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how many calories does breastfeeding burn

(19 Posts)
chickycoke Tue 15-Feb-05 12:09:18

Does anyone know how many calories breast feeding takes. I have been trying to work out how much excercise per day and how many calories I must limit myself to to loose weight but I am unsure how many calories I am burning by breastfeeding.

HunkerMunker Tue 15-Feb-05 12:10:18

Depends how often you do it, I suppose. How old's your baby? Still don't think there's a sum you can do really - you don't know how much they're taking when they feed.

bundle Tue 15-Feb-05 12:10:28

at its height (exclusive bf up to 6 mths) i think it's around 500 cals

PiccadillyCircus Tue 15-Feb-05 12:12:23

I think I remember reading that breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day, but I'm not sure. Personally, I found that pushing a baby round in a pushchair for hours and hours helped with the losing weight, but it didn't go until DS was at least 6 months I think. Then it more than went and now I weigh less than I did pre pregnancy with him.

How old is your baby? It took me longer than I expected to be out of maternity clothes and I remember feeling really frustrated for the first 3 months or so.

Ameriscot2005 Tue 15-Feb-05 12:14:10

Less than the number I eat/exercise.

ISTR a recommendation that you eat about an extra 400 calories.

beansprout Tue 15-Feb-05 12:16:49

It's also recommended that we don't really try to lose weight while b/f. I have just been trying to eat healthily and yep, push that pram round a lot but b/f can be as demanding, nutritionally speaking as pregnancy, so please don't underestimate how much nourishment your body needs at the moment.

tiktok Tue 15-Feb-05 14:10:44

I have good news and bad news

The good news is that of course you can actively aim to lose weight when breastfeeding - this will not harm you or your baby. I have just tried to find the study that followed a group of bf mothers on a weight loss diet and which monitored the growth of their babies. Mothers lost weight, babies did not differ from the control group in their weight gain. It's not a good idea to deliberately aim for starvation levels, but the usual weight watchers type thing is fine.

The bad news is that even if you work out the number of calories in the milk you produce (which is probably about 500 in a fully bf baby ) and add a bit on for the energy you have used to produce it, it does not mean you need this equivalent in calories 'in'.....your metabolism changes in pg and in bf, so you get more out of your calories. This is well documented - \link{http://www.welcome.to/breastfeeding} here for instance in the essay about nutrition}

So you only need a little bit more every day to allow for bf - most weight loss diets like WW or Slimming World and so on do allow you that bit extra. Most women just eat normally when bf, and maybe get a bit hungrier from time to time, and eat a bit more to satisfy that.

tiktok Tue 15-Feb-05 14:11:29

sorry about crap link - just copy and paste

Pidge Tue 15-Feb-05 14:14:57

tiktok - that's interesting about the calories thing - the NCT breastfeeding quiz reckons that you do burn 500 calories a day. But I know this is hotly disputed.

The weight loss thing seems to be highly individual - personally I did find that breastfeeding allowed me to eat huge amounts more than usual, and yet the lbs dropped off me until I weighed less than I had before getting pregnant. Whilst friends who were breastfeeding reckoned they didn't start losing weight until they stopped feeding.

PrettyCandles Tue 15-Feb-05 14:16:59

I've never lost weight while breastfeeding - nor gained any, for that matter, no matter how much I ate - but found that I began to lose weight very easily once I had completely stopped breastfeeding. While feeding, especially in the first 2-3 months, I was absolutely ravenous. I ate masses, but as I said, never put on any weight. I imagine that if I had just restricted my diet a very little bit (say 4 meals a day, rather than 7 ) then I would have lost some weight while feeding.

suzywong Tue 15-Feb-05 14:20:21

same here, never lost or gained, although diet seems to be working a bit now I am down to just a quick bed time feed ....Hmmmm let me weigh it up: banishing jelly belly or letting ds2 feed until he's at school????

tiktok Tue 15-Feb-05 14:36:59

NCT breastfeeding quiz got it wrong - there was some comment about this internally.

Pidge Tue 15-Feb-05 14:44:24

tiktok - what a shame

Still, I was one of the lucky ones - hoping this time will be the same - slabs of cake and cream teas for me!

vicdubya Tue 15-Feb-05 15:03:15

Regardless of the science, BF is just the greatest excuse not to diet and eat some naughty things from time to time...

.....isn;t it?? [innocent smiley]

I have put on half a stone since Xmas tho so good to know it is safe to diet in a sensible way if neccessary!

jabberwocky Tue 15-Feb-05 15:38:17

Oh, wow, tiktok. I had heard the process of lactation burned 500 - 1000 calories per day. I actually did lose all of my "baby weight" during the time I breastfed without following any other weight loss program. Maybe just a lucky coincidence?

motherinferior Tue 15-Feb-05 15:44:25

Breastfeeding did bugger-all for me first time round; second time the weight went but I don't think it was b/fing (I still have no idea how I managed it).

Pidge, you are a small tiny creature who can stuff and stuff and will remain small and tiny

mummylonglegs Tue 15-Feb-05 15:55:14

I lost weight really quickly while b/f, in fact I lost too much weight despite eating more than I would've pre-pregnancy. Maybe my body put in loads of effort to produce milk. Or maybe it was the rate at which dd guzzled what I did make that did it!

Pidge Tue 15-Feb-05 16:10:51

LOL - MI - tis true I'm a bit midget like and seem to naturally have a metabolism to burn up cakes - but I swear I did put on weight when breastfeeding tailed off and I didn't scale back my vast food consumption!

I think that's the thing though - it's a very individual experience and for some women breastfeeding does seem to help burn up those fat deposits and for other women it seems to do precisely the reverse and makes them hang onto their chubbiness.

tiktok Tue 15-Feb-05 16:22:50

Pidge, that's what the research says, too - it's a highly individual response, with a range of normal.

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