The number of calories required by a nursing mother is determined by her own physiology, her pre-pregnancy weight, how much weight she gained during pregnancy, her level of exercise, and whether her infant is exclusively breastfeeding or not.
This guide will give you some general information to help you answer the question, “How many calories do I need while nursing?”
Considerations for Breastfeeding Calories in General
So, how many calories do you require while breastfeeding? Most breastfeeding women require approximately 500 more calories per day than non-breastfeeding women. For women who want to maintain their weight, the average breastfeeding calorie intake per day is between 2,000 and 2,500.
It is critical for a new mother to pay attention to her body while breastfeeding. Concentrate on hunger cues rather than a specific number of calories.
Eat whenever you are hungry and strive to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Because your body is so efficient at producing milk, eating when you’re hungry is fine, as your body may have stored fat for later use during your pregnancy. Breastfeeding can actually aid in the utilization of these extra stores.
Because a woman’s body changes rapidly in the months following childbirth, and because breastfeeding patterns change as your baby grows, the exact amount of breastfeeding calories required may change over the course of your experience.
Breastfeeding mothers have a larger appetite than non-breastfeeding mothers. If you don’t feel like eating, it could be a sign that your body isn’t functioning properly.
This could simply mean that you need to seek additional emotional support. Women suffering from postpartum depression may experience appetite loss, and if you are having difficulty eating, you should consult your doctor.
As a breastfeeding mother, you must exercise caution when it comes to calorie restriction. If you reduce your calorie intake by more than 25%, your milk supply may be disrupted.
If you want to reduce your caloric intake, you should do so gradually over time. If you eat too few calories while breastfeeding, you may become malnourished and your milk supply may suffer.
What Foods Should You Include in Your Breastfeeding Diet?
If you eat well during your pregnancy, you will need to consume extra calories during breastfeeding to maintain the proper balance of good and bad for you foods. Every day, try to include the following food sources:
— 3 servings of protein
— 5 servings of calcium
— 1 or more servings of iron-rich foods
— 2 servings of vitamin C
— 3 to 4 servings of green leafy vegetables and yellow vegetables
— 3 to 4 servings of yellow fruits
— 1 or more servings of other fruits and vegetables
— 3 or more servings of whole grains and other complex carbohydrates
— Foods high in fat – in small amounts, less than you consumed during pregnancy
Make an effort to drink at least eight cups of water, juice, or other caffeine-free and alcohol-free beverages per day.
DHA-rich foods help your baby’s brain develop. Wild salmon, sardines, and DHA-enriched eggs are all good sources.
You should also keep taking your prenatal vitamin on a daily basis.
If you are concerned about your weight, you can begin reducing your calorie intake to around 1,800 calories per day once your baby reaches the age of 2 months. If you restrict your calorie intake prior to this, your milk production may suffer.
As is true for breastfeeding mothers, you may lose weight while eating a regular diet. Losing more than 1-2 pounds per week, on the other hand, may indicate that you are not getting enough calories.
To summarize, the answer to the question “how many calories do I need while nursing” on a daily basis varies depending on your physiologic requirements.
It is recommended that you consume an additional 500 calories per day; however, it is also critical that you listen to your body and follow your hunger cues, as well as maintain a well-nourished and balanced diet.
Also, keep in mind that having a newborn necessitates a lot of energy. Trying to lose weight or cut calories too soon after giving birth may cause your recovery to be slowed and your energy levels to suffer.
It is recommended that you wait until after your postnatal check to begin worrying about weight loss and reducing caloric intake. Always seek the advice of your doctor.