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How many kilojoules do mums who breastfeed need?

It’s no surprise that your energy and nutrition needs go up when you’re breastfeeding. Choose healthy foods and beverages to get the extra kilojoules and nutrients you both need.

2 mins to read Sep 10, 2019

It’s no surprise that your energy and nutrition needs go up when you’re breastfeeding. Choose healthy foods and beverages to get the extra kilojoules and nutrients you both need. As a mum who is breastfeeding, your body needs a lot of energy. You need energy both to create breast milk for your baby and to help you look after your little one!

Every woman is different, but if your pre-pregnancy weight was in the recommended range, you will need between 2000-2100 additional kilojoules per day to produce breast milk. That’s on top of your usual pre-pregnancy energy needs per day. 

Some of these extra kilojoules will come from the fat you stored during pregnancy and the rest will come from the food you eat. Of course you may need more or fewer kilojoules, so check with your healthcare professional if in doubt.

Balanced eating

It’s not just about kilojoules. Eating a couple of extra dessert foods, for instance, isn’t the answer! Healthy foods that are rich in nutrients will help your body produce breast milk and help maintain your own stores of nutrients. 

As a mum who is breastfeeding, you need more nutrients. Some of these include protein, calcium, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA – a type of omega 3 fat), folic acid, zinc, iodine, iron, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and several B vitamins. This means you need to choose nutrient-rich foods so you get the nutrients you need without consuming too many extra kilojoules.

To get you started, see below for suggestions of snacks that combine servings from the five food groups.  
Breastfeeding snack planner using the 5 main food groups.

1 Servings of meat are generally 500-600 kilojoules. Very lean meat (including many varieties of fish and chicken) may have fewer kilojoules because it is lower in fat. Non-meat sources of protein can include 1 cup of cooked beans or lentils, 170g tofu, and 30g nut spread, all of which are approximately 500-600 kilojoules each serve.

Food maths!

Here’s how you might build your own 1600 kilojoules snacks or mini meals from the five food groups.
Mix and match servings (one circle = one serving) from the different food groups to hit your extra-kilojoules goal.