If you’re a breastfeeding mother and want to know how many calories to consume in order to lose weight safely, there are a number of things to consider.
Consider your own body type, age, and the fact that breastfeeding can burn up to 670 calories per day.
Just input your age, current weight, height, and exercise levels to see how many calories per day you may consume while breastfeeding to lose weight without jeopardizing your breast milk supply. (Making sure to add 500 extra calories a day for the mother)
Here is your free breastfeeding calorie calculator.
How many calories does breastfeeding burn?
When it comes to breastfeeding, one of the most common questions is: how many calories does it burn? The answer is that it depends on a few factors:
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR): What is your resting metabolic rate? Your resting metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn at rest (this is largely determined by your body weight, height, age, and gender).
- Physical activity level (PAL): The number of calories you burn throughout the day (not just during exercise, but also with common activities like laundry and washing the dishes)
- Breast milk production: The average amount of breast milk produced daily by exclusively breastfeeding moms is 25 ounces (725 ml) per day. Partial nursing mothers, on the other hand, produce considerably less.
- Energy density in breast milk: There are about 19-20 calories per ounce of breast milk.
- The amount of energy it takes your body to produce breast milk: The metabolic processes that it takes to produce breast milk.
That’s the same as a 45-minute run in terms of calories burned! While this may not seem like much on the surface, keep in mind that you’re doing this 45-minute run every day!
That’s a lot of calories being burned consistently for just breastfeeding your baby. In addition to helping you lose weight, breastfeeding has also been shown to have numerous other health benefits for both you and your child.
How many calories do you need to produce breast milk?
It’s important to remember that if you’re breastfeeding, you’re burning extra calories and may need to adjust your diet accordingly.
The average lactating woman produces between 25 and 32 ounces of milk every 24 hours, resulting in a 325 to 500 calorie deficit. This means that if you’re trying to lose weight, you will need to eat more calories than you would if you weren’t breastfeeding.
However, it’s also vital to keep in mind that if you want to lose weight and stay healthy, you’ll need more calories from nutrient-dense meals that include protein, good fats, and veggies. The quality of the meals consumed is more significant than the quantity.
So, if you’re breastfeeding and are working on weight loss, focus on eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods rather than cutting calories. Your body will thank you for it!
How to calculate calories burned
Here is an easy calculation for a breastfeeding mama to estimate how many calories have been burned from pumping or breastfeeding.
For exclusive pumping mothers
For mothers who only pump, this is a simple calculation. You would multiply the number of ounces of milk produced by 20 to arrive at your total daily calorie burned; this is due to the fact that every ounce of breast milk has around 20 calories. For example, if you produce 30 ounces of breast milk each day, the calories burned would be 600.
You’d also need to think about the amount of energy required to create that milk. Efficiency is 80%, therefore: 30×20 = 600 / 0.8 = 750. To make 30 ounces of milk, you’ll need an extra 750 calories each day.
We’ll need to remove the postpartum basal metabolism once we’ve determined this figure. These are average amounts:
- 0 – 4 months = 300 cal
- 4 -6 months = 400 cal
- 6 months and beyond = 500 cal
An exclusively pumping mother with a 3-month-old baby who pumps 32 ounces each day, for example:
32 x 20 / 0.8 = 800 – 300 (the basal metabolism) = 500
As a result, when she calculated how many calories she burned over the course of the day, this mother would add 500 calories to her expended energy.
For exclusive breastfeeding mothers
Before and after each feeding, you’ll need to weigh your baby. To figure out how much breast milk your baby has consumed during each feeding, subtract the before weight from the after-feeding weight.
After the 24 hours, total all the totals to figure out how much breast milk was consumed in that period.
Then use the same calculation that is above.
For example: if your newborn baby drinks a total of 28 ounces daily: 28 x 20 / 0.8 = 700 – 300 = 400 calories.
Using the average
If you don’t want to weigh or pump for your baby to determine how much breast milk is being made, an average amount will work. To calculate your average extra calories required, add the correct quantity below from ounces or milliliters and use it in the above calculation.
The only problem with calculating an average amount is if your baby were experiencing a growth spurt, in which case he or she would drink more milk than usual.
1 – 3 weeks old: 12 ounces – 25 ounces (360 ml – 750 ml)
1 – 6 months old: 25 ounces – 30 ounces (750 ml – 900 ml)
How to lose weight while breastfeeding
Losing weight while breastfeeding can seem like a daunting task, but it is possible to do with the right diet and exercise plan. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of any healthy diet, and they are especially important for nursing mothers.
The plate method for nursing moms is a great way to make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables each day. In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, it is also important to substitute all refined grains with whole grains.
This will help your body burn fat more effectively and maintain your milk supply. Finally, be sure to include 2-3 servings of healthy fats in your diet each week. This will help increase adiponectin levels and further help your body burn fat. With a little planning and effort, you can successfully lose weight while breastfeeding!
Here are 3 of our Favorite breastfeeding products:
LaVie Lactation Massager: This is a great tool to help with engorgement in those first few months of breastfeeding. They can also help work out a clogged duct!
Kindred Bravely Minimalist Plung Pumping & Nursing Bra: This is a great hands-free pumping and nursing bra that will make your life so much easier. It’s comfortable and easy to use!
Breastfeeding is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. Utilizing the breastfeeding calorie calculator is a great way to track the number of calories you are burning to help with weight loss. It’s important to eat healthy foods and exercise while breastfeeding to ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients and losing weight safely and to keep an adequate milk supply. With a little planning and effort, you can successfully lose weight while breastfeeding!