-my-ass and I had to work that last 5 off.

    The hunger during nursing is CRAZY. and REAL.  And not only is it hard to ignore, it really can affect your output and baby’s intake.  You don’t want to mess around there.  The weight you hang onto during nursing is regulated more by hormones (my opnion) than diet/exercise.

  • Cheryl S.

    It sounds to me that you’ve made it abundantly clear how you feel.  The fact that he continues is really troubling.  You need to get counseling whether he does or not.

    I have a similar story.  My DH was VERY invested in me breastfeeding our daughter. Well, I ended up with HORRIBLE PPD.  I needed meds. Badly. So I stopped BFing.  He gave me hell about it for about a week, until I got fed up.  I said “most men don’t care how the baby gets fed, as long as it gets fed!”  He said “Spanish men care!:”  I said “when spanish MEN can grow tits and do it themselves, they get a say. Until then, STFU!”  

    Luckily, my husband was smart enough to keep his opinion to himself from then on!

  • Lauren

    I am seriously beyond horrified reading this and just want to give you a hug! I don’t care if he is your husband, even if you hadn’t just had a baby, he has ZERO right to tell you when, how and what to eat and neither does anyone else.

    If he will not agree to counseling, I strongly recommend it for you because this is a tremendously unhealthy situation for you to be in while dealing with crazy post-pregnancy hormones and the stress of being a new mom. You may not be able to change your husband’s attitude but you can get help and advice regarding how you can handle the situation and also get the emotional support you clearly are not getting from him. 

    Please do not continue to take this berating from him. It will eventually make you depressed and that is not good for you or your little son who needs you. Try to lean on your family and/or friends to help you and support you if you can. Try to remember YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT for yourself and your baby. 

    And tell him to take that juicer and shove it up his a$%.

  • Much shared rage – etc. My husband would have his pillows/bedsheets thrown out in the snow if he tried that crap after I explained to him how much it was hurting me. 

    As you explore all of the options, maybe try to come up with a standard response? As one of the commenters noted, maybe you’re just not speaking his language. Men are generally problem-solvers by nature – you shared a problem, and he might think he’s being useful in helping you fix it. Even when you’ve said clearly to stop it, maybe his brain hears you but his heart says “yeah, but that’s what I’d say if I wanted to lose weight but needed help!” Dumb, but repetition is the key to learning, right? You could take the very straightforward “FU” response when he tries to monitor what you’re eating, or go for something more calm, like “my body needs 500 extra calories every day to keep our baby alive, and my midwife/doctor recommends that I get those calories at numerous small meals throughout the day.” Just say it over and over again. 

    Lastly, as some have said, please, please give yourself a break from trying to lose the weight. I am a very fit, active person, and it annoys me to no end when I have a baby, that so much of my body is saggy and lose and just NOT what I’m used to. It’s the price our body goes through for creating and sustaining life! And it will come back, but seriously, don’t start worrying about it until you hit the one-year mark at the earliest!

  • Bri

    Oooo chile, this reminds me of when my teenage stepson and husband gave me a hard time at the airport for buying a breakfast sandwich, juice and a banana for a 5 hour plane ride. My words were: “YOU TRY BEING PREGNANT AND HUNGRY. UNTIL THEN, BITE ME.” The all caps was because I said it that loud in front of everyone. Needless to say my husband shared half his lunch with me on the plane like a gentleman and gets Oreos from the store whenever I f’in ask for them. Handle your business, girl. I’d have to leave that fool before I cut him to the white meat.

  • Well…Jesus H. Christ, that was a shocking letter! I’m assuming in your wedding vows that there was something that mentioned being supportive? Caring for one another? 

    If there was ever a time for those vows to be upheld on his end, for you to be nurtured and loved unconditionally, for you to feel good about yourself, it is MOST CERTAINLY after you’ve brought another human into the world. A human that is half him, by the way. 

    Ignoring your crying reproaches that his words are hurtful and damaging to you is NOT loving you unconditionally. It’s cruel, and frightfully so. I have no advice other than to second what Amy has said. Please, for your own mental health, take some steps toward counseling. before that juicer accidentally ‘falls’on his thoughtless, thin head. 

  • Caroline

    It’s quite simple. Each time he says something hurtful or annoying, forget ”trying to help him understand” and ”being grateful he wants to do you” and just look him in the eye and say ”fuck off”. Don’t scream, just say it very loudly and quite clearly. Then carry on normally. Do this each and every time. He’ll very quickly get the message. Then get yourself some counselling re why you’d want to remain married to this person. I find the ”FO” response works quite well, but – as with children and animals – you must be totally consistent and not get into a fight. Just say it clearly and look him in the eye. He will be all sorts of ”confused” and ”but honey” which is when you hand him a bullet point list of all the things you’ve tried to explain to him. Repeat as necessary. Keep handing him the list! Keep telling him to FO as needed. It’s boring and annoying, but think of all the practice you’re getting in for when your little guy is 2 and super-wilful!

  • Alyce

    No one gets a say in what, when, or how much you eat except for you.

    Your SO is well within his rights to have an opinion on how you look, but he absolutely does not get to share them with you unless invited to do so.

    Focus less on having had a baby (congratulations!), and focus instead on his troublesome behavior and attitude.

  • Sara

    My first reaction was that the husband must be an a-hole, but then I decided to re-read the letter and assume that he is not an a-hole, and here is what I’ve come up with.

    If you’ve told your husband about your diet and some of your feelings about your post-baby body, he could just be in “fix it” mode.  As in, you’ve told him about a problem you are having and he is trying to help by trying to help you fix it.  Obviously he is being insensitive and what he is doing is not acceptable.

    If I were you, I might try writing him a letter or email explaining how you feel about it.  I would also tell him exactly what you want from him going forward.

    For instance, you could tell him that you want no input from him whatsoever regarding what you eat.  Or that you’d like for him to be someone to listen, but that you are not looking for advice.  I’d try giving him the benefit of the doubt one more time and see if you can work through it.

  • Cait

    I didn’t even read the response because this is how ANGERER your letter made me, I think all I can see is red. 

    Next time he opens his stupid whore mouth, you punch him right in the teeth, then you kick him in his balls, THEN as he is doubled over in pain you knee him in the fucking nose and leave him to bleed out on the kitchen floor. 

    He’s probably trying to misguidedly “help” but fuck that shit directly you have asked and told and screamed at him to stop. I vote physical violence as the next step and if you are at all squeamish I will drive my ass over there and kick his down the street for you. 

  • JenVegas

    I guess Amalah is right but I still vote for hitting him with the juicer.

  • anh

    My daughter is 2.5. I gained a lot of weight while pregnant. I was 6 weeks post partum. I was visiting my parents. I placed my infant daughter in my father’s arms. Instead of admiring his new granddaughter he told I needed to lose weight. and soon.

    I am not over. I had it out with him about 1.5 years later. but I am not over it. and I don’t think I want my daughter anywhere near the vicinity of a man who can express so much cruelty towards his own child. That is not something I want my daughter exposed to.

    I do not think you should stay with this man. Your son is going to grow up and watch your husband and learn that this is how you treat people. God forbid your son is stocky. Please think about it

  • Kate G

    This is a little bit familiar to me – my husband is uber-fit with a freakish metabolism and some massive food issues of his own. Our second kiddo is almost 9 months old and I am still about 10 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight and an additional 10 lbs above my pre-fertility treatment weight.

    We’ve been married 10 years, together 14, and if we had had children earlier in our relationship, I would probably have written this letter. Fortunately, I have had more time to train the idiot out of the man. After many talks around these issues, DH now has a list of things he is allowed to say to me regarding food and exercise and a list of things he is NOT EVER allowed to say. ex: He CAN say: hey, can I cut you up an apple?  He CANNOT say: do you really need that cookie?  He CAN say: You look so sexy after you exercise. He CANNOT say: It’s been four days since you went to the gym!

    He does mean well. He does not want to be abusive. He is just kind of dumb. Specifics work best. Clear CAN/CANNOT agreements work. 

    Good luck. And don’t let him be the boss of you, no matter what anyone’s intentions are.

  • Lisa A

    Get counseling for yourself, I cannot stress this enough. I was in a marriage with an incredibly controlling husband and when I started fighting against his control it got ugly fast. I’m not saying this is what your husband is going to do, but Amalah is right, this is a huge red flag. Couples counseling could help as well. But in the meantime write him a letter, make it clear this is a huge issue for you and that he is doing serious damage and back off. If the letter doesn’t work, next time he starts in on you, quietly pack a bag, grab your wee one and walk out the front door. Go stay with an understanding family member and shake his world up. Lots of love and strength to you OP this isn’t an easy road and I hope your marriage comes out better and stronger!

  • M

    I have some food issues, because as a kid my mom wouldn’t let me eat when I was legit hungry because it wasn’t time for a meal. I mean, I would of eaten an apple or carrot…I used to sneak spoonfuls of condiments because that was easier to hide. I grew up and was obsessed with staying lean so I wouldn’t feel guilty for eating. SO when my husband just remarks innocently, “whoa you put a lot of cheese on that” I want to go full out crazy on him. I also still eat a lot secretly, although my husband would never bat an eye if I came into the room with a chocolate sundae. Please explain to your husband that this will cause permanent damage to your self esteem and only cause you to feel angry towards him and obsessive towards food (as in always thinking should I eat, should I not, should I let someone see me eat…). This is not okay. You are breastfeeding (YAY YOU btw), and you need the calories. Your baby needs them. Your baby needs a healthy, happy, supported mother. You will get in shape again, don’t worry. It takes time. Make your husband give you that. Set a date maybe to talk about it again, and reassess your needs (I need more gym time or I would like it if you could cook more etc). Hugs to you mom. At an emotional time in your life, this is a tough challenge to take on as well.

  • Jessi

    I know I’m late to the party here, but I second getting him to read it.  Print it out, put it on his face while he sleeps.  Quote specific parts to him while you stand in the kitchen and eat.  Blow some of it up and leave it around the house.  

    I referred to it as THE HUNGER.  Because holy crap, was I ever hungry.  Making milk is serious, serious work.  Once I ate an entire bag of pasta with cheese sauce.  An entire bag.  Think about how much that is.  Afterwards I was like ‘meh, yeah, that was pretty good.’  

    My partner also does the ‘here let me fix this thing’ and I have started to say ‘I am not asking for your opinion or advice, I just want you to listen’.  He does not get it.  So I walk away when the advice naturally comes.  John Gottman has a fantastic book called “And Baby Makes 3”.  It’s a great book, and even if he’s not willing to be invested in it, it’s worth a read for you, because yeah, shit just got real.  

  • Heather

    Your husband is being insensitive and may be affected (like we all are) by the endless parade of celebrities prancing around in bikinis two days after giving birth.  That is not reality.  What IS reality is that your sweet baby is depending solely on YOU for his nourishment right now.  The weight will come off eventually, but for now, just focus on taking care of yourself and protecting your baby’s milk supply.  If you really feel you must diet, maybe check out Weight Watchers…there is a specific plan for nursing women that takes those caloric needs into account.  I hope that your husband really is just clueless and not abusive like all the others are saying and that he will get the picture soon.  Just remember–your body CREATED and is SUSTAINING human life.  That is a miracle.  Of course it’s not going to look the same right away, and that is totally natural.  Love your body for the beautiful things it has done and is doing.  There is plenty of time to get in shape.

  • praepes

    Wish there was a way to follow up on this one.

  • Bee

    Ugh. I had a husband like this in my twenties, and it was a shock to me and too embarrassing for me to tell anyone about. Food shaming made me do weird and silly things like baking two cakes – one to keep in the kitchen to show how little I was eating of it, and one to keep in my closet for me to really eat. That was the better solution, after one day polishing off the cake after he counted how many pieces were gone, and quickly making a replacement. I bought extra bags of Halloween candy and made double batches of lasagna so I could have hidden goodies for YEARS. Now we are in our 50’s and thanks to some time and finally talking to friends, healthy eating, and a decent exercise plan I’m within my BMI and feel pretty good while his BMI ranks as obese and he can hardly raise himself off his computer chair all evening and weekend – and he buys sugar cereals and donuts to keep in his desk at work since I don’t buy them. He is proud that he walks a block from work to the gas station every day to get the quart-sized cup of soda. The irony, it is strong. The thing that makes me proudest is that the food shaming ended before my kids were exposed to any of that nonsense, and so they grew up healthy (although three very different shapes) and smart about food – as far as I can tell. So please, for the sake of your child, get a third party involved now so your child can have the freedom to grow up with a healthy relationship with food.

  • kathy

    My comment will take a different approach from that of everyone else, but it has worked for me several times in the past. So, here it goes: IGNORE! I know it sounds difficult and undoable, but it works. My husband was an a**hole when i was pregnant with my second. But i simply looked at him and let him speak, then i continued eating. In my head, he would talk and i would simply tell myself, ‘what does he know?’ what experience does he have?’. Since i had already told him that i was hungry and that i did not like the food shaming, i just let him rant. i know that in his mind, he thought that he was helping me. every time he said something negative, i turned it into a positive thought in my mind. he would tell me to stop eating cheese, and i would tell myself ‘my baby will have the best meal today’. After a while he got so frustrated because he thought that i was not taking care of myself. he is the one who initiated the conversation. this time he was ready to listen. i told him that i was pregnant and hungry. i opened Google and laid it all out for him to read. he has never shamed me since then. try it. sometimes silence is the best response.