No woman can deny the joys and woes of her journey from pregnancy to motherhood. While you are happy about welcoming a little one in your family, you are equally stressed out about the changes taking place in your body. One of the major physical changes that an expecting woman goes through is weight gain. Along with the weight of the growing baby, the mother’s body also needs to store up food and calories for the requisite nutrition for the baby inside.
Weight gain during pregnancy is normal, but you can control it with proper diet and exercises as recommended by your doctor. Post pregnancy, your weight gain may continue to bother you as you need to consume more food as a lactating mother. While some women take up to their post natal fitness quickly, a few others may lag behind for some reason or another. But did you know, breastfeeding is one of the best (and the easiest!) ways to burn calories? This might be a lesser known benefit of breastfeeding, but daily nursing can surely impact the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
We are sure this little fact has pacified all those lactating mothers, who have been freaking with the weight gain trouble! Let us take you through the details.
How many calories does breastfeeding burn?.
It has been found that maximum around 1000 calories are required on a day by a lactating mother to produce breast milk. So, it is advised to maintain a proper diet with necessary nutrients to keep up the body’s reserves and to be able to produce proper breast milk. And, since the more your baby consumes your breast milk, the more the supply is as in your body is constantly producing breast milk, especially during the first six months after childbirth.
Experts also opine that when mothers nurse, the body secretes some hormones that helps to reduce the size of the uterus to the pre-pregnancy state.
Also Read: Diet Plan For Pregnancy
The amount of calories burnt varies from woman to woman, however on an average it is assumed to be 500 calories per day. It also depends on the number of times a mother nurses and the body’s potential to produce milk.
The more you nurse during the initial months, the more milk is produced, assuming there is no hindrance of any kind. Basically, it works as a cycle, you burn calories while you breastfeed, the more you breastfeed, the more milk needs to be produced, and you need to intake proper amount of calories for the body to produce the requisite amount of milk.
How breastfeeding burns calories?
When you are pregnant, the body creates a reserve of weight and nutrition, which is required for you you and the growing baby inside you. However, after childbirth, the reserve gradually decreases and a lot of calories is passed on to the baby through breastfeeding. Hence, your own body starts loosing calories.
But, it is not the case that one should ignore proper calorie intake just to get to pre-pregnancy weight during breastfeeding. It is all the more important to stick to a healthy diet while breastfeeding as it helps to produce the proper amount of breast milk, which is rich in nutrients, required for the growing baby. If the breast milk production is low, the baby does not get the requisite amount of nutrition and the supply also goes on decreasing. It is found that nearly 20 calories are burnt for producing 1 ounce of milk.
Your body is constantly producing milk, which is high in vitamins and immunity boosters for the baby. Hence, the body needs to exert more to produce this milk, burning more calories than usual.
New moms should maintain a roper balance of different nutrition in their diets and eat healthy both for themselves and for their baby. The baby receives most of the necessary nutrition from their mother in the initial stage.
Also Read: 10 Pregnancy Myths Busted
Other Benefits of Breastfeeding
Apart from calorie reduction, breastfeeding has other immense benefits for the mother:
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer by around 25% in women.
- Breastfeeding mothers also get proper sleep compared to others.
- Breastfeeding reduces stress levels and postpartum depression in mothers due to release of hormone called oxytocin.
- Breast milk production consumes around 25% of the body’s energy, while brain uses only 20%.
Do not fret and exert a lot, just to get back to shape after pregnancy. Your body has undergone a natural change and it will gradually adapt to this change. Apart from proper breastfeeding and healthy diet, mothers should also follow a regime of light exercises as prescribed by the doctor to get back to their earlier weight. Though it takes a bit of time, but let the change be gradual and not sudden. Do not starve yourself to lose weight after child birth. Remember, your breast milk the only source of nutrition for your baby during this time, which ensures their healthy development later.
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