Doing Keto and breastfeeding along with many keto topics are very controversial, so I decided to dive right in. Is it safe to do the keto diet while breastfeeding? Keep reading and I’ll explain everything you need to know about giving your baby the best start to life.
What have studies shown?
Studies have shown that babies are naturally born in a state of ketosis and benefit from using fat for energy, not that need to much at this point. One study in 2009 compared a low carb, high fat diet to a high carb low fat diet in women breastfeeding. The daily production of milk as well as the daily milk the infant took in remained the same. Neither diet affected milk lactose or protein concentration. Although fat content was higher in the low car high fat diet. The results showed Mothers who led the keto way of life could lose more weight without affecting milk production. While still giving baby everything he/she needs.
So breastfeeding while on keto doesn’t hinder or harm Mom or baby. In fact I think it optimizes how they absorb nutrients, as long as Mom is drinking plenty of fluids while breastfeeding as we know breastfeeding alone requires plenty of fluids but breastfeeding while on Keto is going to need more. In my article “The Importance of Electrolytes” I go into more detail about why it’s important to stay hydrated and to know the sign of any type of deficiency.
Things to keep in mind
If you do choose the keto diet while breastfeeding, keep these tips in mind:
- Stay well hydrated (we lose more water on a keto diet because the carb intake is less & you need more water breastfeeding in general)
- Eat enough calories, especially healthy fats. Do not go hungry!
- On a keto diet you need to keep your electrolytes up: sodium, potassium and magnesium.
- Recommended dose of sodium is 3,000-5,000 mg per day.
- Recommended dose of potassium daily is 3,000 mg per day.
- Recommended dose of magnesium is 500 mg per day.
- Listen to your body, it knows more than you think.
Breastfeeding alone will help you to lose that extra baby fat you’ve packed on and while your breastfeeding there really is no reason to “diet”. I would recommend the keto lifestyle to maintain health and to give your baby the vegetables and good fats he or she needs but I wouldn’t start this way of life if you’re just trying to lose weight. Right now your role in babies life is to keep he or she healthy and happy.
I’m sure you already know all of this but us Mommy’s kind of come last after baby is born, yes it’s important to take time for yourself. Its important to make sure your getting all the nutrients and healthy food in your body in order to give baby what he or she needs.
Rest is also a very important part of taking care of baby because our little bambino’s can sense when we are not well or unrest-ed, if we are anxious or depressed and this plays a big role in babies life. I also wrote an article on Keto and depression if you’re interested in how Keto can help stabilize your moods. I realize that breastfeeding is time consuming and requires sometimes 2 hours at a time of sleep but try and relax in between. Stress is one thing I know for sure that can limit your milk production and affect babies mood.
Also don’t feel like you’ve failed your baby if it’s just too much, after having my children there was a lot of pressure to stick to breastfeeding no matter what. Sometimes though there are obstacles and stresses that are just overwhelming and when you can’t get control of these emotions, if affects baby negatively and it would be better for both Mom and Baby to switch to either pump your milk or switch to formula. This is not a shameful thing and no one should be made to feel that way if you have done the best you can, you have done your job.
Don’t just take my word for it
Because I am not a Doctor nor have any profession in breastfeeding, I decided to contact just such a person. Dr. Jack Newman is a well known breast feeding guru, and he had this to say in response to my concerns about breastfeeding while on keto:
“The concentration of ketones in the milk should be extremely low and any baby in good health should be able to handle them without any trouble. There is no evidence that this diet affects milk supply. I get asked this question not infrequently, and the Mothers carry on just fine. If there is a problem, its probably not because of the ketogenic diet.” This is information that I would trust beyond a shadow of a doubt. I was not aware at how well known Dr. Newman was until I reached out for some help with breastfeeding myself.
Dr. Jack Newman is highly reputable and I used his resources a lot when I was breastfeeding as I have three children and breast fed each one. Each one was a difference experience and posed different obstacles. One of which was not producing enough milk, I emailed Dr. Jack Newman’s clinic and they got back to me sooner than I ever expected. They sent me a whole write up of what I could do and a medication that could help me. I took this to my Doctor, not only my Doctor but the nurses were quite impressed that the reputable Dr. Jack Newman answered my request. I was prescribed the medication and succeeded at giving my baby the best start at life I could.
Dr. Newman has written some books as well, one of which called “Breastfeeding: empowering parents“. I recommend reading all the material you can on topics Dr. Newman has produced.
Not discrediting formula fed babies at all, formulas are specifically designed to nurture babies specific needs as well.