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Losing postpartum weight is the wish of every new mother. Breastfeeding contributes toward weight loss but the amount varies for every woman.
Today you will learn why some women lose more weight than others (Hint: different bio-patterns).
Calories burned during breastfeeding include the total no.of calories present in your milk plus the energy utilized by your body to produce that milk. On average, an active breastfeeding mother needs more than 1500-1800 calories per day. These extra calories are sourced from the diet and their body fat. Let’s learn about it in detail.
Calories Burned = Calories In Breast Milk + Calories Required To Produce Milk.
How to calculate the number of calories in your breast milk
Every ounce of breast milk contains 20 calories or you can say there are around 6.8 calories in 10mls of breast milk as (1 US Fluid Ounce = 0.03L)
So if you can regulate the amount of milk you feed or pump, you will be able to calculate the no. of calories present in your breastmilk. It can be easier for mothers who exclusively use wearable breast pumps than nursing mothers.
If you produce 30 ounces of milk in a day,
Then, 30 x 20 = 600 calories
Therefore, you cannot miss out on the intake of these 600 calories.
You will be tired and weak because you need more calories to recover from postpartum and you need a good diet for sufficient milk production.
Calories required to produce breast milk
Out of 600 calories present in breast milk, 20% of these calories will be used in milk production itself.
20% of 600 is 120 calories which accounts for 0.8% of the total calories in breast milk.
Therefore 0.8 becomes the efficacy formula to calculate the energy utilized in milk production.
The whole equation now goes as;
Calories burnt in breastfeeding(600) = calories present in milk (480) + calories required to produce milk(120)
However, calories burnt during breastfeeding depend upon a lot of other factors such as duration and frequency of feed sessions, or if you are feeding twins or recovering from a traumatic delivery.
How Breastfeeding Helps In Weight Loss
Studies have shown that exclusively breastfeeding moms were more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight than the mothers who used formula milk along with breast milk.
Breastfeeding moms lose approximately 500 calories daily which equals the number of calories one loses in doing an exercise session of 1 hour.
Breastfeeding mothers should be diet conscious because healthy intake will affect the nutrient composition of their breast milk. Mothers should consider foods that increase their milk supply rather than foods satisfying their taste buds.
Reducing junk, alcohol, and processed food will automatically reduce your extra pounds.
Breastfeeding Calorie Burn Calculation Formula
The method to calculate the individual’s calorie needs is Mifflin-St.Jeor Equation. You can also use it to calculate the calorie requirement of a lactating mother.
Simply put in your age, current weight, height, and exercise levels and it’ll calculate how many calories per day you can consume to safely and gradually lose weight while breastfeeding. (while factoring in an additional 500 calories per day)
Firstly, you need to calculate your BMR.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – Your body needs energy for the body’s physiological processes such as digestion, breathing, cell repair, and so on. The calculation of this utilized energy is called BMR.
BMR is different for everyone, as it depends upon your body weight, height, and age.
Formula to calculate BMR
BMR= 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height(cm) – 5 x age(yrs) – 161
After knowing your BMR, you need to add an extra –
- 500 calories for women only do breastfeeding and pumping milk
- 400 calories for moderately breastfeeding women
- 250 calories if you are partially breastfeeding with pumping women
- 0 calories if the woman does not breastfeed
If you are 30 yrs old, with a height of 160 cm and 70 kg weight, moderately breastfeeding your baby with 2 substitutions of formula milk feedings.
BMR = 10 x 70 + 6.25 x 160 – 5 x 30 – 161 = 1389
As for a moderately breastfeeding woman, we need to add 400 more calories,
1389 + 400 = 1789 calories
The minimum daily calories to maintain milk supply are 1789 calories or,
You will burn 1789 calories per day if you feed your baby 8-10 times a day.
It is always advisable to add a buffer of 500 calories to accommodate your calorie consumption according to your active, less active, or normal lifestyle.
Therefore,1389 + 500 = 1889 calories are to be consumed daily, to avoid any energy failures.
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