How Many Calories Does Pumping and Breastfeeding Burn?

Last Updated: February 8, 2020

If you are curious to know how many calories does pumping and breastfeeding burn. Well, you are in the right place!

You may also want to know if pumping burns as many calories as breastfeeding. That can be answered here today as well!

There are even pre-calculated calories burned from pumping and I’ll show you how you can easily calculate them yourself.

Ready to feel the burn?

Pumping is my cardio

Can Pumping Help You Lose Weight?

According to an article on, breastfeeding moms need to consume around 2,200 to 2,500 calories per day. This works out to be around 500 extra calories while producing breast milk.

As long as a breastfeeding mother is only consuming the surplus calories her body is using to produce milk, she should not experience added weight gain.

However, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet while breastfeeding is always ideal.

Speaking of losing weight while breastfeeding, is that really possible without also losing your milk supply? 

It can be, with the help of The Postpartum Cure. Which is a unique online course for breastfeeding moms to help them get back to feeling healthy and fit.

Without losing their milk supply!

The Postpartum Cure was developed by a fit mom with four kids who has learned how to stay healthy and feel good without compromising her breastfeeding goals.

Feel free to take a further look for yourself by clicking this link.

For the mamas who are still in the early stages of their pregnancy, she has a course for you too! The very popular, Belly Only Pregnancy Program.

How to Calculate Calories Burned from Breastfeeding

Although determining the exact amount of calories burned during breastfeeding is not able to be predicted perfectly. It is possible to closely estimate the number.

Something to also take into consideration, is that every one is unique and no two breastfeeding mothers have identical outputs, metabolisms or babies with the same beast milk requirements.

Having said that, it is estimated that a lactating woman (nursing a newborn) can produce between 25 and 32 ounces of breast milk per day.

This amount of milk produced is supposed to burn between 300 and 500 calories as an average.

Calculating Calories Burned for Exclusively Nursing Mothers

First, you will need to determine how much breast milk your baby is consuming per day. You can figure this out by weighing your baby before and after feedings.

Using a scale like this one from Amazon will make this process super simple and accurate.

Next, subtract your baby’s weight from before a feeding against after a feeding and write that number down. This number will result in how much breast milk your baby consumed during that feeding.

At the end of the day, you should have multiple numbers from each feeding. Add all of these figures together to get the total amount of breast milk for that 24 hour period.

Read: 9 Breast Pumping Questions Most Commonly Asked – Answered

Breast Milk / Calories Calculator Formula

Below is the formula for how to find how many calories does breastfeeding burn. 

  • 1 ounce of breast milk = 20 calories
  • Multiply the number of ounces baby consumed by 20 (calories in 1 ounce of breast milk)
  • Take the total from that equation and divide it by 0.8 (production efficiency 80%)
  • Minus postpartum basal metabolism

Postpartum Basal Metabolism:

  • 0-4 months = 300 calories 
  • 4 months = 400 calories
  • 6 months and up = 500 calories

# of ounces of breast milk in 24 hrs. x 20 (calories in one ounce of breast milk) / 0.8 (production efficiency) – postpartum basal metabolism = calories burned breastfeeding

Here is an example: 32 x 20 / 0.8 = 800 – 300 (nursing a newborn) = 500 calories burned breastfeeding

Read: Weird Breastfeeding Facts and Pumping Phenomenons

Calories Burned from Exclusive Pumping

Next, lets figure out how many calories exclusive pumping burns. If you needed some extra encouragement to just keep pumping, this may be it!

Check out the calories burned pumping calculator chart below and then keep reading to learn more!

Calories burned pumping calculator

As you can see from the chart above, the process of discovering how many calories burned while exclusive pumping is somewhat similar to exclusively nursing.

However, it is much easier to see and calculate exactly how much breast milk is being produced throughout the day as an exclusive pumper. 

For example: 40 ounces breast milk produced in 24 hours x 20 (calories in 1 oz. breast milk) / 0.8 (energy required to make the milk) = 1,000 calories burned.

No wonder exclusive pumpers are starving!

So ladies, using the equation and calculations above, you would need an extra 1,000 calories per day to produce 40 ounces of breast milk in 24 hours.

I’d say this is a huge bonus for those of us who cringe at the thought of pumping around the clock. Instead of looking at it like an unpleasant chore, think of it as your workout for the day.

Read: Pumping and Dumping Rules While Breastfeeding: What Are the Facts?

How to calculate calories burned infographic


You should now easily be able to calculate how many calories does pumping burn. As well as exclusive nursing. This article was very technical to write and made my very un-mathematical brain hurt lol. 

Even so, this info is something fun to know and is hopefully also helpful! 

Here’s a quick look back at how to process the calories burned while pumping or breastfeeding.

  • Determine how many ounces of breast milk you have made in 24 hours
  • Take the total number of ounces made in 24 hours and multiply that number by 20
  • That number then needs to be divided by 0.8

Also take note to remember that there are 20 calories in 1 ounce of breast milk.

Additionally, if you are exclusively nursing, using a scale to weigh your baby before and after feedings will help you determine how many ounces of breast milk to count.

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Read Next: Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedules: A Complete Guide


  1. Baby Center Medical Advisory Board: Article; “Diet for a Healthy Breastfeeding Mom”
  2. Very Well Family, Donna Murray RN, BSN: Article; “Breastfeeding and the Calories You Eat”