How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn & Does It Help You Lose Weight?

How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn & Does It Help You Lose Weight?

breastfeeding mum

So you’ve probably heard how breastfeeding would help new mothers lose all that baby fat, but is it true? First things first, let’s make one thing really clear: Every body is different.

 

When you breast-feed, you use fat cells stored in your body during pregnancy — along with calories from your diet — to fuel your milk production and feed your baby. So the answer is YES. However, it often takes six to nine months to lose weight gained during pregnancy.

 

Postpartum bodies (like all bodies) come in various shapes and sizes, and there’s no right or wrong way to look. Women should really think about body positivity after birth instead of the number on the scale.

 

 

How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn?

weighing machine

 

There isn’t a definite number of how many calories you can burn while nursing since it depends on individual bodies and the amount you breastfeed. Experts suggest that exclusive breastfeeding typically burns about 500-700 calories per day, and less if partially breastfeeding.

 

Experts suggest that exclusive breastfeeding typically burns about 500-700 calories per day.

 

Does That Mean Breastfeeding Mummies Need To Eat More?

mum eating

 

While newborn mummies are recovering after birth, it’s incredibly important to keep our bodies nourished. Breastfeeding is a lot of work and the body requires additional calories to support this.  As a generic guide, caloric intake should be at least 1500-1800 calories per day—perhaps more for active mummies.

 

Most breastfeeding mummies will tell you that your appetite does tend to increase if you’re nursing. Let that be your guide. What’s important is consuming nutritious foods instead of empty calories and drinking lots of water.

 

 

Does Breastfeeding Help You Lose Weight?

breastfeeding mum

 

Experts recommend not putting too much thought into this since breastfeeding shouldn’t be seen as a weight loss mechanism. Breastfeeding may help to get you to your pre-pregnancy weight slightly quicker—but again, it depends on your lifestyle.

 

Breastfeeding may help to get you to your pre-pregnancy weight slightly quicker.

 

 

The Bottom Line

Breastfeeding burns calories, but also requires additional calories. What we’re unsure of is how exactly each body will respond to this. You may lose weight while breastfeeding or you may not. 

 

Fruit basket

 

Instead, focus on making healthy choices. Opt for a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables and stay hydrated. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats such as soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and fatty meats. Moderate physical activity can help, too.

 

If, after six months of breastfeeding, you want to lose more weight, you can more carefully restrict your calories as your baby begins to eat more solid foods while continuing breastfeeding.

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