How Many Calories Should I Eat While Breastfeeding?

No doubt you’ve been told somewhere, sometime, not to worry about the weight you gain during pregnancy, as it will magically disappear as you nurse and pump.

Let us be clear—now is not the time for vanity. Don’t expect to fit into the extra skinny jeans at the back of your closet. And don’t be hard on yourself for whatever weight you’ve gained. If we’ve learned anything through the pregnancy experience (many successive pregnancies among us) it’s that the human body is miraculously designed and heavenly elastic.

However, you must be careful to honor your body and not treat it as a gaping hole for every sinful craving you have.

The extra pounds you have gained during pregnancy will be used as energy assuming you aren’t consuming too many extra calories under the validating hood of “nursing stress.”

Most women are advised to consume an extra 500 calories daily while nursing and pumping. However, this number depends on how much body fat you carry personally as well as your level of daily physical activity.

As a savvy pumping mama, you surely realize that this recommendation goes beyond the number 500. Yes, your body needs extra fuel. But this fuel needs to be composed of vital nutrients.

Depending on what you choose to eat, you can fuel your body with healthy snacks throughout the day, or one guilty splurge.

Here’s an example of what we mean.

There are:

105 calories in 1 medium banana
103 calories in 1 medium pear
95 calories in 1 medium apple
84 calories in 1 cup of blueberries
78 calories in 1 boiled egg
125 calories in 1 cup of egg whites
158 calories in 1 cup of oatmeal
100 calories in 1 cup of Greek nonfat yogurt
231 calories in 1 cup of boiled chicken breast (chopped or diced)
189 calories in 1 cup of uncooked edamame
412 calories in ½ lb filet of salmon

And then there are:

500 calories in one Belgian Waffle with a drizzle of maple syrup
550 calories in a medium sized bagel with one 3 oz. packet of plain cream cheese
550 calories in a Big Mac
500 calories in 4 slices of bacon
500 calories in 4.5 oz of cheese
500 calories in 2 Snickers bars.

So be savvy when choosing the source of your extra calories. Intersperse additional snacks throughout your day: a cup of yogurt with blueberries; an edamame snack; an apple here and a banana there (plus a few peanut M&Ms).

And keep in mind that every woman’s body is different and therefore her needs are also different. While nursing and pumping does require additional nutrient-rich fuel, milk synthesis does not actually require a lot of energy. Recent research shows that during lactation, a mother’s metabolism becomes more efficient with calories as well as minerals so she doesn’t deplete herself of the essentials.

Above all, remember to honor your body and health. This is truly the best thing you can do for you precious little one as you fill him with love and give her your milk.

The post How Many Extra Calories Do I Need to Consume When Pumping and Nursing? appeared first on Breast Pump Blog | Breastfeeding Blog.