Can You Drink Protein Shakes While Breastfeeding?
Can You Drink Protein Shakes While Breastfeeding?
Moms juggle so many things in their daily lives, and making sure you and your baby are getting enough of the proper nutrients to satisfy your elevated needs during lactation can just be another challenge in a day of doing all the things #momlife requires. To make things a little easier, it might be time to shake things up with some protein powder! You are probably wondering “Can I drink protein shakes while breastfeeding?”. The answer is yes! Protein powder is a convenient, safe and often-recommended supplement that can make life a little easier for breastfeeding mommas.
When breastfeeding, your body will need additional nutrition, both in calorie and protein consumption. Ask any new breastfeeding mom and they will likely tell you how HUNGRY they are! That’s because during lactation your body needs an additional 300-500 calories a day (and this is for one exclusively breastfed baby). The best way to meet your energy needs during this time is to eat a varied diet consisting of a combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats which can meet your energy needs and provide vital vitamins and minerals for you and your baby. The World Health Organization recommends consuming an extra 17-25 grams of protein per day for the first six months of breastfeeding for a total of 65 grams per day while nursing, however the exact amount you need for your body depends on your weight and variety of individual factors. Since protein is known as the building block of essential processes in our body, the increased intake of protein supports cell growth and development in your infant.
Importance of protein for breastfeeding
Protein serves a variety of functions in our bodies and during breastfeeding in particular protein supports building, repairing and maintaining healthy skin, muscles, organs and tissues for you and your baby. When nursing moms eat protein-rich foods, that nutrition is passed along to your baby through your breast milk and helps grow new cells in their brains, organs, and muscles. Protein also adds satisfaction to your meals and can help you stay fuller longer.
You can find high quality protein through foods such as lean meats and poultry, eggs, milk and yogurt, beans and legumes, fish, and nuts or nut butters. While focusing on getting a variety of these protein sources is best since they provide a range of different amino acids and nutrients, getting in adequate protein as a busy mom can be a challenge. Since proteins often take the longest to prepare, having quick + nutrient dense options on hand can be a wonderful source to meet your protein needs.
Protein powders are a quick, easy and healthy way to add protein to your daily routine without having to cook or clean in the kitchen. Since they are shelf stable you can keep protein powder on hand to:
- Blend into a smoothie alongside some fruit, greens nut butter and greens
- Add into baked goods such as muffins, pancakes, brownies to provide a protein boost
- Take it on the go with you to have a snack ready in a pinch between errands and park play dates
- Use to fuel up after a workout
- Have as a meal replacement if you are on the go & in a pinch
When adding any supplements to your diet while breastfeeding, it’s always good to check in with your doctor or health care professional first to make sure the products you decide to take are safe and right for you.
When should you start adding protein to your diet?
You may have already increased your protein intake while you were pregnant at the recommendation of your health care provider. The American Pregnancy Association recommends eating 75-100 grams of protein a day while pregnant. During pregnancy, it’s best to keep high sugar, low nutrient foods to a minimum and replace them with lean proteins and high fiber foods. Protein alongside complex carbohydrates supports a stable blood sugar and can help minimize nausea that often accompanies pregnancy (thank you, hormones!). Protein shakes are safe to drink during pregnancy, and some clinical evidence has even shown increased protein during pregnancy helps moms recover faster after giving birth.1 Additionally, keeping your protein intake postpartum and during breastfeeding can support your healing from birth, especially in the case of extended laboring, caesarean birth or damage to your pelvic floor.
As a new mom, you know ingredients matter. When selecting a protein powder to supplement your diet the options available on the market can seem endless but they are certainly not all created equal. Since dietary supplements marketing claims are not regulated by the FDA it’s important to keep some things in mind when choosing a protein powder:
- Look at the ingredients and ensure there are no fillers or common allergens
- Stay away from protein powders filled with flavorings, preservatives and artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame or other sugar alcohols
- Avoid chemically modified additives
- Look for an organic and non GMO product to avoid environmental and industrial contaminants
There are essentially two main types of protein powders - whey-based and plant-based.
Whey protein powder is a natural dairy component that is pasteurized and turned into a powder. Your body will process whey just like it processes any other protein you eat. However, if you or your baby are allergic or sensitive to dairy products, you should stay away from whey based protein powders.
Plant-based protein powders are usually made from pea, soy and rice proteins. Pea protein and soy protein tend to be the most allergy friendly and are easily digestible. Both plant and whey based protein powders come in different flavors and may be naturally flavored with healthy sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, honey or organic cane juice, all of which are cleaner options than genetically modified sweeteners.
There are thousands of protein powders available on the market, so be particular and selective in your choice. Boobie Brands Protein powder is uniquely designed to provide superior nutrition to busy moms. Curious to know how our products match up? Here’s some highlights of the nutrition boost our Plant Based Protein Powders offer:
- All-natural, organic, and non-gmo superfoods including sacha inchi, flax seed, chia and turmeric
- A generous dose of fiber and pre and probiotics to aid in gut and immune health
- Contains a proprietary blend of Organic Boobie Blend Herbal Complex, which provides the extra protein needed to support your lactation demands, galactagogues and milk-boosting superfoods like moringa and shatavari root
- Vegan ingredients that are soy free, gluten free to meet your needs whatever stage of motherhood you are in
One of the reasons you chose to breastfeed your new little one was to provide them with optimal nutrition to support health for a lifetime. Boobie Brands products are designed with the needs of today's busy moms in mind so you can feel good about what you are providing for your body, your baby and your family. Cheers!
- Brown, J. Nutrition through the Life Cycle (5th Ed.)
- "Boobie Brands." https://www.boobiesuperfoods.com/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2021.