Diet & Calculating Calories for Breastfeeding and Non Breastfeeding Moms
So you’ve gotten ok’d by your doctor to start working out again. You’re in a pretty good routine with juggling all your new tasks as a mom to an infant. Let’s jump into nutrition and training! I’m going to start off with nutrition. Mainly because no matter what, even if you can’t work out, you can still get on track through proper nutrition and diet.
Nutrition for Breastfeeding moms-
In general, most breastfeeding women need about 500 calories more per day than their non-breastfeeding counterparts. This typically adds up to between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day for women who are trying to maintain their current weight. However, a woman who is breastfeeding should focus on her body’s hunger cues, not on the specific number of calories she is consuming. She should eat whenever she feels hungry and focus on maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet that consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and healthy fats. Because a woman’s body may change rapidly in the months after giving birth and a baby’s breastfeeding patterns may change as he grows, the exact amount of calories a nursing mother needs may change over the course of the breastfeeding relationship.
A nursing mother who is interested in losing weight can safely cut calories ONCE the baby has reached 2 months of age. Cutting calories earlier than this may interfere with the body’s ability to stabilize milk production during those vital early months. Because breastfeeding itself burns calories, a nursing mother may find that she loses weight even when eating normally. Losing more than 1 pound a week can be an indication that you are not getting enough calories.
Cutting calories by more than about 25 percent can cause an interruption in milk supply, according to La Leche League International. This is even more of a concern if you suddenly decrease the amount of calories you take in instead of gradually reducing your caloric intake over time. Another danger of consuming too few calories while breastfeeding is malnutrition; if a nursing woman is not getting enough food, she may also not be getting enough nutrients.
A woman who is breastfeeding and wants to lose weight may opt to increase her level of exercise instead of or in addition to cutting calories. A 20- to 40-minute daily walk with your baby can burn up to 200 calories. A 2007 review in the ” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews” found that a combination of exercise and cutting calories was more effective for losing postpartum weight than either method alone, and that combining exercise and moderate calorie reduction did not seem to adversely affect breastfeeding performance.
Not Breastfeeding? Here are the general guidelines for weight loss.
Technically, there is no magic number of calories we should all eat each day to lose weight. While most people can lose weight eating around 1,500 calories, you can assess your own personal caloric needs with a little math.
First you need to find out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Your BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing. Other factors that influence your BMR are height, weight, age and sex.
Step one is to calculate your BMR with the following formula:
Women: 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Step two, Calculate Activity:
In order to incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, do the following calculation:
Sedentary – BMR x 1.2: Don’t get much exercise at work – desk job. You them come come at “veg” in front of the TV.
Lightly Active – BMR x 1.375: Some daily activity, plus you exercise or perform a sport 1-3 days per week.
Moderately Active – BMR x 1.55: A fair amount of daily activity, plus you exercise or perform a sport 3-5 days per week.
Very Active – BMR x 1.725: Very active, and you exercise or play sports 6-7 days per week.
Highly Active – BMR x 1.9: Extremely active, including up to twice a day training and/or a very physical job.
Understand that these numbers are designed to give you a rough estimation. The first 2 weeks at a new calorie level can result in abnormal weight gain or weight loss as your body accumulates or flushes water weight due to changing sodium and carb intake levels. After this 2 week period you will want to monitor your weight and make slight adjustments based on goals.
All Calories ARE NOT created equal!
Now that you know how many calories you will be eating per day, it’s time to determine the macronutrient makeup of your diet. Macronutrients are: proteins, fats and carbs.
Protein – Contains 4 calories per gram
Fats – Contain 9 calories per gram
Carbs – Contains 4 calories per gram
I typically do…
1g Protein per lb bodyweight
.45g Fat per bodyweight
Remaining calories go to Carbs
So say you weigh 114lbs and and do Light workouts 3 times a week.
Let’s find out your BMI
655 + (4.3 x 114) + (4.7 x 61) – (4.7 x 31)
655+490.2+286.7−145.7 =1,286.2 BMI
1286.2 × 1.375= 1,768.5 TDEE (round it to 1,770)
**ADD 500 calories if you breastfeed
PROTEIN: 1×120= 120g per day (480 calories)
FATS: .45×120= 54g per day ( 486 calories)
CARBS: 1700-966= 734 calories
734÷4= 183.5g per day
So I would require….
Remember listen to your body. Weigh yourself daily for the first two weeks to see how your body responds and adjust your calories as needed.
Keep it high especially if you are breastfeeding. It keeps you hydrated AND it flushes excess fluid from your body keeping skin tight and extra water weight off your body. I personally drink 1-2 gallons per day.
Stay tuned for Part 3 Exercise & Training!