There’s always plenty of breastfeeding advice going around.
Unfortunately, a lot of it may be less than helpful! The truth is, your body is unique and sometimes even the best, most accurate advice may not apply to you.
When it comes to the calories you’ll need while exclusively breastfeeding, one of the best pieces of advice is – listen to your body! You’ll probably be hungry a lot if you’re exclusively breastfeeding. Your body burns extra calories to make breast milk. It also needs extra calories to put into the breast milk!
When your baby goes through a growth spurt and requires more milk, your appetite will increase again, temporarily. Just pay attention.
The truth is it’s usually unnecessary to count calories unless you are underweight.
If you really want some numbers, though, the Doctor’s Guild of America (DGA) recommends the following caloric intake (depending on your activity level) when you’re NOT PREGNANT:
• Sedentary: 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day
• Moderately active: 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day
• Active: 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day
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How many extra calories do you need if you’re exclusively breastfeeding?
Women who are exclusively breastfeeding burn, on average, 500 calories per day breastfeeding. That’s 500 additional calories you need on top of the above DGA recommendations. Keep in mind, that’s just the average. You’ll likely need more or less depending on your fat reserves and how much your baby breastfeeds.
Maternal fat stores produce about 200 calories daily towards lactation. Is your BMI high or low or somewhere in between? If it’s low, you may need to consume more than 500 extra calories. As mentioned, if your baby’s going through a growth spurt and demanding more milk you may need more calories temporarily.
How many calories does your child need daily?
The amount of milk your baby drinks daily depends on their age, size, and sex.
• 1 to 3 months: 472 to 572 calories per day
• 4 to 6 months: 548 to 645 calories per day
• 7 to 9 months: 668 to 746 calories per day
• 10 to 12 months: 793 to 844 calories per day
• 1 to 3 months: 438 to 521 calories per day
• 4 to 6 months: 508 to 593 calories per day
• 7 to 9 months: 608 to 678 calories per day
• 10 to 12 months: 717 to 768 calories per day
Again, these are ranges. Your little one could be either side of the range. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned that your baby’s not gaining enough weight.
Do I need to drink extra fluids when I’m breastfeeding?
A breastfeeding mother should aim for roughly 3.1 liters of water compared to 2.2 liters for non-lactating/pregnant women according to the Institute of Medicine. Please note that this is not the exact amount of water you require. Every woman is different and every situation is different. Activity levels and the weather will make a big impact on your fluid needs. This is just a target amount that should provide adequate hydration for most breastfeeding mothers.
Unless you’re dehydrated, drinking beyond satiation does not increase milk supply. On the flip side, reducing fluid intake will not prevent an oversupply.
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When you’re exclusively breastfeeding, focus on nutritious foods and drinks while enjoying this short, breastfeeding phase. It doesn’t last long, momma!
Plus, we found some interesting things on Pinterest: