This article is part of a series on breast milk's nutrition facts.
How many calories in breast milk?
Q: I am curious to know how calories are in breast milk? I feed my little one about 30 oz a day, what does that make in total calories intake for him?
A: The range of calories in breast milk can be pretty wide, ranging from 13 kcal an ounce (30ml) to as much as 35 kcal1. The actual amount depends on the mother's nutrition.
Assuming the mother eats healthy balanced meals and no more than the recommended 2,300 to 2,500 kcal per day for nursing women2, then their breast milk should be around 20-22 kcal per ounce.
This means that a baby should eat about 500 - 770 calories from breast milk a day. From the age 6 months onward, solids will be added to baby's diet which is another energy source and should increase their total calories intake. Read our baby feeding guide for more details.
See below an infographic we made based on the assumption that a mother's breast milk is an average 21 kcal per ounce. As you can see in this case if the mother breastfeeds 30 oz (890ml) a day it corresponds to 620 kcal which is the equivalent of a quarter pounder with bacon & cheese or running for 82 minutes!
For more details on this infographic, read our article about breastfeeding and losing weight.
All calories are not equal. We all know it's better to eat 10 kcal of fruits than 10 kcal of candies. Same goes for breast milk, you need to maximize your milk's nutritional value to ensure your little one gets good calories only.
One way to do so is, of course, via your diet. By eating healthy food and drinks yourself, you ensure your baby does too.
We also recommend you drink Milk Boost Tea. It's an ancestral recipe of 13 natural herbs that's been used for centuries. And since it's only made of herbs, it contains zero calories so you can drink it guilt-free.
Among its 13 ingredients Milk Boost Tea contains Dong Quai, a root also known as the "female ginseng" for its wide range of health benefits for women. It also contains Longans, famous for nourishing the blood and helping nursing women recover from childbirth.
You might also be interested by the other articles in our series about breast milk's nutrition facts:
- What are breast milk's nutrition facts? What is it composed of?
- Why is fat so important in breast milk?
- Are colostrum's nutrition facts the same as breast milk?
- Does formula have more calories than breast milk?
- How much proteins are there in breast milk?
- How much carbohydrates are there in breast milk?
1. Lawrence R and Lawrence R. Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 1999.
2. As recommended in the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s maternal diet recommendations. Retrieved on 6th April 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html
Article tags: Breastfeeding and maternity