Does breastfeeding burn calories?
Breastfeeding will build a bond between mother and child while providing babies with sufficient nutrients and antibodies to grow healthily. But can you also burn calories during breastfeeding and lose weight though?
When you are breastfeeding, your body needs more energy than usual. Past research has found that breastfeeding can burn approximately 200 to 500 calories per day. However, the actual amount of calories burnt from breastfeeding depends largely on the amount of breast milk produced, the frequency of nursing, as well as your baby’s age. The more breast milk produced, the higher the frequency of nursing and the older your baby, the more calories you will burn from breastfeeding.
If your baby is feeding on breast milk only, breastfeeding can help you burn approximately 595 calories a day, for the first 2 months after birth. The calories burnt from breastfeeding will increase as your baby grows, to 695 calories a day. It was determined that nursing mothers usually burn almost 20 calories to produce an ounce of breast milk. This means that if your baby drinks 10-30 ounces of breast milk a day, you could burn between 380-600 calories daily.
Moreover, breastfeeding helps with reducing your post-pregnancy belly. When a mother breastfeeds, her body will release specific hormones that help to shrink her uterus back to its original pre-pregnancy size.
How Does Breastfeeding Burn Calories?
Mothers burn calories through breastfeeding thanks to human biology. Breast milk contains necessary nutrients, vitamins and immunity-boosters to help babies grow healthily. Since your body does not usually create this extra source of condensed nutrients, it has to work much harder to produce breast milk sufficient for your baby.
Another reason breastfeeding helps to burn calories is because you are giving your baby your calories when you breastfeed. 100 ml of breast milk is found to have approximately 60-75 kilocalories. Thanks to your breast milk, you will not be storing as many calories for yourself because you will be passing most of it to your child.
Breastfeeding & Weight Loss
Although breastfeeding can help you burn calories, it is not guaranteed that breastfeeding will help you return to your pre-pregnancy body, especially if you gained more weight than your doctor had recommended. However, with the extra 500 calories lost per day, thanks to producing breast milk, mothers can jumpstart their weight loss process.
Past research has stated that mothers who breastfeed partially or exclusively, are more inclined to lose more weight 3-6 months after childbirth, as compared to mothers who feed their baby with infant formula only. While medical professionals agree that breastfeeding promotes weight loss, there is no conclusive evidence that confirms for a fact that breastfeeding is a determining factor to postpartum weight loss.
In conclusion, breastfeeding helps to burn calories, but it is not enough to cause weight loss. If you want to lose weight after childbirth, it is important to have a healthy diet and exercise regularly, in addition to breastfeeding. This should lead to faster weight loss, as compared to breastfeeding alone.
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