How Many Calories does Breastfeeding Burn?

How Many Calories does Breastfeeding Burn?

Breastfeeding has many incredible benefits and one of them is weight loss.  While helping you lose weight shouldn’t be the reason you choose to give your baby the best nutritional start in life, it certainly is a bonus for mamas who are hoping to drop those pregnancy pounds and return to their pre-baby weight. Today we’re exploring the questions “how many calories does breastfeeding burn” and “how many calories should I eat while breastfeeding.”

How Many Calories does Breastfeeding Burn?

The short answer that most experts agree upon is that breastfeeding burns between 300 and 500 calories a day, although some say it can be up to 700 calories per day.  The exact amount you’re burning will depend on how much breast milk your baby is taking, which is probably dependent on his size and age.  Also, if you are pumping in between feedings, you will burn even more calories.

how many calories does breastfeeding burnBreastfeeding is hard work for your baby and you!  Your body spends up to 25% of its energy making that amazing breast milk.  You are churning out more nutrients than ever before to help your baby grow and develop and to give your baby immune boosting goodness.  Your baby requires a lot of breast milk so your body is constantly working to keep up with your baby’s needs.  Some newborns may feed up to 12 times a day.  That’s truly a labor of love for moms!

Additionally, you are giving your baby some of the calories you may have otherwise stored.  Your baby needs the calories for energy (although you probably do too!) and takes them “off your plate,” so to speak, to sustain his growth.  So if you eat your regular diet, you’ll be netting less stored calories.

How Many Calories Should I Eat While Breastfeeding?

The amount of calories you will need while breastfeeding also depends on how often and how much you are feeding your baby.  Most doctors recommend consuming around 300 to 500 more calories than your usual diet in order to keep up with breastfeeding demands.

However, you may need to eat differently than you normally do.  First of all, since you are giving away some of your energy, you’ll want to eat to optimize energy.  That means you’ll want lots of nutrient-dense foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins.  You also need healthy fats to maintain your breast milk.  These include nuts, natural oils and fish.

Since you are nursing your baby multiple times a day, you may need to adjust your meal schedule as well to keep yourself satiated.  Try eating lighter 300-400 calorie meals or snacks five times a day rather than just three larger meals a day.  You may find you are hungrier after feedings too.

Be sure to drink plenty of water but you don’t have to overdo it.  Drinking to satiate your thirst is a good rule of thumb.  That will probably amount to 9 to 12 servings of water a day, which should be plenty to make that superb breast milk.

Who would have thought that the best post-pregnancy workout could be nourishing your baby?  Enjoy every loving moment!