For new mothers, the time with a newborn baby equals many emotions at once: exhaustion from lack of sleep, exhilaration at seeing their little one grow, and finally, an adjustment period to becoming a new parent.
Due to the physical demands of being postpartum, new moms may have to let go of some habits they had before giving birth, including certain fitness routines and ways of eating, which affect the baby's weight loss.
Moms who were on the ketogenic diet before pregnancy may be wondering if it’s okay to go back to the ketogenic diet after giving birth. After all, keto diet is a way to lose weight, and new mothers may be looking to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
But if new moms are breastfeeding, they may be wondering if a strict ketogenic diet is safe to do simultaneously or if they should wait until the breastfeeding period is over.
In this blog post, we explore this prior to diving in, we want to note that before making any decision regarding diet choices, new mothers and breastfeeding moms should always consult their doctor.
What is the Keto Diet?
According to Medical News Today, the ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate intake, high fat intake way of eating. The ketogenic diet focuses on foods that provide ample healthy fats, protein, and very few carbs.
When your body reduces its carb intake, it enters a metabolic state called ketosis.
The goal of ketosis is for your body to become more efficient at burning fat for energy, and the diet works by depleting the body of its blood sugar reserves, sometimes reducing blood pressure.
KETO AND BREASTFEEDING: IS IT A GOOD IDEA?
Many of the benefits associated with the keto diet may seem appealing to new moms, such as increased full fewer while consuming less calories, which can help lead to losing weight.
Plus, eating more wholesome foods can help wean people off of processed “junk” foods which contain unhealthy fats, as well as lessen sugar cravings and even reducing food allergies.
However, the ketogenic diet excludes certain foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and some vegetables. Because of this imbalance, in the long run, high fat intake may not be beneficial to new mothers, and here’s why.
Case studies and medical case reports Breastfeeding mothers should consume at least 1,800 calories per day and can safely lose weight (around 1 lb/week). Cutting calories makes this calorie count more difficult to hit and may even decrease breast milk production.
New mothers and breastfeeding moms should try to eat a diet as rich in fruits and vegetables as possible while minimizing empty carbohydrates and junk food.
When new moms eliminate fruits from their diet, the process of ketogenesis (producing ketone bodies) can lead to dehydration, negatively affecting milk production.
For keto diet beginners, the lack of carbohydrates may lead to fatigue, weakness, and brain fog, which can be frustrating and troubling for a mother who is caring for a newborn little one.
In addition, ketoacidosis can occur while on the keto diet, and this condition can be harmful to a breastfeeding mother.
Ketoacidosis develops when the body doesn’t have enough insulin to allow blood sugar into its cells for energy use. Instead, the liver starts burning fat for fuel, and this process produces acids called ketones.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up to levels in the body that are considered dangerous.
It is important for breastfeeding moms to have normal ketone levels.
Based on this research and the reasons listed above, overall, doing a keto diet while breastfeeding is not recommended. This is because the risks of keto diet (low carb diet) while breastfeeding outweighs the potential benefits.
The keto diet is not recommended for breastfeeding women, since the Keto diet can affect breast milk composition.
However, not all is lost! If a breastfeeding mom wishes to follow the keto diet after they’re done breastfeeding, this is fine. Again, we do always recommend consulting with a doctor before making any major health decisions like this!
How to Eat Low Carbs if Breastfeeding?
Even though a strict keto diet is inadvisable while breastfeeding, new mothers can potentially explore the idea of eating low-carb diets.
Consuming at least the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, of carbohydrates will help keep up a new mother’s milk supply to meet a baby’s nutritional needs and keep a healthy baby weight, avoiding weight loss or weight gain out of range.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the carbohydrate RDA for a breastfeeding mother is 210 grams per day.
A recommended method of achieving daily caloric intake is to eat three fruits per day or an extra serving of root veggies so that nutritious food is being consumed while maintaining a low-calorie count.
However, there’s no one way to achieve a low-carb lifestyle and a new mother can mix and match in whatever way is best for them, as long as their physician is on board!
To quickly recap, keto diet while breastfeeding is not recommended, but a less strict low carb diet can be fine when done in moderation.
No matter your lifestyle, new moms looking for a balanced diet can benefit from Proper Good meals!
We have several delicious, ready-to-eat in 90-second meals that include gluten-free, dairy-free, keto-healthy diet safe, and plant-based meals that are never made from anything but clean ingredients, like coconut oil, olive oil, sweet potatoes, etc!
They require no preparation–perfect for those stressful, sleepless nights new mothers experience. And, Proper Good meals provide excellent nutritional value to keep new mothers feeling more energized and nourished.
And yes, we’ve written a few more blog posts perfect for new moms on Proper Good blog–check them out!
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