How Many Calories Do Moms and Babies Need When Breastfeeding?

You may be thinking that now that you have given birth to a beautiful baby, you no longer need to be as careful about your diet as you were during pregnancy. Do not make this mistake, especially if you are a nursing mother. When breastfeeding, it is important to ensure that you are getting the appropriate amount of calories on a daily basis. It is good for the health of your baby and keeps your milk production steady too. However, you may want to learn about how many calories to take when breastfeeding to ensure you do not end up gaining weight even after nursing your baby. Let's find out more about it.


Benefits of Breastfeeding

Whether you want to breastfeed or not is your personal choice. However, most medical authorities strongly recommend breastfeeding because it has benefits for you and your baby. It is good for your baby because breast milk helps meet the nutritional needs of your growing baby. It offers a perfect mix of protein, vitamins, and fat. You may be thinking that these nutrients are also available in infant formula, but they are available in an easily digested form in breast milk. Moreover, breast milk has antibodies that boost the immune system of your baby and protects them from common infections. It also lowers their risk of allergies and asthma.

Some studies have found that breastfed babies are less likely to have respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and bouts of diarrhea. Interestingly, it is also good for the mother because it helps her burn extra calories and get rid of pregnancy weight more effectively. Breastfeeding is good for your sexual health because it releases a hormone called oxytocin that helps your uterus to return to its normal size. It may also help reduce uterine bleeding, which is common after delivery. Some studies have found that breastfeeding moms are at a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis and breast cancer.

How Many Calories to Take When Breastfeeding?

It is true that you will burn calories while breastfeeding, which is good for weight loss, but you need to ensure that you are on a balanced diet to provide your baby with important nutrients. Eating all the right stuff will also help improve the supply of milk.

Interestingly, many women believe that they have to drink milk each day to increase the production of breast milk, and this leads to an increase in the number of calories they get on a daily basis. This is not the right thing to do because drinking more milk is not going to affect the supply of breast milk. You just need to maintain a right balance of healthy foods and include dark green veggies, nuts, seeds, and other sources of calcium and healthy fat in your diet.

Calorie to Take for Mothers

The truth is that you do not need to increase your caloric intake significantly even when you are breastfeeding. You can return to your normal caloric intake – it is the amount of calories you may be taking before becoming pregnant. Following this strategy may help you lose pregnancy weight. However, if you have not gained a lot of weight during pregnancy and your activity level is high after birth, you may want to change your caloric intake a little. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you should be getting 1,800-2,000 calories a day.
  • If you are moderately active, you should be getting 2,000-2,200 calories a day.
  • If you are highly active, you should be getting 2,200-2,400 calories a day.

When breastfeeding regularly, you may want to eat an additional of 450-500 calories per day, especially when you are not overly concerned about losing weight. In most cases, you can get these calories from your regular diet – all you have to do is start eating more. Just keep in mind that you should limit your calorie intake from saturated fats and added sugars, which are found in foods like deserts, soft drinks, cheese, fried foods, fatty meats, and while milk.

However, it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider to know if you really need to get more calories each day. Also, they may prescribe supplements, such as a DHA supplement in addition to multivitamins in case you are a poorly nourished mother.

Calories an Infant Needs

It is important to know how many calories to take when breastfeeding because your baby should be getting an adequate amount of calories each day. The number of calories babies need depend on their size, age, and sex. For instance:

The Estimated Energy Requirements for Males


Calories Per Day

1-3 months


4-6 months


7-9 months



717-768 calories

The Estimated Energy Requirements for Females


Calories per Day

1-3 months


4-6 months


7-9 months


10-12 months


These are estimated energy requirements only, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before significantly increasing your caloric intake.