I have several clients in my boot camp program right now who are breastfeeding. I am exclusively breastfeeding Cole as well. I feel very blessed to be able to breastfeed, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work with clients who are doing the same. One question that I receive very often is this, “How many calories should I eat while breastfeeding.”
Here’s the deal. Every woman is different. All of us have unique nutritional needs, and there is not one perfect number for me to tell my clients re: calories. However, here are some guidelines.
- You burn a few to several hundred calories per day when you are breastfeeding. It is important to be sure you are eating enough of the right foods to allow your body to produce enough milk. For me, that number varies based on the amount of working out I do in a given day. Generally, I eat between 1500-2000 calories per day. However, keep in mind that I am short, LOL.
- Drink, drink, and drink some more! I drink a glass of water at every feeding, and try to stay hydrated throughout the day. I have literally never been more thirsty than when I am breastfeeding. Stay ahead of your thirst to prevent dehydration and a drop in your milk supply.
- Eat nutrient dense foods. If you eat foods with empty calories, your supply will decrease. Focus on lean protein, veggies, fruits, good fats, whole grains (in moderation), and dairy (in moderation). Personally, I feel at my best when I eat a modified Paleo diet. That lifestyle is not for everyone, but I feel much better when I eat minimal wheat and dairy.
Personally, I have to pump a few times a week so that Cole has milk at the sitters or in the evenings if I am training at the gym. On the days that I pump, I often have to eat and drink even more. It is important to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry.
Breastfeeding is a great way to drop excess pregnancy weight postpartum. However, that is only true if you are eating the right amount of nutrients from whole foods. If you are eating junk foods, you will not lose weight. Likewise, if you are not eating enough to fuel your workouts or help you produce milk, your body will start to store fat. Eat when you are hungry, and stop eating when you are satisfied.
Are you breastfeeding? Do you have any tips to keep up your milk supply?