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Does Pumping Breast Milk Burn Calories? How Many Calories?

It’s truly amazing how many calories your body burns doing everyday things. You can burn quite a few calories just doing what you do every day. Your body even burns calories while you’re resting, and not doing anything!

The number of calories that you burn while breastfeeding, even if you’re pumping the milk, is so high it’s crazy. You can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per day just from breastfeeding alone!

Why Do You Burn Calories While Breastfeeding?

Your body uses calories to do anything. It actually takes calories for your heart to pump or for your body to breathe. When you keep that in mind, it makes sense that your body uses calories to produce milk.

However, that is only a portion of the reason that you’re burning so many calories. The milk itself contains calories, which come from your body.

Then, those calories are expelled from the body via milk. After that, your body uses more calories to push the milk through your ducts and out of the body. The sucking motion from the baby or a breast pump helps, but that doesn’t do all of the work. 

How To Calculate How Many Calories You Burn Per Day

There is a big difference between burning 200 calories and burning 600 calories per day. Because this fluctuates so much, it’s important that you know how many you are burning per day.

This can help you lose weight if you’re trying to get back down to your pre-pregnancy weight. It can also help you make sure that you’re eating enough calories per day.

At the very least, it’s pretty cool to see how many calories you’re burning while doing what’s best for your baby. 

First, You Have To Know How Many Ounces Your Baby Eats

On average, there are approximately 22 calories in each ounce of breast milk. Those calories are coming from you. So, if your baby eats 24 ounces of formula per day, that means that you’re losing at least 528 calories per day.

(That isn’t the total number of calories. You burn more because of the energy that it takes to produce milk too. However, we’ll add that part later.)

If you aren’t sure how many ounces your baby is eating per feeding, consider weighing them. A baby scale weighs babies in ounces. You can also use a kitchen scale. Weigh your little one before feeding.

Then, weigh them again after the feeding. However many ounces they gain is how many they just ate. Then, multiply that number by how many times they eat per day. Finally, multiple that by 22 (the number of calories in each ounce.)

Next, Add The Number Of Calories Burnt From Using Your Energy

In order for the body to produce the milk, and make sure it gets where it needs to go, it has to use calories. On average, your body burns approximately 20% of the number of calories that are in the breastmilk.

So, if you’re using milk that has 528 calories per day, you’ll want to take 20% of 528. Then, add that number to 528 to get the final number of calories that you’re burning. 

The Shortcut You Need To Use If You’re Bad At Math

Personally, I am horrible at math. I did pass statistics in college, but it took a lot of tutoring. For this, I used a shortcut. I took 20% of 22 (the number of calories that you burn.) That is 4.4.

Then, I added that to the 22, which equals 26.4. If you use multiple the number of ounces by 26.4, it gives you the total calories that you burn daily, and it includes the number of calories you burn with the energy that your body uses.

I used this formula as well as the other one multiple times, and you get the same results. 

(number of ounces per day) x 26.4 = the number of calories you burn breastfeeding per day

The Number Of Calories You Burn Will Fluctuate

It’s important to remember that this number is not going to remain the same. It will fluctuate depending on how often your baby eats, and how much breastmilk they are taking. 

Babies Breastfeed Less When They Start Solids

Once babies start to eat solids, they will breastfeed significantly less than they used to. That means that you aren’t going to be burning as many calories.

Keep this in mind if you’ve upped the calories in your diet to make up for the ones that you’re losing through breastfeeding. You’ll also need to pay attention if you’re using this as one of the ways you’re trying to lose weight. 

Sick Or Teething Babies Eat Less

There are other times when you’ll notice that your baby eats less. Some babies tend to eat less when they are teething. Others are known for not nursing as often when they are sick.

You’ll need to remember this if you’re using the number of calories lost when breastfeeding to determine how many you need to eat a day. 

Fuller Breasts Mean Fewer Calories

When your breasts are full of milk, you’ll generally burn fewer calories. This is because your breasts are full, so they are not producing as much milk as they would if they were empty.

The milk that is produced will also likely have a lower amount of fat. This means that you aren’t going to be using as much energy to make it. 

Because this fluctuates so much, most women don’t worry about it too much. There will be times that your breasts are fuller, and you burn fewer calories. Likewise, there will be times that they are empty, and you’ll burn more calories than you usually do. 

In Conclusion

Breastfeeding burns a lot more calories than you know it does! It’s the equivalent of spending one hour with a rowing machine! This is part of the reason why women that breastfeed are able to lose the baby weight a little bit quicker than those that don’t.