Have you ever wondered how many calories are in breast milk? Do you want to know how to add calories to breast milk? Just curious about what exactly is in breast milk? Wish you could test your breast milk? This post will answer that question and more!
Breastfeeding requires not only a lot of commitment- but also a lot of in yourself.
It can be hard to keep on nursing your baby without knowing exactly how many calories your baby is taking in – or even how much!
While there are definitely mothers who have a more difficult time producing milk- it is pretty amazing how for the most part– your body creates exactly what your baby needs.
However, as mothers we are probably always going to worry and wonder what exactly is in breastmilk and if anything can be done to up the caloric and fat in it!
Have you ever been told by someone (usually a well-meaning medical provider or trying-to-help friend) that perhaps your milk doesn’t have enough calories in it? Keep reading to find out exactly how many calories are in breast milk and why you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
Calories in Breast Milk
How Many Calories are in Breast Milk?
According to Kelly Mom, the average amount of calories per ounce of breast milk is 22 kcal, with a range of 13-35 kcal. There is an average of 1.2 g of fat per ounce.
Your body typically produces milk based on your baby’s current age and stage. So it’s probable that the caloric content would be different at any time during your baby’s life.
Try not to waste sleep staying up at night worrying about your breast’s milk caloric content. Research has show us that the volume of milk is the only that truly matters- not the number of calories or fat.
How to Add Calories to Breast Milk
Sometimes mothers will be told that they need to fortify their breast milk for one reason or another. Sometimes this is necessary with slow-growing infants or those that are in the NICU.
I can’t really give you advice on the best ways to fortify your breast milk – I would recommend working with an IBCLC or another medical professional to determine that. However, here are a few common ways:
- Mixing in a small amount of formula to raise the calories. This is typically done based off of the average of 22 kcal per ounce, and there are different charts to show how much formula you would need to raise it a certain amount.
- Another option would be to pump a couple times a day, and let that milk sit in the fridge letting the the fattiest milk rise to the top. Then, simply skim that milk off and put it into a bottle of freshly pumped milk. Once you stop giving bottles and are primarily nursing from the breast, offer this “fortifier” after nursing once or twice a day. But please check with your IBCLC first.
You may not find any information out there on how to increase the calories of your breast milk as there really isn’t a way to do that! Most research shows that you cannot change the calories or fat. You can just affect the quality of the fat.
There is a correlation between more fat being consumed when a baby is nursing from a more empty breast. So if you nurse frequently, your breasts will be more “empty”, which tends to produce fattier milk. It’s a good idea to nurse every 2-3 hours and allow baby to fully drain each side if they want to – and then start the next nursing session on the side you finished on.