Breastfeeding Calorie Calculator

Created by Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Dominika Miszewska, MD, PhD candidate and Steven Wooding
Based on research by
U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th edition: Chapter 5 - Women Who Are Pregnant or Lactating (December 2020)
Last updated: Jul 07, 2022

The breastfeeding calorie calculator equips you with the essential knowledge of the physiology of breastfeeding and the health of lactating women. 🍼

If you'd love to find out:

Keep on reading to become confident with your breastfeeding calories and diet and get to know how to properly use our calorie calculator for breastfeeding.

Breast milk and its ingredients

Mom's milk is everything a baby needs – it's easily digestible, contains all the vital ingredients, and protects against both viral & bacterial infections and allergies. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of food for children up to 6 months – we should also remember about the proper supplementation of vitamin K and D (depending on the climate).

So what makes breast milk so unique? 🤱

Lactating women produce different kinds of milk, depending on the time of lactation; the first milk, also called the colostrum contains more proteins and less fat than the substance created later on – it also acts as a mild laxative, allowing for an easier passage of the baby's first stool.

The milk "matures" two weeks following the baby's birth, changing along with the offspring's needs. When fully matured, it contains mainly:

  • Proteins – Immunoglobulins, lysozyme, and lactoferrin serve as a protection against infections;
  • Lactose – 1.5x more than in cow's milk;
  • Oligosaccharides – Work as a probiotic;
  • Fats – Deliver 40-55% of the baby's energy;
  • Minerals;
  • Growth factors;
  • Enzymes;
  • Hormones; and
  • Vitamins.

Want to know something more about the human breasts? Discover our other related tools:

Now let's move to the other parts of the calories burned breastfeeding calculator:

How many calories are in breast milk?

Human breast milk contains 70 kcal in 100 grams. A healthy woman can produce as much as 2,000 to 3,000 grams of milk per day when nursing twins or triplets!

For comparison, a healthy 6-month-old baby needs around 90 kcal/kg and consumes 769 grams of milk per day.

How many calories do I need while breastfeeding?

The amount of calories burned with breastfeeding depends on the period of lactation; according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy lactating woman needs:

  • An extra 330 kcal/day during the first 6 months of lactation; and
  • 400 kcal/day after the 6th month of breastfeeding. 🤱

Does pumping burn the same calories as breastfeeding?

Yes, pumping burns the same amount of calories as breastfeeding. Whenever you nurse or pump, the milk production looks precisely the same and requires identical amounts of energy.

Suppose you want to know how many calories you burn while pumping. In that case, you need to remember how many months you've already been lactating:

  • ≤6 months – 330 kcal/day.
  • >6 months – 400 kcal/day.

How to use the breastfeeding calorie calculator?

All you need is five short steps!

  1. Input your age.
  2. Input your height.
  3. Input your weight. Remember you may choose from plenty of available units!
  4. Estimate your physical activity level:
    • Basal metabolic rate – computes your basic caloric needs without any physical activity included.
    • Little/ no exercise;
    • Exercise 1-2 times/week;
    • Exercise 2-3 times/week;
    • Exercise 3-5 times/week;
    • Exercise 6-7 times/week; or
    • Professional athlete.
  5. Enter your state
    • Lactation 0-6 months, lactation over 6 months;
    • Pregnancy in 1st, 2nd or 3rd trimester.

🙋 Our tool serves as a calorie calculator for pregnant and lactating women – this way, you may compare your energy expenses during and soon after pregnancy.

  1. That's it! 🎉 We've got it covered; the breastfeeding calorie calculator will show you the estimated amount of calories you need per day and a few tips regarding your diet.

How many calories are burned while breastfeeding?

Not sure how many calories are burned with breastfeeding? Here's the short answer!

  • During the first 6 months of breastfeeding, your body burns additionally around 500 kcal per day; however, if we account for the postpartum weight loss in that period, the total calorie count reaches only 330 kcal/day.
  • During the 6-12th month of lactation, you may burn an extra 400 kcal/day by solely producing milk.

❗ We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace the professional advice of a health care provider.

Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Age
years
Height
ft
in
Weight
lb
Physical activity
Little/no exercise
State
Lactation 0-6 months
Daily energy needs
kcal
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