What Breastfeeding Moms Need To Know About Calorie Intake
When it comes to breastfeeding diet, the main focus is commonly around having foods that boost your milk supply. But did you know even with the right food, you can still fall short in meeting your nutritional needs if you are not eating enough calories? So how many extra calories do you actually need? And how do you maintain a healthy weight despite eating more? Read the following tips to find out:
How Many Additional Calories Do I Need?
The recommended calorie intake for adult females in general is between 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day. To get a more accurate intake level, you should take your age, weight, and activity level into consideration. For example, if your job requires you to be constantly moving around, you are more likely to burn more calories than another person who works at the office desk all day.
When you are breastfeeding, your body needs extra energy to produce breast milk for your baby. Hence, you are generally recommended to take around 300 additional calories. That being said, you might need even a higher calorie intake if you are a vegetarian, nursing more than one child, nursing while you are pregnant, or have other medical complications. Be sure to consult your doctor if you find yourself in these special circumstances.
Would The Extra Calories Cause Weight Gain?
With postnatal water retention and swelling, a common concern among breastfeeding moms is whether the extra calories would cause even more weight gain. The good news is, as long as you are eating healthy, the additional calories you take is not likely to increase your weight. The reason is that your body burns the extra calories when you are producing or feeding breast milk.
For breastfeeding moms, the key to eat more calories without gaining weight is to maintain a well-balanced and healthy diet. Depending on your postnatal recovery progress and health condition, you can add exercise into your daily routine after consulting your doctor. In terms of diet, go for whole foods such as unprocessed meat, vegetables and fruits. Meanwhile, stay away from junk foods that only contain empty calories and no nutrients.
How Many Calories Breastfeeding Burns?
On average, your body burns around 200 to 500 calories from breastfeeding in a day. The number changes depending on your milk flow, how frequently you breastfeed, as well as how old your baby is. For example, when your baby starts having solid food and you don’t breastfeed as much, you will burn fewer calories compared to the first few months.
What Are the Examples of Healthy High-Calorie Food?
To make sure you hit your daily calorie intake level, consume healthy foods that are high in calorie, which includes:
- Dairy: Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium that will help to boost milk supply.
- Seafood: Seafood provides nutrients such as omega-3-fatty acids, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 that are beneficial to you and your baby.
- Whole Grains: Whole grains are rich in fiber and help in milk production.
As your milk flow improves, you will burn more calories too. Other than food, try improving your milk flow using helpful tools like a lactation massager. A great place to get this is on online shopping sites like MumChecked that rewards you as you shop or review.
What Food Should I Avoid?
Breastfeeding diets are slightly more relaxed compared to pregnancy diets. That said, you should still pay attention to certain food that might affect your baby’s growth. A few common ones include:
- High-Mercury Seafood: These include swordfish, shark, and king mackerel, which could harm the baby’s brain.
- Coffee & Tea: The caffeine in these drinks will be passed to your baby through your breastmilk and affect the baby’s sleep schedule.
- Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwi, strawberries and pineapples contain citric acid that can lead to gastrointestinal tract (GI) irritation in babies.
In a nutshell, a healthy breastfeeding diet is all about having well-balanced whole foods. While you can certainly plan and prepare these meals yourself, an easier way is to engage with a trusted confinement food delivery service that offers nutritious confinement food for breastfeeding.
Tian Wei Signature is an award-winning confinement food caterer in Singapore that serves MSG-free and breastfeeding-friendly confinement meals. Featuring wide-ranging traditional Chinese and fusion confinement food, our meals are top rated by thousands of breastfeeding moms in Singapore. Pamper yourself with the best nutrients by booking today!