As a first-time mom, there are so many terms you may have come across already.
In breastfeeding alone, you may have encountered terms like exclusively pumping or exclusively breastfeeding.
And since every mom wants to give the best for her child, you may decide to breastfeed your child exclusively.
But what if that’s not something you can easily do with a full-time job? The answer is in pumping breast milk.
Yes, you can pump your breast milk even when you’re in your workplace and keep it in a cool place to maintain its freshness.
When you get home, you can either store it in your freezer or give it to your baby to consume.
Because it is now so easy to pump breast milk, many moms have turned to the option of exclusively pumping breast milk for their baby.
Exclusively pumping simply means you collect milk from your breasts to feed to your baby without direct latch.
Instead, you use a bottle to feed breastmilk to your baby and he’ll still be able to get the nutrients that it contains.
It is called exclusive because you do not feed your baby formula milk.
Now you may already know that there are health benefits that breastmilk can provide for your baby.
But what about you? Does pumping burn calories as well?
In this article, we’ll go through the pros and cons of exclusively pumping your baby and get to know if you can lose weight by doing it.
Benefits of Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk
Even though you are not feeding your baby directly from your breasts, your baby can still get the full benefits of your breastmilk.
Here are some of the benefits pumped breast milk can provide for your baby and for your own health:
1.) Benefit for Your Baby
Whether you are directly latching your baby or feeding him expressed breast milk through a bottle, he will still get the full benefits that it produces.
Here are just some of the benefits of breastmilk to your baby:
- Breast milk contains antibodies that give your baby added protection from certain diseases and infections.
- Breast milk is easier to digest than formula.
- Breast milk is nutritious and contains what your baby needs to grow and develop well.
- Breast milk reduces risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
2.) Benefit for Mom
On the other hand, moms get to enjoy some of the pros of exclusively pumping breast milk instead of unlimited direct latching.
Here are the benefits of exclusively pumping breast milk for moms:
- Allows other caregivers to feed the baby
- Serves as a good option if breastfeeding becomes uncomfortable
- Gives you freedom to be away from baby even for a short period of time
- Perfect option for working moms who want to exclusively breastfeed their baby
- Allows you to lose weight too
That definitely answers the question: does pumping burn calories. But we’ll talk about that in more detail.
3.) Cons of Pumping
Now that we’ve talked about the pros, what are the cons of exclusively pumping breast milk?
- Likely to stop breastfeeding earlier
- Requires more support
- Can overfeed a baby when drinking from a bottle
- Your baby may miss out on direct mother-baby bonding that breastfeeding provides
The first three cons can be remedied easily. As for the last con, you can still do this by holding your baby close when you are pumping.
This will allow your baby to get skin-to-skin contact even if he is not directly latching on your breast.
Does Pumping Burn Calories
So does pumping burn calories? The short answer, yes. You can still lose weight even if you are exclusively pumping breast milk.
Whether you are pumping or nursing your baby, you are still burning calories. The process of producing milk itself already burns calories in your body.
Still, if you are trying to lose weight, it is important that you discuss it first with your doctor.
As a nursing or pumping mom, you should not lose more than 1.5 pounds per week.
Especially if you intend to exclusively breastfeed your baby through a bottle or direct latch, you still need to eat right.
Try to consume 1500 to 1800 calories per day.
Remember, you are still carrying an extra 3 pounds in your breasts and this is all tissue and fluid.
1.) How Many Calories Does Breast Milk Contain?
Every ounce of breastmilk you express contains around 20 calories. If you are keen to learn just how many calories your breast milk contains, pumping milk can be an advantage for you.
This is because you’re able to accurately measure your output and see how many ounces you produce everyday.
Compared to directly nursing your baby, you can actually calculate the number of calories in your breastmilk production.
The formula for calculating the total calories in your breastmilk is (# of oz x 20).
So for example, you pump 22 ounces of breastmilk every day, this means that you produce 440 calories.
This comes from your fat stores and the food you consume, which is why you have to be mindful of what you are eating.
2.) Do You Burn the Same Amount of Calories When You Pump?
Another concern of exclusively pumping moms is if they produce the same number of breastmilk compared to nursing moms.
And the short answer to this is yes.
Basically, if you are producing more milk, you will get to burn more calories. So if you are oversupplied, you actually burn more calories compared to nursing.
This is because your body is producing way more milk that will be actually consumed by your baby.
And what do you do with that excess milk? You can store it for emergency purposes or even donate it to other moms who need breastmilk for their newborn.
3.) How Do You Burn Calories Pumping?
The basic answer here is that when you do anything, your body actually uses calories. Even the simplest act of breathing or pumping your heart will already require calories.
And in order to produce milk, your body uses calories too.
That is only a portion of why you are burning a lot of calories when you are breastfeeding.
The milk you produce also contains calories that are derived from your body. These calories are being expressed from your body.
This will then signal your body to use more calories to make milk and push it out through your ducts.
It’s an ongoing cycle until you start to wean your baby and stop breastfeeding him.
So if you are exclusively pumping, you need to remember to do it often and to empty your breasts all the time.
When your breasts are full and engorged, you will burn lesser calories.
This is because full breasts will signal your body that your baby is full. As a result, it does not need to produce more milk.
Important Tips About Exclusively Pumping
If you decide to exclusively pump milk for your baby, you may need to build your stash from the start.
This is particularly true if you will be going back to work soon and your baby will be exclusively fed with your breastmilk.
To start, you can pump 8 to 10 times a day with 2 to 3 hours of break in between.
Once you have built your stash and increased your output, you can already start pumping less frequently.
Remember though that if you want to lose weight quickly, more frequent pumping will help you do that.
Here are some of our tips to make sure pumping will be a smooth-sailing experience for you:
1.) Eat Healthy
You may be so eager to lose the weight you gained during your pregnancy, but make sure you do it at a safe pace.
At this time, your baby is your priority and you would definitely want to give him the best quality breastmilk that you can produce.
Give yourself a month or two to heal instead of rushing weight loss. You should also start establishing your milk supply before considering working out.
If you follow a healthy diet and pair it with breastfeeding or pumping, your weight loss will naturally happen.
2.) Use the Right Tools
Choose a comfortable breast pump that is also easy to use.
There are so many different breast pump options these days that you can find one according to your lifestyle.
Even if you are at work, you can continue to express milk by using a wearable breast pump since it is quiet and wireless.
Just remember to get a consultation from your lactation doctor before you decide to use a breast pump. This is so you can have a comfortable experience and not have to worry about mastitis or other conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will pumping more help me lose weight?
Pumping, combined with a healthy diet, will help you lose weight.
You should also remember that when you frequently express milk, you will lose weight much quicker.
How many calories do you burn pumping breast milk?
You can burn from 200 to 600 calories per day when you pump breast milk.
This is a rough estimate, however, and will depend on a number of reasons such as your pumping session and how many times you pump milk per day.
What are the side effects of breast pumping?
Without proper guidance, you may encounter the side effects of pumping.
A common mistake that many new moms make is that they don’t carefully pick out the pump they will be using.
When you’re picking out a pump to buy, always remember to get one that comes with your nipple size or have an insert ready to use.
Otherwise, you may experience having clogged ducts that would later lead to mastitis, if left untreated.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.
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