If your goal is to lose weight while breastfeeding, some low carb foods may be helpful in not only helping you lose weight but also increasing breast milk supply.
Many low carb (keto) foods are high in nutrients, meaning they will give your body the best chance at being healthy to make the most milk for your baby.
In this post I am reviewing the best low carb foods that will also increase your breast milk supply.
Does Eating Low Carb While Breastfeeding Affect Breast Milk Supply?
Absolutely, yes! Eating low carb while breastfeeding can affect your breast milk supply. Depending on the number of carbs you’re consuming and the types of low carb foods you choose, this can positively or negatively affect your breast milk supply.
Although studies have found that moms can provide breast milk for their babies, no matter their diet type, the quality of foods you choose can affect the nutrient ratio in your milk and also your body’s general well being. A properly fueled body will produce the most and best quality breast milk for your baby.
It is best to follow a modified low carb diet while breastfeeding. My philosophy is all nutrients are important while breastfeeding, including carbohydrates in moderation.
When we choose carbs from whole foods like sweet potatoes and other real foods, we are giving our body nutrients that it can use and process. Aiming for carbs in this category is best, while limiting carbs from refined sugars such as white flour and white sugar (like cookies, cakes, pasta, etc.).
Doing any sort of extreme diet while breastfeeding, including a zero or very low carb diet or a very low calorie diet can have a negative affect on your breast milk supply. It can also cause toxins in your body to be secreted through your breast milk and releasing them to your baby.
This can cause extra fussiness for your baby, and you really don’t want your baby exposed to toxins from your fat when it leaves your body. A moderately low carb diet with healthy, real foods, is the best way to lose weight while maintaining or increasing your breast milk supply.
The Best Low Carb or Keto Foods That Increase Breast Milk Supply
Low carb or keto foods can actually increase your breast milk supply, especially if they are packed with nutrients. If you weren’t eating healthy foods prior, you may also see a benefit to your overall health from the vitamins and minerals in these foods.
Here’s my list of the best low carb foods that will increase your breast milk supply.
1 – Salmon
Wild-caught salmon is an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fats. It is also rich in vitamins for you and your baby. The omega-3s help to balance your mood and aids in your baby’s brain development.
Wild-caught salmon is a low carb food that will give your body key nutrients to make breast milk with a more balanced fat ratio profile. I am a big fan of the pouched wild-caught salmon because it is sustainably sourced from wild fish and easy to add to any salads or make salmon salad.
2- Leafy Greens
Vegetables of all sorts, including dark leafy greens, are packed full of key nutrients needed for you and your baby. These are especially good for giving you nutrients such as calcium.
You can make salads, hot dishes, or breastfeeding smoothies with dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, alfalfa, lettuce, and broccoli.
3 – Nuts
Certain kinds of nuts are low in carbs and offer plenty of nutrients like healthy fats and protein that are good for breast milk supply. Here’s a list of the best low carb nuts in this case.
- Pecans – helps regulate blood sugar
- Macadamia nuts – high in B-vitamins and magnesium
- Brazil nuts – very high in selenium which is essential to regulating your metabolism and thyroid function
- Walnuts – supports weight loss and brain health
- Hazelnuts – high in fiber and healthy fats
In addition to using these nuts as snacks and toppings, you can find many nut-based dips for your celery and carrots or make sauces out of them instead of using cow/dairy products.
4 – Coconut
Coconuts are sometimes considered a nut because they are one-seeded fruits, but they deserve their own category because they are so healthy and nutritious. Coconut is a low carb food when eaten in moderation.
Be sure to check your labels for added sugar if you are purchasing coconut water from the grocery store (this will add to the carb/refined sugar count that you do not want in your diet if you are trying to lose weight). Drink coconut water in place of regular water once every day or so to get electrolytes in your diet.
5 – Seeds
Seeds like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, and chia seeds are stocked with healthy fats that will keep you full and satisfied while giving your body the fuel it needs.
This combination mix of seeds is a great addition to smoothies or full-fat plain yogurt. Like nuts, they are low carb when eaten in moderation and offer nutrients that your body needs to produce breast milk.
The plant estrogens found in fennel and sesame seeds especially may help you produce more milk. You can eat seeds as a snack, or add them to your salads and smoothies.
6 – Avocados
Avocados are a superfood that offer healthy unsaturated fats that help to lower the bad cholesterol in your diet. They are packed with over 20 different nutrients including unsaturated fat, fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, and potassium.
My favorite way to eat avocado is right out of the shell. I cut it in half, scoop out the seed, add a pinch of Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lime juice, and eat it with a spoon.
It is filling and I know I’m eating a healthy low carb food. You can also purchase electrolyte drink packets that taste great and help you without added sugars.
7 – Ginger and Garlic
These are two very low carb superfoods that are great additions to your smoothies (ginger) and other dishes you may cook. They add anti-viral properties and can boost your immune system which can aid in milk production.
Both are considered galactagogues as well, which are substances used to make more milk. Fresh ginger root can be used in fresh ginger tea to help with your letdown reflex and milk production.
Be sure to watch out for signs of gastric discomfort in your baby. Some are affected by too much garlic, while others prefer the taste of garlic-flavored milk and may actually nurse longer.
Here is a great supplement that combines turmeric and garlic for anti-inflammatory effects. Do not take turmeric if you are pregnant or suspect being pregnant. Always discuss medications and supplements with your doctor before starting new ones.
8 – Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast can be sprinkled in dishes or added to salads for a boost of energy and other important vitamins like B-vitamins, iron, and chromium. It is used to increase breast milk supply in powder form.
Does Eating Carbs Increase Milk Supply?
Eating carbs can increase your milk supply as every macro-nutrient serves a purpose in our diets. However, a modified keto/low carb diet is sufficient to get the carbs we need to make milk.
If we switch our diets to focusing on nutrient dense, whole food forms of carbs instead of cookies, pasta, rice, and other heavy white starches/carbs (which have less nutrients and more sugar), we will see a difference in our diets and weight loss results.
Real food with real ingredients is the key.
If you want to learn more about this type of diet to lose weight while breastfeeding, be sure to check out my Keto and Breastfeeding Workshop & Guide. In this program I walk you through how to start a low carb diet while breastfeeding.
I also include tips for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding, which is a health tool you can use to aid in reducing hunger from sugar and other cravings.
More Tips For Breastfeeding Moms To Boost Milk Supply On a Low Carb Diet
Losing weight while breastfeeding may seem difficult, but when you stick to eating whole foods that are nutritious and tasty you can lose weight. Here are some additional tips to help you boost milk supply on a low carb diet.
- Nurse at the breast or pump whenever your baby is drinking a bottle. Do not skip any pumping or nursing sessions, even if you don’t see any milk coming out. The more milk you remove from your breasts, the more your body will produce.
- If you suspect a drop in milk supply be sure you add in healthy carbs from the above list and then remove again if necessary.
- Add electrolytes to your diet by drinking coconut water with no added sugar or adding a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water once per day.
- Drink nursing teas with herbs like fennel, blessed thistle, and milk thistle. They are easy to prepare and can give you the boost you need without adding extra calories or carbs to your diet.
- Drink plenty of water – at least half your body weight in ounces per day. Water is so, so important to breastfeeding and losing weight. Breast milk is 87% water, so it is important you’re drinking water to replenish what you’re using to make milk and for your other bodily functions.
- Take time for yourself at least once per day, even if it means getting up before the kids or going to bed 15 minutes after they go to bed.
- Exercise when you can or at least get outside for 15-20 minutes per day for a walk or playtime with your children. This will help you get fresh air and Vitamin D from the sunlight.
If you are on a Keto diet, be sure to try our list of the best low carb foods that increase breast milk supply.
This list of low carb foods will kickstart your way to a Keto diet while breastfeeding. Focus on these real foods and reducing processed foods and you will see results.
Drink plenty of water and electrolytes, and don’t skip any nursing or pumping sessions. Finally, for more help…