The Thought Of Starting A Low Carb Or Keto Diet While Breastfeeding Might Seem Intimidating However If It Is Something You Want To Do Just Be Sure To Follow The Tips Above In Order To Safely Implement A Low Carb Diet While Continuing To Breastfeed Successfully
New moms are obsessed with losing fat, and as we all know, reducing the intake of carbohydrates can help you lose weight, which is why a low-carb diet while breastfeeding seems like a good idea. However, inadequate carb intake can also reduce the quality and quantity of breast milk. So, there must be a balance between weight loss and a proper diet.
Eating unhealthy carbs may give a short-term benefit, and you may lose weight, but it can lead to long-term complications. So, always make sure you get a balanced diet with a little bit of everything, including carbs.
Best Foods To Eat While Breastfeeding
So now you have a sense for which nutrients should be worked into your breastfeeding dietbut if you dont have the time to peruse the nutritional facts for every food, heres a rundown of some of the overall best foods to eat while breastfeeding.
Oatmeal. A known galactagogue, oats can actually help boost your milk supply. Plus, theyre high in fiber and iron and help ward off anemia . If youre dieting while breastfeeding, oatmeal is an extra-smart choice, since itll keep you full long after breakfast. Tip: Quick oats are fine, but steer clear of the pre-packaged kind, since they tend to have tons of salt and sugar.
Almonds. Assuming you arent allergic to almonds, these nuts are a fantastic addition to any breastfeeding diet, since theyre packed with both protein and calcium. Another food thats high in both? Yogurt. Go for gold and top off a bowl of yogurt with some sliced almonds!
Salmon. As far as fish goes, salmon is one of the best foods to eat while breastfeeding. Whether wild-caught or farm-raised, it is a great source of protein and DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that helps support babys nervous system.
Beans. Fiber-rich kidney, black, pinto and other beans can be good for your digestive system, and theyre fantastic sources of iron and protein. Its true you might get a little gassy after eating beans, but when passed through breast milk, they wont give your baby gas.
When Can I Start A Low Carb Diet As A Breastfeeding Mom
You can start a low carb diet once your milk is regulated. Typically, this is around month 2 or 3 after your baby is born. If your baby is nursing well, gaining weight appropriately, has plenty of wet and dirty diapers, you can start a low carb diet slowly. Ease into it by first switching the quality of foods youre eating to more whole, real foods . Then, after a few weeks of adjusting to that, slowly reduce the number of carbs in your diet over a few days to whatever youre comfortable with- that may be 125 carbs or 100 carbs.
If youre seeing results in weight loss, stay at that carb amount for a few weeks. Do not drop below 50-75 carbs while breastfeeding, especially if you are new to this eating lifestyle. If you hit a weight plateau after a few weeks, journal your food, start exercising more, but do not drop your carb and calorie requirement.
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Study #: How Does The Keto Diet Affect Breastfeeding And The Babys Growth
Now the second study of this series on keto and breastfeeding. Similar to study #1, the researchers compared a keto and breastfeeding group to a standard group of pregnant mice, but this time, they focused on the mice and their offspring post-birth.
The results were fascinating. The keto mice who were lactating experienced severe physiological strain, and even went into ketoacidosis, a very dangerous complication where the body produces too many ketones, leading to high amounts of acid in the blood. In fact, they ended up dying within a few days after giving birth! This is perhaps due to the increased energy needs during lactation. As moms require way more energy than normal to produce milk, they burn more fat and create more ketones, pushing them way past the state of ketosis , and into the dangerous territory of ketoacidosis.
To make matters worse, the keto and breastfeeding babies experienced slowed growth, indicating that the breast milk from the keto mothers was insufficient in its nutrition, volume or both. In this case, it was a lose-lose situation, for both the mom and the babe. Finally, the keto mice also had lower fertility, and if they did become pregnant, their litter sizes were much smaller than average.
Is It Safe To Be In Ketosis If Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
When youre growing a new person, you want to ensure youre eating optimally for your health as well as your babys.
Since keto helps fix a broken metabolism and can reverse Fat Storing Hormone resistance, both of which can negatively affect a fetus, and it emphasizes nutrient-dense food, youd think it would be a no-brainer to be on a low-carb ketogenic diet during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.
But, curiously, this isnt the case according to some mainstream medical providers.
Lets dig in to see why.
In This Article:
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Low Carb Diet For Breastfeeding: Tips & Tricks
There are a few tips and tricks that can help make the low carb diet for breastfeeding work for you.
- Make sure you have enough calories. The low carb diet is not a weight loss diet, so dont forget to eat enough to keep your energy levels up. Aim for about 1,200-1,500 calories per day, depending on your size and activity level.
- Choose low carb foods that are also high in nutrients. Some great options include lean protein sources, healthy fats, and fiber-rich vegetables.
- Moderate your alcohol intake. Alcohol can interfere with the absorption of important nutrients from food, including calcium and iron. Drinking in moderation is okay, but dont overdo it.
Why Am I Gaining Weight While Breastfeeding And Exercising
The most likely cause of increased weight gain while breastfeeding and exercising is excessive caloric intake.
Take note of all the food you are consuming on a daily basis. Afterward, try to estimate the number of calories you are consuming. You can use an app such as myfitnesspal.com.
Check out this simple calculation below to help you see if you are eating too many calories.
A Simple Losing Weight While Breastfeeding Calculator
In general, you can multiply your body weight by 12-14 to see how many calories you need on a daily basis to maintain your weight.
If you are breastfeeding, you can add ~400 extra calories to that number.
If your goal is to lose weight, aim to decrease this recommended daily caloric intake by ~250 calories or so. If you fail to achieve weight loss with a 250 calorie deficit, then decrease your calorie intake by another 100-150 calories per day.
At the same time, make sure to optimize the other 7 factors listed above.
These things should help you achieve a 1-2 lb weight loss per week.
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Milk Supply May Decline
Consuming a diet low in carbohydrates can cause rapid weight loss, but quick weight loss is definitely not recommended for a breastfeeding mother. A constant milk supply comes from the consistent energy provided by calories. Following a low-carb diet may lower the amount of milk produced by the body, which is not suitable for a newborn baby. You also want to avoid flooding your body with toxins, which can end up in your milk if you lose weight too quickly.
Dont Skimp On Hydration
I think hydration deserves its own section.
This is by far the most underused strategy I can think of. Far too many new moms forget the importance of drinking water throughout the day,
Not only is it critical for breast milk supply, but water intake is necessary for overall health and weight loss.
Drinking pure water is one of the best ways to
- hydrate your body,
- help you lose weight
The more water you drink, the less likely you will consume sugary, high-calorie beverages such as soda, juice, or milk/cream-filled coffee. These are full of empty calories with no nutritional value. This alone will help you lose weight fast.
Get yourself a high quality water bottle and bring it with you wherever you go.
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Ketosis Is Not The Same As Ketoacidosis But
As discussed before, “keto” is called “keto” because you have ketones in your blood. This state is called “Ketosis”. KetoACIDosis is another metabolic state where your blood’s pH level decreases to dangerous levels, from the build up of ketones. This can quickly lead to coma and death.
The biggest argument I always see on pro-keto websites defending the safety of the keto diet is that Ketosis is not the same as Ketoacidosis.
That is true, but consider that the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis is merely the amount of ketones in the blood.
Ketosis: Your ketone levels are between 0.5 to 3.0 mmol per liter. Your blood’s pH level is not affected by it .
Ketoacidosis: Your ketone levels are above 3.0 mmol per liter, which lowers your bloodspH level. Your blood is becoming acidic, which is life threatening and must be treated immediately because even small shifts in the blood’s pH level can lead to vomiting, coma and/or death very quickly .
So, if the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis is merely the amount of ketones in the blood, wouldnt everybody end up in ketoacidosis following a keto diet? How come some people can live on keto for months or even years smart question!
The answer is that most of us have enzymes in place which break down ketones, and this is often enough to keep us out of ketoacidosis .
However, there are a few different ways you can still end up in ketoacidosis:
Low Carb Diet For Breastfeeding: Adjusting The Diet
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best diet for breastfeeding depends on the individual mothers own health and dietary preferences. However, there are a few general guidelines that can help mothers adjust their diet to accommodate breastfeeding.
The first thing to remember is that breastfeeding is an intermittent process, which means that mothers will not be drinking milk all the time. Instead, they will be pumping milk for their baby to drink. This means that mothers will need to carefully adjust their diet in order to make sure that they are getting the right amount of nutrients and calories.
Some mothers prefer to follow a low-carbohydrate diet while breastfeeding, as this will help to ensure that they are getting the right amount of nutrients. However, it is important to
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Some Tips For Moms Who Wish To Try A Low
- Wait until baby is at least 2 months old before dieting waiting until after baby starts solids should be even better.
- Drink enough water to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid a sudden decrease in caloric intake. Start gradually.
- Keep an eye on your caloric intake. Most moms should avoid dropping below 1800 calories per day.
- Most sources recommend that nursing mothers avoid Phase I of the diet, and instead start with Phase II.
- Watch for a diminished milk supply. Keep an eye on babys diaper output and weight gain.
Should Breastfeeding Moms Even Consider A Low Carb Diet
That depends. A low-carb diet is a great option for some women because they can take off weight very quickly. However, diets like Atkins, Keto, South Beach and other Low-carb alternatives can cause some problems for a breastfeeding mom.
Most of these problems are related to what a very low carb diet can do to your body. During the early phases of these diets, you leave out carbohydrates in order to enter a fat-burning stage called ketosis. This burns fat, lessens hunger and flushes water out of the body. However, the ketones released into your breast milk WILL reach your nursing child and they have not yet determined if that is safe.
According to Atkins Health and Medical Information Services:
The reason for is because the only studies that observe ketosis in pregnancy or breast feeding are in uncontrolled diabetics who are in ketoacidosis, not the same thing as ketosis.
There are NO studies that show the safety of burning ketones and its effect on babies . We do know that ketones are found in breast milk. Babies may have a different threshold of tolerating ketones than adults, maybe not, but Im sure you do not want your child to be the guinea pig!
Having said that, as long as you only use the maintenance stage of a low card diet, you will still probably lose weight, but slower and without releasing ketones.
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Consume Enough Fiber And Vegetables
Getting enough vegetables and fiber is extremely important for both your health and the health/development of your baby.
Make sure you are consuming lots of vegetables to ensure adequate intake of certain phytochemicals and antioxidants.
If you dont have time to prepare veggies use a greens supplement to nourish yourself.
How To Incorporate The Keto Diet Plan When Breastfeeding
If you are still adamant about starting this meal plan, we advise you to consult with a professional. They need first to determine if the eating plan is safe for both you and your baby. If it is, they will teach you the Keto diet principles. Most likely, they will recommend a more moderately low-carbohydrate diet that will still help you lose weight but provides adequate nutrition to you and your baby.
The foundation of this eating plan is in its foods. Remember that we mentioned fats make the most significant percentage, followed by proteins, and lastly carbohydrates. Ask your dietitian or nutritionist how you can attain your daily calorie limit without affecting your milk production.
Likewise, ask them to help you create effective breastfeeding and pregnancy low-carb diet recipes or menus that consider your dietary needs and those of your newborn. Keep in mind that there are foods you can and cannot eat when following this nutrition plan.
For example, the keto diet allows you to eat seeds, nuts, full-fat cheese, fish, eggs, fibrous vegetables, plain Greek yogurt, and other dairy products . Ask your nutritionist for help to identify suitable recipes and meal plan ideas.
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Pregnancy And Lactation Puts You At Risk For Ketoacidosis
We just learned that the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis is essentially the amount of ketones in the blood. Generally, if the amounts are higher than 3-5 mmol/L, the blood’s pH level will lower , which is life threatening. Frankly, research has shown that this is rare in healthy, non-pregnant and non-lactating adults. That is because most people have enzymes in place which oxidize ketone bodies fast enough so they don’t increase to dangerous levels .
However, the chances of ketoacidosis seems to increase if the body is also dealing with certain physiologic stressors. This can be in the for of an illness, excessive exercise, uncontrolled diabetes, alcoholism, but it can also be pregnancy or lactation!
Lactation and pregnancy can be “stressors” on the body which can quickly turn ketosis into ketoacidosis.
Several cases have been reported in the literature:
There are several more reported cases, see a selection of them in this systematic review here .
Have Quicksnacks And Food Options To Hand
This can include fat bombs, nuts, eggs, bone broths, fatty coffees, beef, and turkey sticks. I then started to batch cook and freeze meals as this made it so quick when I was running around breastfeeding and doing chores for my 5 kids.
Even mashing up an avocado with salt, pepper with a squeeze of lemon juice is a filling snack. There are endless recipes and ideas for snacks which are great when you are in a hurry.
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Low Carb Diet For Breastfeeding: Tips For Fat Burning
If you are breastfeeding, your body is in a unique position to burn fat. In fact, breastfeeding can help you lose weight, even if you are not following a low carb diet.
Here are some tips for burning fat while breastfeeding:
- Eat a balanced diet. You dont need to completely abandon your favorite foods in order to lose weight while breastfeeding. However, make sure that you are including plenty of lean protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods will help you to stay healthy and energized while breastfeeding.
- Drink plenty of fluids. When you are breastfeeding, your body is constantly working to feed your baby. This can lead to dehydration, which can in turn lead to weight loss problems. Drink plenty of fluids
Low Carb Diet While Breastfeeding: Is It Safe For New Moms
Carbs still have a bad reputation in the dieting world, so its not surprising that many new mothers think that cutting out carbs will help them lose the baby weight quickly. While there are many effective and healthy low-carb diets out there, they arent all safe for a breastfeeding mom. The biggest concern is that carbohydrate restriction could interfere with your milk supply, so lets take a closer look at the risks and benefits to a low-carb diet while breastfeeding.
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