Breastfeeding and Calories

Submitted by Nick on January 18, 2012

Breast milk is the ideal food for a newborn baby. It offers the maximum amount of nutrition and also passes on antibodies from the mother to the baby. These antibodies help to protect the infant from many harmful illnesses. Besides the benefits that breastfeeding offers to the baby, there are also certain advantages for the mother. Breastfeeding is known to enable the mother to lose weight. The process of milk production involves the burning of several calories each day. Even if the mother does not perform any physical activity during the day, the act of breastfeeding still ensures that calories are burned.


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Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

The average amount of calories burned each day through breastfeeding is 500 calories. The average range of calories burned is about 200 to 600 calories. One ounce of breast milk is known to lead to the loss of 200 calories.

Studies have indicated that mothers who breastfeed lose a greater amount of weight than mothers who bottle feed their babies. The hip and thigh circumference is also known to reduce in breastfeeding mothers. Babies who are fed through breastfeeding consume about 25 ounces of breast milk per day. This means that the mother stands to lose about 500 calories per day. Since there is so much calorie loss every day, the mother must consume a proper diet. Breastfeeding mothers must consume approximately 1800 to 2000 calories per day. It is important for breastfeeding women to eat whenever they feel hungry. It is advisable to avoid consuming calories from junk food. The breastfeeding diet must consist of fruits, vegetables, protein sources, whole grains and healthy fats. Another important point to remember is that substances consumed by the mother are likely to pass into the breast milk. Therefore the best breastfeeding advice is to avoid eating processed foods and additives.

It is a common misconception that exercise influences the supply of breast milk. Exercise is known to elevate lactic acid levels in the body, but there are no negative effects on the breast milk. A moderate amount of exercise is necessary for physical fitness. However it is advisable to consult a doctor before starting any exercise regimen. A sudden reduction in calories can reduce the supply of breast milk supply and place the woman’s body in starvation mode. Therefore mothers who breastfeed must refrain from going on extreme diets such as liquid diets and low-carb diets. Weight loss medications must also be avoided as they can lead to breastfeeding problems.

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