How many extra calories do I need while breastfeeding?
Your nutrition requirements continue into your fourth trimester through your breastfeeding journey.
This is an excerpt from La Leche League's website:
"How many extra calories do I need when I’m breastfeeding?
The number of calories a woman needs depends upon how much body fat she has and how active she is. While women are often advised to consume about 500 extra calories daily while they are breastfeeding (compared to before pregnancy), research now indicates that this could be too much for some women, while for others it could be insufficient.
Most breastfeeding women need to increase not only the calories they consume, but all the nutrients that make up their diet in order to satisfy the additional requirements of milk synthesis, though for some women the increase will be minimal. If the diet is balanced and varied, the increase in calories will automatically be accompanied by an increase in all the other nutrients.
Most women have some extra weight at the end of pregnancy. These pounds will gradually be used up during the months of breastfeeding, so nutrients will not need to be provided entirely by a mother’s daily food intake. Although the process of how human milk is synthesized is still not completely understood, we do know that it doesn’t take a lot energy. It has been shown that, during lactation, the metabolism of the mother’s body becomes more efficient, not just in regard to calories, but also to minerals."
Protein is a great resource for the nutrients they mention because it helps keep you full longer, and many believe that it also helps milk production. See our recipe section for ideas on lactation smoothies, cookies, breads, and other easy to make treats!