Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet While Breastfeeding
While breastfeeding, many moms look for ways to shed their baby weight to fit back into those pre-pregnancy clothes. Many moms are curious about the keto diet while breastfeeding because of the mainstream buzz about it in the health and fitness space. You might have heard from your friend about how it worked magic for their weight loss and now you want to make it a part of your routine. But maybe you are left wondering should you do it while breastfeeding? How will it impact you and your baby?
A ketogenic diet is a good way to lose weight while eating moderate carbohydrates and high-fat foods. This diet promotes ketosis in your body. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body starts using body fats instead of its usual energy source (carbohydrates or sugars) to gain energy. People have been using it to treat or lessen the symptoms of many health-related issues for years but now it’s gaining popularity among moms who want to lose weight and gain a healthy body shape back.
Does Science Support a Keto Diet for Breastfeeding Moms?
To date, there’s not a lot of research about the keto diet while breastfeeding, but there are a few publications. Let’s see what one of these says…
In one study, researchers compared the effect of two types of diets on the mother’s energy level, breast milk quantity, and quality. One of the diets was a low-carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet while the other one was a high-carbohydrate, low fat (HCLF) diet.
During this research, mothers were given both kinds of diets on different occasions. The effects of the diet were studied for 8 days that were separated by 7 to 14 days. After completing this whole study, they concluded that none of the diets affected the quantity of milk in any mother.
Milk lactose and protein concentrations also stayed the same in mothers having both kinds of foods. However, fat concentration and energy content in the milk was found higher in the milk of moms who ate the LCHF diet, and their bodies adapted to this low carb diet.
These results proved that eating a low-moderate carb diet does not negatively affect milk production in any way. Moms can still provide their babies with essential nutrients that they need to grow a healthy body and mind. So, mommies who want to lose weight while breastfeeding may use this diet to lose body fat early.
There are a few more studies that report almost the same results. There is no doubt that all bodies are unique and may react to a change in the body in a different way. It’s best to start a keto diet while breastfeeding by working with a health coach like me so that we can really evaluate your goals and understand how many carbs you should be eating in a day.
Tips to Follow If You Want to Try a Keto Diet While Breastfeeding
If you are planning to finally start a keto diet plan then make sure that you know the things that you must avoid and the things that you must do. Here are the expert tips that will help you on your weight loss journey.
- Make sure you eat plenty of calories and healthy fats: As a breastfeeding mom, you need to eat healthy fats to make sure that you produce enough breast milk for your little one. As you are lowering the intake of carbs, your body is adapting to using fats as your source of energy (stored and/or what you eat).
- You can eat nuts, seeds, eggs, wild salmon, full-fat dairy, and similar foods. Make a smoothie that has nuts and healthy seeds in it. They will provide enough fat and fiber to keep you and your baby healthy and active. Make sure your calorie intake does not go below 1,800 calories per day.
- Women, who reduce their calorie intake, may notice a decrease in their milk quantity. So, make sure you pay attention to your milk quantity through your baby’s diaper count or pumping output.
- Don’t follow a really low/super restrictive carb plan. If you’re breastfeeding, follow a moderate carb plan which includes about 50-75 carbs a day, and decrease carbs gradually from there if you aren’t seeing results after tracking calories and carbs for a few weeks.
Do not overburden your body with a strict keto diet while breastfeeding
If you notice that a sudden decrease in carbs is affecting your milk supply then follow a slow and steady strategy. Initially, take 50 to 70g of carbs a day then reduce carbs by 5 to 10g gradually.
Keep an eye on your little one’s behavior, moods, and weight gain. Also, avoid carbohydrate-rich foods like bread and pasta and eat more vegetables and nuts.
Symptoms when beginning the keto diet
A keto diet plan may bring a few changes to your body. Many people experience discomfort when they start this diet plan for the first time as your body detoxes and starts using fat for fuel – this is often called the “keto flu.”
Keep yourself hydrated, drink plenty of water
Your breast milk is 90% water so if you do not drink enough water daily then you may see a decrease in your breast milk supply or start getting cramps or headaches. Eating low carbs makes a few changes in the body and one of them is that your body excretes more and more water.
If you do not drink plenty of water, your electrolytes may get imbalanced, you can become dehydrated, feel dizzy, and become less active than usual. So, drink at least 10 glasses of water daily, even more, if you can. Try not drinking too much right before bed as frequent bathroom visits at night may disturb your sleep quality.
Keep a track of your diet and see how you feel
What is the use of feeding your body a low carb diet constantly when you do not see any change in the weight? Initially, it may benefit you to keep track of what you’re eating so you don’t over-consume calories. Even though you’re eating lower carbs, you can still eat too many calories.
There are many apps available on the internet that can assist you in this weight loss journey. You can also reach out to me to get a proper diet plan and discuss your weekly success or hurdles.
Pay attention to how your body feels while trying keto while breastfeeding. You may find that you need to increase or decrease your carbs based on how you feel. Always listen to your body (and baby).
Keto Diet Plan Recommendations for Mamas
A healthy keto diet that makes sure you still get enough energy to keep moving and performing daily activities has 60-65% fats, 20% protein, and 15-20% carbohydrates in it. If we keep this division in mind then here are the diet options that you can use and still provide your body enough nutrients.
For breakfast, try a 3 eggs frittata that has mushrooms and peppers sprinkled on it. Cook it in coconut oil or ghee, and have a side of avocado and blueberries as well. It will not only give your body high-fats, but eggs will give enough proteins to keep you fit and healthy. Another diet plan you can use for breakfast is drinking a fresh smoothie that has berries like strawberries and nuts in it. It will not only boost your energy level but will also make you fresh.
For lunch, you can try making a salad with your favorite leafy vegetables, some fruits, nuts, wild salmon, and cheese. You can add olive oil or any other healthy oil and a few teaspoons of lemon juice as well. For dinner, one of the low carb meals that you can enjoy is grilled steak with a side of broccoli that is marinated in olive oil and salt, and a ¼ of sweet potato if you need a few extra carbs. If you still want to eat more, then you can try eating cheese, boiled eggs, and salmon jerky as a snack.
A keto diet while breastfeeding is a great way to have more energy, and feel more confident in your body. I’ve used it for myself, and my clients that need to move past a weight stall especially when paired with intermittent fasting. If you want to learn how a keto diet may help you, apply to work with me here!