Use this calculator to determine how many calories you will need per day when breastfeeding.
Click on ‘START’ above to calculate your calorie intake.
Note that this calculator is sourced from the United States Department of Agriculture and the recommendations are based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 – 2025.
For more information, you can download the document with the link below.
Congratulations, new mom. While embarking on this phase as a mom, it’s only necessary to consider the perfect way to nurture your baby. A key aspect that plays a significant role in that is your calorie intake. You want to be sure that you are taking the right amount of calories for your baby’s needs and yours and maybe still maintaining the perfect body you want.
Well, we’re here to assist with your calorie intake as a breastfeeding mother. Finding the perfect balance has always varied based on weight, height, and even age and so to avoid insufficiency in milk production or nutrients, we present the ‘calorie intake of breastfeeding mothers calculator’. The goal here is to enable you to consume the right amount of calories daily.
What is the Calorie Intake of Breastfeeding Mothers Calculator?
The Calorie Intake of Breastfeeding Mother calculator helps you determine how many calories you should take per day as a lactating mother. It uses your weight, age, breastfeeding frequency, height, and physical activity level to determine how many calories you should take daily.
Formulas Used for the Calorie Intake of Breastfeeding Mothers Calculator
Sourced from My Plate by the United States Department of Agriculture, the calorie intake of breastfeeding mothers’ calculator was designed based on the most recent dietary guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.
These guidelines are carefully developed by nutrition experts and professionals to ensure accurate and reliable information to support the health of breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
Going through them, we believe these recommendations are appropriate in use to estimate the daily calorie intake for you as a breastfeeding mother. As we’ve earlier said, there are key factors that contribute to your daily calorie intake and these recommendations reflect such belief.
Here’s an overview:
- Calorie intake is calculated based on body weight to achieve a healthy body mass index.
- The height is also used.
- Activity Level
- Weight growth recommendations are lower for overweight or obese women, which could decrease calorie intake.
With such in mind, let’s see how you can make use of the calculator.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans for Breastfeeding Moms (2020-2025)
Calorie Intake for the First 6 Months of Breastfeeding
According to the guideline in the first 6 months of lactation, a mother should take an additional 330 calories daily. This is in addition to their normal daily calorie intake.
To calculate the EER (Estimated Energy Requirement) for the first 6 months of breastfeeding, you take your pre-pregnancy calorie needs and add 500 calories per day. This accounts for the extra energy required for milk production during this period. Then, to consider weight loss in the first 6 months after giving birth, you subtract 170 calories per day from the total.
That was how the additional 330 calories earlier mentioned was derived (500-170).
Calorie Intake for the Next 6 Months of Breastfeeding (7 months – 1 Year)
When your baby is 7 months, old you will need an extra 400 calories added to your daily calories.
In other words, for the second 6 months of breastfeeding, you take your pre-pregnancy calorie needs and add 400 calories per day. This covers the extra energy necessary for milk production during this period. After 6 months postpartum, it’s assumed that your weight remains stable.
Note: These estimates are for women who had a healthy weight before getting pregnant. If a woman was overweight or obese before pregnancy, it’s best for her to talk to her healthcare provider to get advice on the right amount of calories she should consume during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Estimates are based on Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) set by the Institute of Medicine. Source: Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2005.
Estimated Change in Calorie Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation for Women With a Healthy Prepregnancy Weight
The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that breastfeeding mothers should follow the calorie intake stated in the table below.
|Stage of Pregnancy or Lactation||Estimated Change in Daily Calorie Needs Compared to Prepregnancy Needs|
|Pregnancy: 1st trimester||+ 0 calories|
|Pregnancy: 2nd trimester||+ 340 calories|
|Pregnancy: 3rd trimester||+ 452 calories|
|Lactation: 1st 6 months||+ 330 calories|
|Lactation: 2nd 6 months||+ 400 calories|
Healthy U.S.-Style Dietary Pattern for Women Who Are Pregnant or Lactating, With Daily or Weekly Amounts From Food Groups, Subgroups, and Components
|CALORIE LEVEL OF PATTERN||1,800||2,000||2,200||2,400||2,600||2,800|
|FOOD GROUP OR SUBGROUP||Daily Amount of Food From Each Group (Vegetable and protein foods subgroup amounts are per week.)|
|Vegetables (cup eq/day)||2 ½||2 ½||3||3||3 ½||3 ½|
|Vegetable Subgroups in Weekly Amounts|
|Dark-Green Vegetables (cup eq/wk)||1 ½||1 ½||2||2||2 ½||2 ½|
|Red & Orange Vegetables (cup eq/wk)||5 ½||5 ½||6||6||7||7|
|Beans, Peas, Lentils (cup eq/wk)||1 ½||1 ½||2||2||2 ½||2 ½|
|Starchy Vegetables (cup eq/wk)||5||5||6||6||7||7|
|Other Vegetables (cup eq/wk)||4||4||5||5||5 ½||5 ½|
|Fruits (cup eq/day)||1 ½||2||2||2||2||2 ½|
|Grains (ounce eq/day)||6||6||7||8||9||10|
|Whole Grains (ounce eq/day||3||3||3 ½||4||4 ½||5|
|Refined Grains (ounce eq/day)||3||3||3 ½||4||4 ½||5|
|Dairy (cup eq/day)||3||3||3||3||3||3|
|Protein Foods (ounce eq/day)||5||5 ½||6||6 ½||6 ½||7|
|Protein Foods Subgroups in Weekly Amounts|
|Meats, Poultry, Eggs (ounce eq/wk)||23||26||28||31||31||33|
|Seafood (ounce eq/wk)||8||8||9||10||10||10|
|Nuts, Seeds, Soy Products (ounce eq/wk)||4||5||5||5||5||6|
|Limit on Calories for Other Uses (kcal/day)||140||240||250||320||350||370|
|Limit on Calories for Other Uses (%/day)||8%||12%||11%||13%||13%||13%|
How to Use the Calorie Intake of Breastfeeding Mothers Calculator
Using the Calorie Intake Calculator for breastfeeding mothers is a simple and straightforward process. By following these steps, you can determine the approximate number of calories your body needs to support both you and your baby during this special time:
Before you begin, make sure you have the following information ready:
Sex (Female in this case)
Your current weight in pounds
Height (in feet and inches)
Your physical activity
Once you have this information ready, click on the field that says Start my plan.
Input the right answers to the questions asked. They surround your age, sex, breastfeeding, amount of formula or breastmilk you give, weight, height, and physical activity.
After you are done, click on Calculate food plan.
At this point, the amount of calories you need as a breastfeeding mother should be with you. You can go ahead and calculate it again if you want. That’s by clicking on start over.
Do mothers need more calories while breastfeeding?
Absolutely, mothers do need more calories while breastfeeding! Breastfeeding is a physically demanding process that requires additional energy to support both the mother’s body and the production of breast milk for the baby. As a result, the caloric needs of breastfeeding mothers are higher than those of non-breastfeeding women.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a breastfeeding mother might need an addition of 330 to 400 kilocalories per day. This sums it up to mean, you need more calories for milk production, energy burns, and nutrients generally.
You can find out the amount of daily calorie intake you need by using the calorie intake of breastfeeding mothers calculator above.
Your Calories, Your Needs
It can’t be overemphasized that you need to pay close attention to your calorie intake as a breastfeeding mother. However, do not just pay close attention to your needs, but also pay attention to your body. Prioritize nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and many more. They can help meet your caloric requirements and are also very beneficial to your body. For any other health-specific concerns, we advise you to visit your doctor.
Sources used for this article: