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BF'ing calories

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July 31st, 2013, 03:33 PM
jhmomofmany's Avatar Look! A Dancing Banana!
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Upper Michigan
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I'm sure you've all heard/read the recommendation to add 500 calories for breastfeeding. I'm exclusively pumping because John never would nurse (little bugger). I've been getting in the neighborhood of 31 to 35 oz total per day. According to KellyMom the composition of breastmilk changes throughout the day (and based on mom's diet) but on average breastmilk is 22 calories per oz. So, simple math, I'm putting something like 682 to 770 calories into his bottles daily. I'm thinking some calories are used by my body in the actual process of making the milk, but have no idea how many.

My supply is decent (thank goodness) but I don't think more than average. So, I'm thinking 500 calories per day doesn't quite cover the actual energy expenditure of a nursing mother. I wonder where the figure came from. Not sure what my point is... just rambling I suppose.
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July 31st, 2013, 04:12 PM
Jessimaaka's Avatar Pink in a house of Blue
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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I've heard that 500 is an average. Some need more, others need less. I logged 500 on MFP, and if I was hungry, ate more and wasn't concerned about going over my daily "limit". I never really pumped so I couldn't use that 22 calories/oz estimate but I'd also read that on kellymom. 32-25 oz a day is amazing!!!!
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July 31st, 2013, 04:35 PM
ThaiSpice's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2009
Location: AR
Posts: 19,837
I started with 500 extra in the beginning, and I've slowly cut it back to 200 extra. I found that I was actually gaining at 500 extra. I cut back little by little untilI was slowly losing and still maintaining supply. I also go by hunger, though...if I'm still hungry, I eat more. I'm BF in the morning, evenings & overnight, and also pumping about 28 oz per day. Definitely think the 500 is an estimate, and you might have to play around with it.

Last edited by ThaiSpice; July 31st, 2013 at 04:38 PM.
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July 31st, 2013, 07:20 PM
Jessimaaka's Avatar Pink in a house of Blue
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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I was losing steadily at 500. I've recently cut down to 300 and that kickstarted my loss again. I was going to go down to 200, but now that I'm pregnant, I decided to leave it at 300 for now. We are almost completely day-weaned and just nursing about 4 times between 7pm and 7am. So if he self-weans when it changes taste (which I've heard happens when pregnant), then I'll remove it
DS1: C 8/12/2012
DS2: L 3/30/2014
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August 1st, 2013, 08:39 AM
2pinks&ablue's Avatar Chantelle
Join Date: May 2007
Location: NB, Canada
Posts: 36,142
When I was logging calories and Hannah was small, I added 500 calories, and was still losing steadily. Now Hannah isn't nursing as often, and I don't log calories as much, I just go by how I feel.
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August 1st, 2013, 11:53 AM
pattyandthemoos's Avatar Administrator
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Michigan
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I never really paid attention to the "500 calorie rule." I don't think I ever needed that many extra calories. I just ate when I was hungry and didn't really worry too much. I also drank a lot of water back then. That seemed to help with my supply a lot. As long as my supply was good and baby was growing, I just didn't worry too much.

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August 1st, 2013, 12:45 PM
melissalaw's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tennessee
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I found that I didn't need the extra 500 calories to make enough milk. I think I usually did about 300 extra calories. are you doing weight watchers? They gave me 40 points when I was exclusively nursing and if I stuck to the 40 points, I had plenty to eat plus I lost about 1 1/2 lbs per week.

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August 1st, 2013, 03:24 PM
Lucy S.'s Avatar POAS addict
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Location: Bay area CA
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Wow you are my goddess and hero! I EBF and extended at that but man, I could not pump to save my life! And the dedication? Wow!
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