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Breastfeeding Calorie Calculator

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Breastfeeding calorie calculator helps mothers to find the number of calories they need during the lactation period. Using this tool helps them maintain a healthy and balanced diet based on factors such as age, weight, and activity level. This supports their well-being and meets the nutritional needs of their baby during breastfeeding.

How many calories are in breast milk?

The amount of calories in breast milk slightly varies from one mother to another, but on average each ounce of breast milk contains around 20-22 calories. So, a typical feeding of 4-6 ounces would provide your baby with roughly 80-132 calories.

How many calories should a breastfeeding mom intake?

Generally, breastfeeding mothers need more calories than women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. For breastfeeding moms who were well-nourished before pregnancy, it's generally recommended to consume an extra 300 to 1000 kilocalories (kcal) per day. 

This is in comparison to their pre-pregnancy calorie intake, which was approximately 2,000 to 2,800 kcal per day. To give you an idea, non-pregnant women typically eat around 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day.

How do I calculate how many calories I should eat while breastfeeding?

Feeling hungry while breastfeeding? It's natural! Your body is putting in extra effort to nourish your little one, so it's essential to get some additional calories to fulfill those needs. 

You can calculate the right amount of calories by using either of these two methods, such as:

1. Manual Estimation:

Calculating your specific calorie needs can help you eat the right amount for both you and your baby. Here are some simple steps that you can follow to know your daily calorie intake:

Step 1: Find your base calorie number

Recall your estimated or tracked calorie intake before getting pregnant. You can estimate it using formulas like the Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation, which considers your age, weight, height, and activity level. 

For example,

A 30-year-old woman who weighs 65 kg and is moderately active might have a base calorie need of around 1600 kcal/day.

Step 2: Add the extra calories

Because you are fueling two hearts now, add some extra calories depending on your baby's age:

  • First 6 months: Add 330 kcal/day. Think of it like needing an extra smoothie or a handful of nuts each day.
  • 6-12 months: Add 400 kcal/day. Like upgrading your snack to a larger yogurt with fruit or whole-wheat toast with avocado.

Step 3: Listen to your body

Even with this estimate, your individual needs might differ. Pay attention to your hunger signals. If you are feeling constantly starved, eat more! Conversely, if you are comfortably full, don't force yourself to eat more.

2. Using a breastfeeding calorie calculator:

Estimating calorie intake during your lactation period becomes easier with our easy-to-use calculator. It involves a few clicks to show you the number of calories, such as:

Enter the values: First, enter your age, weight, breastfeeding routine, and some other values accordingly

Start calculation: Then, press the calculate button  

Results: The breastfeeding calorie calculator accurately determines your daily calorie needs for weight maintenance, weight loss, and sustaining a healthy milk supply.

How many calories are burned while breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding typically burns around 500 extra calories per day. This estimation varies based on factors such as:

  • Mother's age
  • Mother’s weight
  • Baby's age, and 
  • Feeding frequency

Additionally, breastfeeding can help you manage or lose your postpartum weight. This does not mean that breastfeeding is however a miracle for weight loss, it just kick-starts the process. 

Does pumping burn the same calories as breastfeeding?

Calories are burned when your body produces breast milk, not when it’s released from the body.

Breastfeeding:

When you breastfeed directly, the muscles around your breasts and chest actively work to produce and deliver milk to your body. This physical engagement of muscles leads to burning calories.

Pumping:

While pumping, most of the calories are burned during the initial milk production, not when you are ejecting it. If you produce the same amount of milk through pumping as you would through breastfeeding, the overall caloric burn tends to be quite similar.

Key point:

This means that if you produce the same quantity of milk through pumping as you would through breastfeeding, the total number of calories burned tends to be similar. The act of pumping itself doesn't change the number of calories you burn much compared to when you breastfeed naturally.

How does breast milk benefit infants?

Breast milk is a powerhouse of nutrition and immune support, it provides numerous benefits for your infants, which include:

  • Nutrient-rich: Contains an ideal blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that is crucial for a baby’s growth.
  • Antibodies:  Supplies antibodies and immune cells that strengthen the baby's immune system and protect against infections.
  • Digestibility: Easily digestible, reducing the chances of digestive issues and making your baby feel comfortable.
  • Gut Health: Fosters the growth of beneficial bacteria in the baby's gut that helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
  • Emotional Bonding: Strengthens the emotional bond between mother and baby through close physical contact during breastfeeding.
  • Reduced Allergies: Associated with a lower risk of allergies and intolerances compared to formula feeding.
  • Brain Development: Contains essential fatty acids crucial for the development of the baby's brain and nervous system.

These factors collectively contribute to the overall well-being and health of the infant.