This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and wieghtloss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
Should you follow the keto diet while breastfeeding? If you are trying to lose weight while breastfeeding, and looking for the right diet to follow, you may be wondering about the very popular keto diet. Your diet while breastfeeding is so important, it’s no wonder thousands and thousands of people have read this post I wrote. I talk a lot about health and wellness for breastfeeding mamas because I am one! I am slowly weaning my third baby now, and I’ve breastfed all three of my boys for about a year with a plentiful supply thanks to my best tricks. The keto diet is so popular right now, I’m sure many breastfeeding mamas are looking into it to help lose the baby weight. Well, I am here to look into it with you and discuss why it may or may not be a good idea while breastfeeding. Remember I’m not a doctor, just another breastfeeding mama on sharing all I know about being healthy and losing the baby weight from my experience. If after reading this, you aren’t sure the keto diet is right for you, please check out my specialized program, with a full meal plan, recipes and grocery list just for breastfeeding mamas to lose weight, NOT THEIR MILK! I also have core rehabilitation, Diastasis Recti healing moves, and a full workout program to help you lose the weight. There isn’t another comprehensive program like this out there!
First, let’s go over the basics of a keto diet.
The idea is that you are eating lots of healthy fats, protein and minimal carbs to stay in ketosis. That means basically that your brain is functioning off ketones, rather than gluclose. Ketones are made from fat, so essentially you are burning and using fat as fuel, not carbs. If you are using fat as fuel, then your fat stores will be used to fuel your brain. This is super basic, but I feel confident you probably have a good idea of what the diet is. I talk about this as a weight loss method for 2018 in detail in another post.
The foods you focus on are ones like butter, cheese, ground beef, bacon, eggs, avocados, nuts and other high-fat foods. The carbs consist of vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, lettuce, green beans etc. Not much fruit is eaten except for berries and low-sugar fruits.
As a breastfeeding mama, I have a few issues just because I love sweet potatoes, oatmeal, chocolate, apples and nuts for my breast milk supply. But, here’s the research on healthy fats for breastfeeding.
First, babies are using fats as their main source of energy. They are basically in ketosis according to a few studies (study 1 and study 2). Fat is fabulous for newborns and healthy for breastfeeding mamas. Breast milk is 50-60% fat, so by eating lots of fat, you are ensuring your milk has all the fat it needs as well. PerfectKeto quotes a study done in 2009 that looked at the effects of a LCHF (low carb high fat diet) and a HCLF (high carb low fat diet) on breast milk and the infants.
Results from this study showed the following: Regardless of the diet, daily breast milk production and daily infant breast milk intake remained the same. Neither diet had an effect on milk lactose or protein concentration; however, milk fat concentration and the energy content of milk were higher during the LCHF diet than the HCLF diet. Infants’ energy intake (kcal/day) was higher during the LCHF diet than during the HCLF diet. The estimated average maternal energy expenditure and the sum of maternal energy expenditure plus milk energy content were higher during the LCHF diet than during the HCLF diet.
PerfectKeto doesn’t link to where they found this study, but I’m assuming it’s quality information. I also read this woman’s experience breastfeeding while on a keto diet, and it struck me that she’s totally right. Cave women have been breastfeeding children with no carbs, sugar or grains really since the beginning of time. Completely excluding grains, processed carbs and sugar shouldn’t affect your supply at all, unless you drop your calories tremendously from eliminating those foods.
Eating enough veggies to ensure you get vitamins and nutrients, as well as drinking enough water to digest the fat and protein is going to be super important for a keto diet while breastfeeding. In addition, monitoring your unique body is probably the most important part. Your body will tell you if something isn’t quite right. So will your baby. If you need more food ideas, here’s 5 foods you’d never guess increase milk supply, and some fabulous protein powders for breastfeeding mamas! I also talk about the cleanest protein powder for breastfeeding. Ora Organic is my top choice if you need a good protein powder that doesn’t taste bad, and is super safe for breastfeeding mamas.
I personally think there’s no problem with the diet at all in general for breastfeeding. If you feel great, and you’ve already adjusted to being in ketosis before you start breastfeeding, chances are you will do great and produce plenty of milk. If you want to start the keto diet, postpartum as a means to lose the baby weight, just start slow. You can work on eliminating carbs little by little, so your body can adjust. Also, just keep note of how your baby feels and your milks supply. If you notice that your milk supply starts to drop, check out these super tips from my sister and I to get it back up, and slowly increase your healthy carbs. Don’t just binge on bread or cookies in a panic. There are so many factors that go into breast milk production. Once your supply is back, try eliminating carbs at one meal for a few days, then eliminate for two meals. Slowly find your happy place of low carb and high milk supply.
So many mamas are having such success with the program, and let me share what they’ve said:
“I’m on the 14 day clean eating part and already feel a change. I love that your program caters to nursing moms. These recipes are boosting my milk supply! Thanks again and can’t wait to use the new app!”
“As far as counting calories, yes that was so helpful!… it was an eye opener…But your concept of reducing ever so slightly and monitoring milk supply was so helpful! I have lost 6lbs-yay!- and have 12 more to go! I am encouraged for sure because it is usually not until I’m done nursing that I’m able to lose weight. So I’m all in for hopefully the rest of my life-on clean eating like this and exercise! Thanks so much for your help!!”
“Feeling GREAT on this program!!! It’s unbelievable how eating clean makes such a difference. Let me rephrase that…it’s amazing the difference eating nutrient dense foods makes! My skin is glowing and I’m already shedding pounds! I also tried the first workout today and did well although I had to modify a bit and omit the backwards burpee (I had cesarean just over a month ago and don’t quite feel ready for that exercise just yet but I will get there). Loving this plan! Thank you SO MUCH for tour help!”
“The few changes I’ve made to diet per your instructions is already helping lower my sweet cravings. I’m sure I’ll notice an even bigger difference when I get stricter. This week has been great as I feel better, have already lost 2#, and haven’t seen a drop in milk supply which was my biggest concern. I look forward to starting the workouts tonight!”
“The baby steps have been super helpful including writing down everything I ate…Another 5 days would be amazing, I was thinking yesterday what am I going to do after the 5 days are finished. You have been incredibly helpful!! I am so appreciative!!!”
My program focuses on specialized nutrition for breastfeeding moms, recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, a new Ab Rehab + Pelvic Floor Restore program, and a new section on going back to work after baby coming soon!
The price is increasing once my certification as a Pre/Postnatal Exercise Specialist and the iOS app is out! Make sure to grab it now, while it is super affordable!