Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Adventures in Breastfeeding: So-Called Diet

Hi, Mamas! In my last post, I mentioned calorie tracking as part of my un-diet. And I had one question: Just how many calories do I burn when I nurse? How many do I burn when I pump? And, after hours of research, I came across an article about how many calories a nursing mom should have, but not much else.

I finally did a 'I feel lucky' Google search, and found an interesting question through Askville via amazon.com . One person gave me the answer I was looking for. Finally!! Thanks to Marymoomoo for this answer:

"If you're only nursing a few times a day, the caloric requirement for lactation would be lower by proportion than if you were exclusively nursing.

On average, exclusively nursing mothers burn about 500 calories per day above and beyond the requirement needed to maintain their body weight. And, on average, an exclusively nursing mother transfers 24 ounces of breastmilk to her baby per day. So, a good estimate would be that 20 calories are burned for every ounce of breastmilk produced.

Going with that number (20 calories per ounce), and knowing that toddlers who are nursing 4x per day or more are taking in around 12-15 ounces per day, you could estimate that you're currently burning about 280 calories per day above and beyond what your body needs to maintain weight. Of course, that estimate would be different based on several variables. "

I also found more information on the caloric intake needed from KellyMom.
To input the amount of calories I burn per day into the MyFitnessPal app, I did the inital set of calories I do on a work day:
From midnight to midnight, Isabel nurses 4 times a day. I pump once a day, and get about 3 ounces from each breast (some days are more, and I adjust accordingly). If I take the above information and plug it in, the calculations are roughly
20 calories x 6 ounces = 120 calories burned
120 calories x 5 times a day = 600 calories burned

600 calories!!! That's incredible, and I can do the math very simply for those days I have to adjust. (cluster nursing included!)
Give it a try, and see how you can benefit from nursing AND keeping track of your calories! WE CAN DO IT, MAMAS!