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TOPIC: How many calories does breastfeeding burn?

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December 31, 2011 3:33 AM
Hi All,

I am now 36 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby and planning to use the MyFitnessPal app to lose the baby weight after the birth. I was wondering, how many calories does breastfeeding burn? I just want to know how many to record.

Thanks!
  427152
December 31, 2011 6:36 AM
By recording calories burnt for every day activities you will eat too much and not lose weight.
December 31, 2011 6:39 AM
About 500/day while your baby is exclusively breastfed (no formula, no solids). Don't skimp on the calories--your baby needs fatty milk to build brain cells. Breastmilk is about 50% fat. Get in lots of fruits & veggies, lots of water. Don't excercise until you feel recovered from childbirth, and go SLOWLY. If you feel like you can't get out of bed the next day, you over did it. I started small with just the babe in a carrier going for a walk down to the store three blocks from my house, then gradually went further and further, but mostly tried to get out for a walk every day (except when it was blinding snow out) to help prevent post-partum depression, get the fresh air and vitamin D, and to get moving. Good luck!
  9792036
December 31, 2011 6:41 AM
Well I own up to being ignorant on the subject.
Fascinating.
A
December 31, 2011 6:42 AM
QUOTE:

By recording calories burnt for every day activities you will eat too much and not lose weight.


Ignore this.

Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories per day. You can set up MFP with your normal activity level, and then add breastfeeding into your food diary to get your extra cals.

I would recommend waiting at least a few weeks to get started though. Let your body get used to this new routine -- giving birth is hard on a body, and you will probably need more food than you think in the first days just because your body is healing. Talk to your doctor to get confirmation on this, but I personally would wait 4 to 6 weeks before worrying about losing the weight. You certainly can't exercise in that time, so focus on eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water without worrying so much about the cals.
December 31, 2011 6:47 AM
I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT.................
We are basically chemical machines so it would have to be all you calories your baby needs plus losses due to inefficency.
December 31, 2011 6:48 AM
Why not think of your breastfeeding calories as an extra bonus - I would be a bit weary about logging too strictly to lose weight when you are breastfeeding!
  8221325
December 31, 2011 6:49 AM
QUOTE:

By recording calories burnt for every day activities you will eat too much and not lose weight.


Uh- no offense to the quoted respondant but breastfeeding is a special case.

I think for some women it is like 500 extra per day. Perhaps one of the other posters has a better estimate. If you undereat too much, you may have milk production problems - so you need to log it if you are calorie counting.
If you can do it, breast feeding is a really good way to lose the baby weight.
  11677176
December 31, 2011 6:51 AM
QUOTE:

Well I own up to being ignorant on the subject.
Fascinating.
A


Same here...I thought this was a joke....learn something new everyday!
December 31, 2011 6:51 AM
QUOTE:

Why not think of your breastfeeding calories as an extra bonus - I would be a bit weary about logging too strictly to lose weight when you are breastfeeding!


I wish people would stop saying this in breastfeeding threads. Not eating enough can drastically damage milk supply, as well as causing the mother to get inadequate nutrition. A nursing mother's nutrients go to her milk FIRST, and her own body second. If she doesn't eat enough, she will not be able to be healthy.

Say it on the cleaning threads. Don't say it here. If someone listens to you, they could seriously damage their health or the health of their baby.
Edited by ajbeans On December 31, 2011 6:52 AM
December 31, 2011 6:51 AM
That has nothing to do with breastfeeding. If you don't add back at least those calories, your body will not be able to provide for both you and your baby.

(No offense to the poster- just did that once, (nursed three little ones so far) and my body basically fell apart, stopped producing, etc).

I have always heard to eat back around 500 calories for nursing. I always have eaten a little more, but I was kind of a milk machine (with my last i had to pump exclusively) to due a cleft lip and palate- and I had enough for my little one, and to donate enough for almost 2 babies :o)
December 31, 2011 6:54 AM
I'm breastfeeding, and I used to add in just the extra 500 calories a day. However, for me personally, I find that 1800 calories is the magic number for me personally to lose weight while breastfeeding. Somedays I am still hungry after my 1800 calories, and I just eat a little snack before bed.
December 31, 2011 6:55 AM
.
Edited by MissFit0101 On December 31, 2011 7:11 AM
December 31, 2011 6:56 AM
I an breastfeeding, and while you exclusively nurse you "burn" about 500 a day from all the info I've read. Around the first year mark, a babies growth slows a lot, so they drop to about 300. They would also be eating other things, obviously. When I was exclusively nursing, I ate like a horse, got no exercise, and still lost a little weight!
My son is still nursing at 13 months, and I record it in my food diary as 300 calories daily. That's probably over estimating it, but I tried NOT logging it, and I was exhausted constantly from not getting enough calories.

Give yourself a little time after you have the baby to adjust to everything before you start cutting calories or working out. And make sure you eat nutritious foods and drink LOTS OF FLUIDS! GOOD LUCK AND CONGRATS!
December 31, 2011 6:57 AM
Agree with the other posters! I am definitely on the bandwagon that it doesn't behoove me to record everyday activities, but when BFing or pregnant, that's a different story. You need to make sure your baby gets enough / the right nutrients. IMO, it's not actually the time to "diet," but it's always the right time to keep an eye on eating healthy things, plenty of healthy fats, etc.

Anyway, you can enter "Breastfeeding" into your food log. :) Like Magic! Pick the appropriate choice for you, just like when you log that you ate a sandwich. It'll negate a rougly appropriate number of calories. I would urge you NOT to go real low. Seriously. Baby is priority, losing weight is secondary, at best. I'm sure you know that and agree, just a little reminder! :)





eta: I think the PP admitted that she wasn't an authority on BFing. We can probably all lay off her a little bit by now.
Edited by SarabellPlus3 On December 31, 2011 6:58 AM
December 31, 2011 7:01 AM
Just a few links, in case you want to read them :)

http://www.llli.org/faq/diet.html (the lll is a fabulous organization- look through the site- lots of great info!)

It is safer for you to wait at least two months postpartum to purposely lose weight, as your body needs this time to recover from childbirth and establish a good milk supply. Many mothers lose weight in the early months by following a normal diet and eating to hunger. If you have stopped losing weight or are gaining weight after the first two months, check with your doctor about increasing your activity level and reducing your intake by about 100 calories per day. A daily brisk half-hour walk with your children in a stroller or sling will help you lose weight plus get you outside for fresh air.

Gradual weight loss of about one pound per week, while consuming about 1500 to 1800 calories per day, will help you to feel good and have the energy you need to care for your baby. The composition of your milk really does not vary much with your diet. (Mothers in famine conditions can produce milk that is nutritionally perfect for their babies.) However, your health may suffer if too many of your own reserves are used to provide milk. It takes a lot of energy to care for your baby so be sure to take care of yourself by "eating to hunger" and "drinking to thirst."

Anyone who wants to start a weight loss program should consult with their physician to rule out any health problems that would contraindicate the diet or exercise.



http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1277/mainpageS1277P1.html

Eat many different foods to get the calories, vitamins and minerals you need to remain healthy. A minimal caloric intake of at least 2,000 calories per day, with an optimal intake of 500 calories above a non-pregnant caloric intake of 1,800 to 2,200 calories is recommended. (This is the equivalent of a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk.) Foods from the following food categories offer the most nutritional value:

meats
beans
vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables)
fruits or 100 percent fruit juice (not fruit drinks)
breads, cereals and grains
milk, cheese and eggs


http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/nutrition-exercise-and-weight-loss

A good rule of thumb is to take in 200-500 calories in excess of what you needed to maintain your weight before you were pregnant while you are nursing. Breastfeeding doesn’t make you gain weight – in fact, you use up calories when you nurse, and you may actually shed those extra pounds more quickly while you are nursing. Your body stores up fat during your pregnancy to provide the extra calories needed for milk production. It is easier to lose lower body fat (hips, buns, and thighs) when you are breastfeeding compared to the mom who is formula feeding. (YAY!). Remember to factor in the weight of your breasts when setting your weight loss goals. The ‘average’ mom (remember, the one who doesn’t exist in real life?) – will carry around about 3 extra pounds of breast tissue while she’s lactating. Some more, some less, but don’t expect to lose that weight until after your baby stops nursing.
December 31, 2011 7:08 AM
I am in no way an expert, but this is what I have decided. I have had 3 pregnancies and three very different breastfeeding experiences. I have had many friends have different experiences. What I have learned is, you don't know until you get there.

With some of the breastfeeding I was so hungry, more so than when I was actually pregnant! Some people lose the weight quickly and easily, some can't lose a drop and some can lose up until the last 10-15lbs. Its important at first to make sure you are eating enough and getting healthy foods/fats in but not gorging just because. At first you may be burning 500 calories per day. It all depends on your body and how much baby is actually eating.

Breastfeeding came easily to me. For some it can be a struggle at first and hard to get enough milk produced. That is your first concern. Check out the La Leche League website, they have a list of foods to eat to help milk production like oatmeal. Google lactation cookies which are cookies made with oatmeal and brewers yeast to help with production. Once you get your supply established, which can take 6-8 weeks, then you can play with calories. Start with 400 extra and see how you feel and how your supply is doing.

And yes, as someone said before, start slow with exercise. You can lose without it so even just walks or light weights/activity to start. You might end up with a baby who likes to be walked around A LOT so that might be all the exercise you need at first!!

Its good to have a flexible plan but know there will probably be trial and error and don't be hard on yourself! Enjoy your baby!!
January 1, 2012 1:04 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Why not think of your breastfeeding calories as an extra bonus - I would be a bit weary about logging too strictly to lose weight when you are breastfeeding!


I wish people would stop saying this in breastfeeding threads. Not eating enough can drastically damage milk supply, as well as causing the mother to get inadequate nutrition. A nursing mother's nutrients go to her milk FIRST, and her own body second. If she doesn't eat enough, she will not be able to be healthy.

Say it on the cleaning threads. Don't say it here. If someone listens to you, they could seriously damage their health or the health of their baby.


I'm not sure what half assed advice you thought I was giving - I wouldn't log calories with an aim to losing weight when I was breastfeeding. I don't think it is the time to create a calorie deficit, you should eat all your calories and some to make sure that both are getting adequate nutrition and think of the calories as a bonus the same way as a non-nursing person would view excercise. I can understand a desire to continue to log but one would assume that a nursing mother would follow medical advice on healthy eating to ensure the best possible start for a newborn - which includes a healthy mother!

Guess I should have considered that there may be some people who think it is o.k to stick to 800 calorie a day diet when pregnant or breastfeeding so they don't put on weight. I'm definately not one of them!
  8221325
January 1, 2012 3:19 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Why not think of your breastfeeding calories as an extra bonus - I would be a bit weary about logging too strictly to lose weight when you are breastfeeding!


I wish people would stop saying this in breastfeeding threads. Not eating enough can drastically damage milk supply, as well as causing the mother to get inadequate nutrition. A nursing mother's nutrients go to her milk FIRST, and her own body second. If she doesn't eat enough, she will not be able to be healthy.

Say it on the cleaning threads. Don't say it here. If someone listens to you, they could seriously damage their health or the health of their baby.


I'm not sure what half assed advice you thought I was giving - I wouldn't log calories with an aim to losing weight when I was breastfeeding. I don't think it is the time to create a calorie deficit, you should eat all your calories and some to make sure that both are getting adequate nutrition and think of the calories as a bonus the same way as a non-nursing person would view excercise. I can understand a desire to continue to log but one would assume that a nursing mother would follow medical advice on healthy eating to ensure the best possible start for a newborn - which includes a healthy mother!

Guess I should have considered that there may be some people who think it is o.k to stick to 800 calorie a day diet when pregnant or breastfeeding so they don't put on weight. I'm definately not one of them!


My apologies. I thought you were jumping on the "don't log breastfeeding calories, just stick to your 1200" bandwagon. I'm surprised that there was only one person on this thread saying that, since you apparently weren't, but too often there are a whole herd of people telling the nursing mother not to log or eat the calories earned from breastfeeding. And it's dangerous. So again, I'm sorry for misunderstanding what you meant. I just get so worried when people start telling a woman those things, because like I said, if she listens, it could be really harmful.
January 1, 2012 3:27 PM
No worries, should have went into bit more detail on a site that contains unsafe 'lifestyle' practices!
  8221325
January 1, 2012 3:38 PM
My understanding is that it burns 300-500 cals extra a day. Everyone is different. My best friend lost weight rapidly while breastfeeding, whereas my body just seemed to hang on to every calorie when I was breastfeeding. I ate very healthy and was keeping track of my calorie intake, but just never lost an ounce. This is one time in your life when you kind of have to let that go and just focus on making sure you are giving enough to your baby.
January 1, 2012 3:47 PM
I HIGHLY recommend breast feeding! With my first child, I lost all my pregnancy weight in 1 month, then when I stopped breast feeding at 17 months, I lost more weight after that! All my friends who breast fed have lost their weight rapidly, plus when you breastfeed, your body releases some chemicals which cause your uterus to contract back to a "new normal" size. Not completely back to the way it used to be, but it does it quicker when you breast feed. At least that's what I read years ago.

I'm not sure if this helped any but I cut out cheese and milk. I still ate yogurt, eggs & cottage cheese though, I just didn't eat any junk, & ate whenever I wanted. I didn't count my calories so I'm not sure how much, but in comparison, I did eat more while I was breast feeding than I do now.

The 2nd pregnancy took a little longer to lose the weight because I gained more, but I lost even more well after I stopped breast feeding.
  13824969
January 1, 2012 3:57 PM
QUOTE:

Hi All,

I am now 36 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby and planning to use the MyFitnessPal app to lose the baby weight after the birth. I was wondering, how many calories does breastfeeding burn? I just want to know how many to record.

Thanks!
About 600 an hour, but you need to breast feed while on the treadmill...lol

In other words...NOT MUCH!

You don't count it except as it relates to your activity settings.

Although it is generally held that it burns about 500 calories a day on the average, it really depends on how much your baby eats, and how hard your body has to work to produce milk. And 500 calories is a lot! It's hard to burn that much with excersize, and all you have to do is sit and feed your baby to burn it.
Edited by MaximalLife On January 1, 2012 3:59 PM
January 1, 2012 3:58 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Hi All,

I am now 36 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby and planning to use the MyFitnessPal app to lose the baby weight after the birth. I was wondering, how many calories does breastfeeding burn? I just want to know how many to record.

Thanks!
About 600 an hour, but you need to breast feed while on the treadmill...lol

In other words...NOT MUCH!

You don't count it except as it relates to your activity settings.

Although it is generally held that it burns about 500 calories a day on the average, it really depends on how much your baby eats, and how hard your body has to work to produce milk. And 500 calories is a lot! It's hard to burn that much with excersize, and all you have to do is sit and feed your baby to burn it.


Seriously, research this before you tell a nursing mother that. You are wrong. You do need to count them and eat those calories to prevent a dip in supply and/or malnutrition for the mother.
Edited by ajbeans On January 1, 2012 3:59 PM
January 1, 2012 3:59 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Hi All,

I am now 36 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby and planning to use the MyFitnessPal app to lose the baby weight after the birth. I was wondering, how many calories does breastfeeding burn? I just want to know how many to record.

Thanks!
About 600 an hour, but you need to breast feed while on the treadmill...lol

In other words...NOT MUCH!

You don't count it except as it relates to your activity settings.

Although it is generally held that it burns about 500 calories a day on the average, it really depends on how much your baby eats, and how hard your body has to work to produce milk. And 500 calories is a lot! It's hard to burn that much with excersize, and all you have to do is sit and feed your baby to burn it.


Seriously, research this before you tell a nursing mother that. You are wrong.
Then correct me.

How much per day?

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