Last Updated on March 24, 2023 by Jada Glover
There are many forms of weight loss supplements on the market. In fact, the weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry.
As a result, there are many tactics used to try to convince moms that their solution is the next best for weight loss, even if you’re breastfeeding. So, it is important to understand what is safe and not safe to take while you’re breastfeeding your little one.
I am a certified health coach and lactation counselor and in this post I am sharing weight loss supplements that are safe to take while breastfeeding. As a reminder, be sure you consult with your medical provider before taking any new supplements.
Can I Safely Take Weight Loss Supplements Safe While Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can take natural weight loss supplements while breastfeeding. Watch out for supplements or labels that say they are safe while breastfeeding also.
Even if it says that, you should always watch your baby for adverse reactions like being fussy or changes in behavior. Avoid stimulant supplements like the ones listed below as those aren’t healthy for either of you.
There are some ingredients that are not recommended while breastfeeding. The following ingredients are commonly found in weight loss supplements and are not recommended for breastfeeding moms.
They contain stimulants in some form (natural or synthetic) and they may affect your baby’s hormones or sleep cycles.
- High doses of concentrated caffeine, including Yerba Mate
- 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)
- Some herbal laxatives and diuretics if taken in high/concentrated doses (senna, dandelion root)
- Herbal mixes which can be hard to detect if your baby is sensitive to one, or if you supply drops as a result. Sticking to single ingredient supplements or ones that are not shown to impact breastfeeding are best.
Reasons To Take Weight Loss Supplements While Breastfeeding
There may be a reason why you’re looking to take weight loss supplements while breastfeeding. Do any of the following sound like you?
You Hit a Weight Plateau While Breastfeeding
Some moms feel like they’re stuck at a certain weight while breastfeeding. Maybe you want to take a weight loss supplement to kickstart your metabolism or make it easier to lose weight.
You Suddenly Start Gaining Weight While Breastfeeding
If this is you, know that you are not alone. Many moms end up gaining weight while breastfeeding.
The good news is there are steps you can take to get your weight under control without jeopardizing your milk supply with questionable weight loss supplements.
Jumpstart Your Metabolism
There is this idea that we need to jumpstart our metabolism again after having a baby. The reality is, our body just needs to be restored with key vitamin and minerals to ensure it can function at its best, even while breastfeeding.
Increase Your Energy
Maybe you’re feeling depleted and in need of an energy boost. That is why most people take stimulant type weight loss supplements.
But, these are often harmful to our bodies and can drastically affect our babies also. A cup or two of coffee each day typically won’t negatively affect your baby, but finding natural ways to avoid additional stimulants is important. You can read more about coffee and breastfeeding here at Fab Working Mom Life where my friend, Julie, shares a Guide to Coffee for Breastfeeding Moms.
You Always Feel Hungry
Nursing your baby requires extra calories, but you may be consuming too many calories. You should not consume less than 1,800 calories per day if you’re nursing a baby (breastfeeding or pumping).
But sometimes we get carried away if we have cravings or can’t put down the food.
Is It Necessary To Take Weight Loss Supplements In Order To Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?
It is not necessary to take supplements labeled for weight loss in order to lose weight while breastfeeding. In fact, my suggestion is to follow a more natural approach so that you can continue to nourish your baby and maintain a healthy milk supply.
You can, however, take supplements that will aid your body in hormone repair after having a baby and balancing out other key nutrients in your body.
What Are The Best Weight Loss Supplements That Are Safe While Breastfeeding?
The weight loss supplements that are also safe for breastfeeding listed below will be the best for you to consider. These supplements are considered safe and will help boost your natural ability to lose weight while breastfeeding.
1 – Postnatal Vitamin
Getting your basic vitamins in is crucial as a breastfeeding mom. This will promote weight loss by giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform at its best while producing milk for your baby.
This will reduce cravings also. Unfortunately, we just don’t eat as many vitamins and minerals as we should, since our food supply is not set up that way anymore (in most western countries).
If you need help I have an entire post dedicated to picking a postnatal vitamin, where I break them down for you and include my top recommendations. Be sure yours includes calcium and B Vitamins.
A whole foods derived vitamin is the best since it contains more ingredients that your body can use (rather than synthetic vitamin forms).
2 – Omega-3
Omega-3 fish oils have many benefits. If you can’t consume at least 6 ounces of fish (wild caught salmon is the best source) 1-2 times a week, then supplementing is your best bet to get these healthy fats into your diet.
Omega-3s help your heart and your skin, and are known to help you lose weight as well. Studies also show that moms who took omega-3s after having a baby had reduced risk of postpartum depression and anxiety.
3 – Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is important for many reasons. Calcium is only absorbed when Vitamin D is present in your body.
It also aids in boosting your immune system and keeping your mood elevated. All of these things are a good source of healthy weight promotion.
Coupling it with Vitamin K2 also aids in the absorption of Vitamin D3. Nursing moms should also be taking Vitamin D3 so that their baby’s receive an adequate amount through their breast milk.
Exposing you and your baby to natural sunlight a few times a week in short increments with no sunscreen (10-15 minutes) is also a great way to get Vitamin D.
4 – Magnesium
Most of the population is deficient in magnesium, which means your body isn’t getting what it needs to function optimally. Taking a magnesium supplement will help you sleep better, reduce bloating, reduce cravings, and help you use the bathroom regularly.
You can also get magnesium from foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, peanut butter and black beans.
5 – Inositol
When taken with folic acid (which should be in your postnatal as folate), inositol is a helpful supplement because it aids in blood sugar control. Breast milk is naturally rich in inositol too.
There are not enough studies to say it is 100% safe while breastfeeding. Be on the lookout for any gastric discomfort issues you or your baby may experience if you choose to take this supplement.
6 – Choline
Choline helps the body burn fat, resulting in more effortless weight loss. Choline is also needed for infants’ brain development (as well as DHA) and they get it through breast milk.
According to the CDC: “A mother’s need for iodine and choline increases during lactation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend lactating parents consume 290 mcg of iodine and 550mg of choline daily throughout the first year postpartum.”
Choline can be found in dairy and protein food groups, such as eggs, meats, some seafood, beans, peas, and lentils. Also check your postnatal to see if it contains any before supplementing.
Looking to lose weight while breastfeeding?
Check out my Postpartum Weight Loss Program for Breastfeeding Moms – created just for breastfeeding to lose weight without losing milk supply!
In need of just a breastfeeding meal plan? I have created a 21 Day Meal Plan for breastfeeding moms- check it out here!
7 – L-Carnitine
Amino acids are naturally in the body to help repair muscles. L-carnitine is an amino acid that is generally considered safe to take while breastfeeding.
It helps the body produce energy and is good for heart health. As with all the supplements listed in this post, consult with your doctor before taking this. Supplementing with L-Carnitine may have interactions with thyroid medication.
8 – Collagen Powder
Collagen can help repair your body after having a baby. You can add it to smoothies and it is hardly noticeable. It also contains protein to help you not feel hungry all the time and feel full longer.
9 – Protein Powder
Eating enough protein is important as it helps you feel full longer, and replenishes your body with long lasting energy. Try one of these breastfeeding friendly protein powders and make a weight loss breastfeeding smoothie to incorporate a vitamin and protein boost to your daily routine.
10 – Water, Water, Water
This may seem like a silly thing to include as a weight loss supplement to lose weight while breastfeeding, but water is SO important and will help give you energy, repair your body, keep you full between meals, and help your skin look great.
Drink at least half your body ounces in water per day. I hear so many moms say they don’t drink enough water. This one is easy, so definitely start with this.
Squeeze some lemon or drop some fruit (strawberries, lime, lemon, cucumbers) in your water to make it taste better. You can also try coconut water for extra electrolytes and a different taste.
11 – Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may seem gross at first, but putting 1-2 tablespoons in a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon isn’t so bad. Do this up to three times a day and you may even notice a decrease in your appetite naturally.
You can even use it in your salad dressing if you prefer. The benefits of apple cider vinegar are great.
It aids in digestion and keeps your bowel movements regular. It is also shown to speed up your metabolism, reduce cholesterol, and lower blood sugar levels (naturally!).
Apple cider vinegar has many uses, so keep a bottle of Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar handy in your kitchen. If you prefer capsules, you can also buy apple cider vinegar in this form.
12 – Caffeine
While caffeine in high doses and concentrated forms is not recommended while breastfeeding to help you lose weight, you can drink up to five 5 ounce cups per day of caffeine – coffee, tea, etc. Keep in mind, it is not recommended to exceed 500 mg/day.
Use this guide to estimate the amount of caffeine in beverages and other foods like chocolate.
Every baby is affected by caffeine differently, so watch for adverse reactions in your baby like disrupted sleep patterns or extra fussiness. Otherwise, you can safely drink green tea or coffee in moderation in the amount above.
Some foods also contain caffeine and need to be figured into your total consumption for the day. Caffeine in high doses or supplementation in concentrated form is not recommended while breastfeeding.
Caffeine can give your metabolism a boost naturally, give you energy, and keep you feeling full. Don’t forget to drink water though – tea and coffee can dehydrate you.
Why Are Natural Weight Loss Supplements Best While Breastfeeding?
Natural weight loss supplements are a great alternative if you’re breastfeeding. Instead of giving your body chemicals that it can’t process well, and may affect your baby while breastfeeding, you can give your body natural solutions that will help it perform its best in a natural state.
With options listed above, you can find one or a few that may help you in your journey to lose weight while breastfeeding. These will not work overnight and should always be combined with a healthy diet.
No supplement is going to fix an unhealthy diet- so eating real foods 90% of the time is essential for any of these to work.
Taking the correct weight loss supplements while breastfeeding is safe, and in the right circumstances they can help moms lose weight postpartum.
You may not notice an immediate affect with these supplements, but in combination with a healthy breastfeeding diet plan full of whole foods and super seeds like chia, flax, and hemp, you will start to see results.
Be sure you are not just watching the scale, but also taking into consideration how you feel. Incorporate an exercise routine a few days a week to see even better results.
You can lose weight while breastfeeding in a healthy way – patience and positive self talk are also key!
*Always consult with your medical provider before taking any new supplements.