I'm So Hungry While Breastfeeding!

Updated on August 12, 2010
E.A. asks from Marietta, GA
15 answers

Hi ladies,

I'm breastfeeding my 4 month old son and am getting ready to go back to work so I'm pumping more to build up a supply in the freezer. I've been STARVING the last few days, especially after our 3am feeding. Has anyone else had this experience? I'm not restricting my calories - trying to eat right, though - so I'm not sure why I'm so hungry. I haven't been eating any differently.


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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for your responses, ladies. I had a major "d'oh" moment when I read your replies. I'd forgotten how hungry I was right after the baby was born and I was first starting to breastfeed. I just didn't think that a few extra ounces a day (pumped) would make that big of a difference! I'm paying more attention to healthy snacks and have added a box of granola bars to the cribside table for that 3am feeding! I'm taking a Nature Valley prenatal - and I've loved using since I started trying to conceive.

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answers from San Francisco on

Oh yes, I was too. I ate so so much. The baby is taking from you so you need more to satisfy you both.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Nursing takes up an outrageously enormous amount of calories. You really do need to eat more (just make sure to eat healthy). Totally same experience as you, and I nursed for 15 months! I was always hungry, and if I didn't eat, I would get just really weak and irritable (so sorry hubby!). I lost 20 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight which I think most women would love to say, but I haven't weighed 100 lbs since I was in high school.

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answers from Portland on

I was hungrier while breastfeeding than I was the entire time I was pregnant. You're making food for another human being, it's to be expected! :)
Congrats on breastfeeding!!!!

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answers from Gainesville on

haha! After I had my son I felt like a starving dog! The day after he was born I ate 4 (yes, 4) full meals and snacks! The good news is it does slow down. Just your body's way of telling you it needs a little extra.

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answers from Atlanta on

Hi E.,

Your little one is taking all your nutrition. You don't get hungry if you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need. ( I was ravenous with my first daughter to the point of once ordering two meals when I went out....) Are you still on your prenatal? You need to be. If you are, then it is not absorbing properly and you need to look into a different one. Some vitamins "show" the ingredients but if they are not absorbing what good does it do? I am on a vitamin that is guaranteed to absorb and I feel it. My husband lost 110 pounds on this vitamin because he was getting his nutrition and not having to seek out more food to find it.

If you don't go the vitamin route make sure you satisfy your hunger so you can make sure the baby is getting what he needs. If you'd like more info, let me know.

Hope I helped!


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answers from Dallas on

very normal - the extra pumping is sucking more calories out of you, so that's prob why you're more hungry. i remember eating like a hog the whole time i breastfed all three of my kids, but especially in the early days... i always kept a jar of peanut butter and a box of the graham cracker sticks next to my bed - it was easy one handed snacking with a good protein source & a carb(i dipped the crackers in the pb). if you're hungry, be sure to eat - you don't want to end up with a supply issue or end up running yourself down.

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answers from Nashville on

I would get awful hunger pains as soon as my milk let down every single time. It took me a few days to figure out what was going on because I was so tired and concerned with latch and stuff, but once I realized it was happening every single time, I started keeping cereal bars in the drawer next to where I nursed. Because there was seriously no way I could wait until he was done to get something to eat. Most people said that happened with being thirsty, but for me it was definitely hunger.

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answers from Columbia on

on average a mother uses an extra 500 calories daily while breast feeding. If you are pumping and still reaguarly feeding you could be burning a lot more. go ahead and eat some more...if you are really concerned about your weight try almonds, popcorn...even a tablespoon of peanut butter here and there throughout the day. don't cut your callories too much because it could impead your milk supply. good luck:)!


answers from St. Louis on

I have just noticed this with when feeding my almost seven month old son in the middle of the night. I feel ravished. Most of the time I just go back to sleep because I'm nursing him while laying down and am too tired to get up! But I am usually very hungry when I get up in the morning too!



answers from Jackson on

I'm experiencing the same thing right now. I have a really big baby (2month old weighing 17lbs) so I guess it's my body's way of telling me that we both need more nutrients. I'm also always thristy...ALWAYS. I've been eating and drinking so much I thought I was pregnant again!



answers from Atlanta on

Breastfeeding burns an obscene number of calories--like 500 a day or something like that--so you do get hungrier. Keep eating healthy snacks and small meals throughout the day and know that it's normal. :)



answers from Spartanburg on

All breastfeeding moms I know felt hungry all the time... I was starving constantly, could never get enough food! At the beginning I had to snack during the night too, after the night feeds. Not very convenient! Firstly your body really does need more calories to produce the milk, secondly breastfeeding generates automatic feelings of hunger, thirst and tiredness. Some moms (like me) lost a ton of weight through breastfeeding, others didn't, but I think all felt hungrier! The increased pumping could be the reason your hunger has increased the last few days...


btw E., what is the vitamin you take???!


oops I meant Mimi!



answers from Charleston on

Don't forget that calories are only one part of the nutrition equation. There's fat and protein too! Make sure you're getting enough healthy fats in your diet each day, as they will help keep you satisfied. Probably the easiest way would be to use olive oil/vinegar on a salad, and maybe eat around 1/3 of an avocado each day. Not to mention some fatty fish a few times a week. It's normal though, so make sure you have a snack nearby! Something that has complex carbs, fiber, and some protein. A little yogurt with some home made granola would be good! Way to go with the breastfeeding!!!



answers from Reno on

Then have a snack. It just means you're making more milk and more hindmilk so your body needs more sustinance. :)



answers from Atlanta on

r u kidding? u know what a job breastfeeding is and if you've upped yours then u are doing extra. we women don't realize we are super heroes and super heroes (heroines) need food for power. Breastfeeding 30 min. is equivalent to doing cardio...like walking 1.5 miles or something like that (don't quote me on the statistics), but it's something along those lines. I used to put a pack of peanut butter crackers and water on my nightstand for the nite time feeding (middle of the night/a.m. feeding) or a granola or fruit bar. Don't skimp on the extra calories u need to keep you going...just don't get them in the form of brownies (which would be my food of choice)...good luck

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