Breastmilk or Formula? – A look at the calorie content
When it comes to breastfeeding, we all know mothers can be a tad bit obsessed with the calorie content of what they are giving their child. Is there enough fat content? Will it make my baby add weight? Is it enough to make her chubby? Why isn’t he up to 5kg yet? Why does my breast milk seems light?
Sigh! All these and more questions are what stays lingering on a new mom’s mind in the first few months. Especially a mom that is exclusively breastfeeding in a society where formula is seen as the almighty fat producer.
The difference in the calorie content of formula and breastmilk
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. That means your breast milk can go as high as 35 calorie per ounce depending on a wide range of factors like time of the day, baby’s age etc.
These are, of course, averages. Your body tends to produce milk based on baby’s current stage and age, so it’s very possible that the caloric content would be different at different times during baby’s life.
Infant formula on the other hand has about 20 calories per ounce, which, compared to the average that we know for breast milk, is about 2 calories less than breast milk. There are formulas that are higher calorie, though these are typically used for infants in the NICU or who are having trouble growing.
This shows that your breast milk will on the average contain more calories than the formula. And don’t forget that formula which is produced in a factory does not change according to your baby needs.
Research shows that the volume of milk is the only thing that really matters in regards to infant growth with breastfed babies – not the number of calories or fat. And you can achieve this by nursing or pumping at least 8 to 12 times daily and adding our lactation products to your diet. For the most part, your body creates what your baby needs. You need not worry!
If you are looking for information on how to increase the calories of your breast milk, there’s really not a good way. It is believed that you can’t really change the calories – or even the fat content – of your breast milk. You can just affect the quality of the fat.