Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Jada Glover
If you’re ready to lose weight after having your baby, you can try a modified keto diet to help you. There are certain parts of the keto diet that you’ll want to stay away from, like zero carb counts. But you can still lose weight using a modified version – especially if you are breastfeeding.
As always, be sure you reach out to your doctor before introducing any new diet into your routine. Let’s review how to go about doing Keto after pregnancy!
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Can You Do Keto Postpartum?
Yes, you can do keto postpartum.
You’ll want to be sure your milk is regulated and you follow a modified carb count per day, rather than a strict zero or very low carb version of the popular diet. Doing keto postpartum has many benefits.
Benefits of Eating a Keto Diet After Pregnancy
Eating a keto diet after pregnancy is very beneficial. Oftentimes moms overindulge in pregnancy. If this was you, do not worry!
Eating a whole foods keto diet after pregnancy will help you regain your energy and strength postpartum. It will also help you lose weight even while breastfeeding, if you monitor your overall calories and don’t overdo the keto treats.
For me personally, I find it easier to cut out all the “keto treats” you may find on the market. For me, it was easier to eat a little bit of lower sugar fruit when I wanted something sweet.
This way my body was able to absorb the vitamins from the fruit and use the fiber to help me feel full. Low sugar fruits and small amounts of starches from whole foods like sweet potatoes are allowed on a modified keto diet.
A modified keto diet with more healthy fats and protein also supports lower blood sugar levels and better heart health.
How To Do Keto After Pregnancy
I do believe that a wide variety of nutrients are important while you’re breastfeeding to get the best milk supply and quality of milk. For a general healthy way of eating as well, carbs are important when they come from real food sources.
That’s why it’s important to follow the following steps to do keto after pregnancy.
Step 1 – Start Keto Once Breast Milk Supply Is Regulated
Do not start a keto diet (or any diet for that matter) before your milk is regulated. Typically, this means about 3 months postpartum. Your milk is regulated when your body is producing milk well and your baby is getting plenty to eat.
If you’re getting ready to go back to work at this time, start a keto diet a few weeks after you’re into a new routine, so you don’t stress your body.
What you can do immediately after you deliver your baby whether you’re breastfeeding or not, is to eat real foods. If you ate more junk food than you’d like to admit in pregnancy, now is the chance to start getting your vitamins and minerals.
You can do this by eating foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, wild caught fish, pasture-raised meat and poultry, and nuts and seeds. You can also include warm bone broth for the gelatin to help your body repair itself. Bone broth is low in carbs but super nutritious for you and can be started right after birth.
Some moms see a drop in weight just by switching the types of foods their eating (cleaner, real foods).
Step 2 – Start Gradually
If you’re planning to follow a keto diet after pregnancy, you have to start gradually and continue with a gradual approach. This will help you maintain milk supply and not put yourself into a detox state which can be harmful for you and your baby.
Start by switching the types of foods you’re eating so you feel the best when you start lowering your carb count. This means more vegetables, legumes if they don’t bother you or your baby’s digestion, low sugar fruits (berries are great), eggs, nuts, seeds, wild caught or pasture raised animal protein.
You may even have to revisit this step if you’re experiencing a drop in milk supply. Usually moms don’t lose milk supply, if they gradually reduce carbs and don’t go lower than about 50-75 carbs per day.
In general, calories make milk, not the number of carbs you’re eating per day. However, I still think some carbs from real foods are an important macronutrient for your milk quality and your own health.
Step 3 – Determine Your Initial Carb Goal
In terms of actual carb count per day, this will vary based on your maternal factors. Generally speaking, it is best to monitor how many carbs you’re consuming now.
Then, switch to eating only real foods (no cookies, cakes, white flour pastas, etc.) in that carb amount. Finally, slowly reduce carbs by 10-15 carbs at a time. Allow your body a week or two to adjust each time you reduce the carb count.
I go over calculating carb count in much greater detail inside my Keto and Breastfeeding Video Workshop + Quickstart Guide.
You can also use the below food journal to monitor what you’re eating in a day. This will help you keep track of your food and macronutrients like carbs, protein, and fat.
You don’t have to monitor forever, but it is important to know where you started. You can also keep track of your body measurements and weight, and create goals and keep track of rewards for yourself.
Your total calorie count is important too, if you’re eating more calories than you’re using in a day, you probably won’t lose weight. Your calorie need will vary based on your age, activity level, pre-pregnancy weight, goal weight, height, how often you’re breastfeeding, etc.
Many factors go into how many calories you need to eat in a day.
Step 4 – Drink Water & Add Electrolytes
Make sure you’re drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. This means, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should be drinking 90 ounces of water per day (at least)!
Breast milk is made of water, and while you are on the keto diet, you will be needing water to flush fat from your body. This is a gradual process following this approach, but water is still an important part of the process.
Track your water to ensure you’re getting enough. Also add electrolytes to your water.
At least one glass of water a day should contain electrolytes. You can use Ultima electrolyte mix or add Himalayan salt and lemon juice to your water.
Step 5 – Monitor & Listen To Your Body
Listen to your body. Assess how you’re feeling before you continue to reduce the number of carbs you’re eating. Do not go lower than 50-75 carbs at any point, but remember to keep your calorie intake appropriate (especially important if you are nursing twins or tandem nursing).
If you are having any symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramping, seek medical help and do not follow even a modified keto diet. You may have insufficient carb stores combined with an inadequate amount of carb intake.
Also, monitor not just your weight but also how your clothes fit. If they start fitting looser, than you know what you’re doing is working! Continue that carb amount until you stop seeing results.
Always keep an eye on your milk supply. Do a pumping test if you’re exclusively pumping, and always monitor your baby’s behavior.
If your baby starts getting more fussy and wanting to nurse more, pay closer attention to diaper output. If it is reduced (less pees and poops), your baby may not be getting enough milk.
Increase your carb count, reset, and revisit step 2. If your baby is getting more fussy, this could also mean teething, a growth spurt, illness, or just tiredness. You’ll have to assess more than just how your baby is acting.
Eating Keto After Pregnancy But Not Losing Weight
If you’re eating keto after pregnancy but not losing weight, I would encourage you to take a step back and use a food journal to write down exactly what you’re eating and drinking for an entire week. I emphasize write it down.
It will be more impactful than keeping track of it in your phone. Write down everything.
Also write down how you feel when you wake up each morning and go to bed each night. You can try lowering your carbs by 10 for a few days, and then increasing them again to see if you can break a weight plateau.
Then, revisit this list of steps. Start gradually. Only eat foods with real nutrients. Avoid as many processed food items as possible. If it comes pre-made in a package or has more than 1-2 ingredients, it probably isn’t “real food”.
You can also get a complete guide and step by step approach in my keto after pregnancy program here: Keto and Breastfeeding Video Workshop + Quickstart Guide.
You can implement a Keto diet after pregnancy, but make sure you are doing it the right way so both you and your baby have all the nutrients needed.
Following a keto diet after pregnancy can have many benefits like more energy, weight loss, and feeling healthier and better in your skin. It is important to eat the right amount of carbs for your body and the right kinds of foods in order to see the best results.