There is lots of advice on what to eat and what not to eat when you are pregnant and breastfeeding, including avoiding alcohol and increasing folic acid intake.
When it comes to supplements, it is best to take medical advice to ensure they are safe for you and your baby.
For moms who are looking to take protein powder, you may be wondering how it will affect you and your baby.
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Protein is an important part of our diet as it helps to increase and maintain muscle mass and can help our body repair when it is injured or order stress.
As a micronutrient, good protein levels in our diet can help promote good wellbeing with impacts on our physical and mental health.
Many people increase their protein intake when they want to build their muscle mass and become leaner and fitter.
Protein can be consumed in your daily diet, with eggs, yogurt, nuts, and lean meat all containing high levels. Protein powder and protein shakes are popular ways for people to reach their daily protein intake if they plan to take in a high level as part of a health routine or a diet.
Protein powers are an effective way to increase the level of nutrients in your diet but many moms will be questioning if they are safe to enjoy it when breastfeeding.
Is Protein Powder Safe when Breastfeeding?
When you are breastfeeding it is important to meet your nutritional needs, which often means increasing the amount of protein you consume.
Protein powder, alongside a healthy diet, can help you lose some of your pregnancy weight and will allow you to build up muscle mass that has been lost during pregnancy.
The nutrients contained in protein powders and shakes can also give you more energy and increase your mental awareness, which can be depleted through tiredness.
The ability to consume good levels of protein in an easy-to-make drink is also very convenient for busy moms.
If you are wondering if protein powders are safe for you to drink when you are breastfeeding and this is a sensible question to think about.
In general, protein powder is a good addition to a breastfeeding mom’s diet but care should be taken when choosing which product you buy.
With so many brands of protein powder on the market and many different recipes and ingredients listed in different shakes, It is important that you fully check that it is safe to use when breastfeeding.
When you know that the ingredients listed on a brand of protein powder are safe, the answer is certainly yes—protein powder can be consumed by nursing moms.
In fact, it can enhance your nutrient intake and support your milk supply. It is always advisable that you enjoy a varied diet so be mindful to eat protein-rich food rather than simply replace food with shakes.
It is also wise to look at the sugar content in protein shakes as it can be very high.
How much protein should I have when breastfeeding?
Now that you know that protein powder while breastfeeding is ok, you may be wondering how much you can consume when nursing.
As protein can help boost your immune system and repair damaged cells, it is an essential part of a mom’s diet.
As a nursing mom, you will not require any additional protein in your diet than what is expected of any woman but the amount you need will vary depending on your weight and age.
On average, you will need 71 grams of protein in your diet but this can be more if you are following a particular protein-rich diet.
Some weight loss and fitness diets contain more protein and fewer carbs and fats but you should follow a plan that has been designed by a nutritionist rather than simply increasing your protein intake.
When thinking about what protein powder to use when you are nursing, you will want to consider the following:
- How much protein you currently consume without supplements
- Are there any protein-rich foods you can eat to enhance your intake
- Do you have allergies or intolerances to any protein-rich food
- The additional calories you will need when nursing
- Vitamins and minerals that you need to add to your diet
- How easy it is for you to cook nutrient-rich foods
By exploring these questions you will be able to evaluate how much protein powder you need to take each day.
If, for example, you have a busy day ahead and cannot cook then a shake may be best but on days when you have more time and have protein-rich food in the fridge then you can skip a shake.
The best protein powder when nursing
Pure protein powders are best when you are nursing so that you can be assured what is being passed on to your baby in your breast milk.
As mentioned, you want to avoid certain protein shakes that may not be suitable when breastfeeding or may not be beneficial for you and your baby.
Whether you are shopping online or in a grocery store you should always check the ingredients list and avoid anything that looks highly processed.
Too much sugar and artificial ingredients should be avoided where possible, but, on the odd occasion, it will not be an issue.
It is best to look for natural ingredients and, if possible, organic. You should look out for the following:
- Vitamin B complex
- Amino acids
- Digestive enzymes
- Healthy fats
- Absence of heavy metals
- Omega 3 fats
Additional ways to boost protein
If you are looking at other ways to boost your protein intake as you do not want to use protein powder all of the time you can try the following:
- Eating oatmeal for breakfast topped with nuts and seed
- Snacking on nuts and seeds while nursing
- Adding beans and legumes to your diet
- Buying protein yogurts
- Eating lean meat, especially turkey which is also low in at
- Drinking protein-enriched water
- Cereal bars and protein bars are good for snacks and energy boosts
Should I use a whey protein powder when nursing?
Whey-based protein is the most popular type of protein but you can now easily come across plant-based powders and shakes. Pea protein is particularly easy to come by now.
The type of protein you buy will come down to personal taste and it may be that you try a few different types of protein, whether that be whey-based, dairy-based, or plant-based.
Can protein shake aid breast milk production?
In general, protein will not boost your milk supply even though some products will advertise as supporting breastmilk production.
There are some brands of milk that are designed specifically for nursing moms but enhanced milk production has not been scientifically proven.
By drinking protein shakes and protein water you will ensure that you have additional hydration which in turn will help you keep a good milk supply, but this is due to the water intake as opposed to the amount of protein you are consuming.
If you are drinking too many protein shakes or using protein powder as your main source of nutrients then your overall calorie intake may decrease, which will impact your milk production.
It is vital that you stick to a healthy diet that includes the main food groups so that you have a well-balanced diet.
Best Protein Powders when Nursing
If you search for the ‘best protein powder when breastfeeding’ you are likely to come across hundreds of different options and easily become overwhelmed.
While having a good number of options can be a good thing you may be struggling to decide on which protein powder to buy.
Much of your decision will around the cost of each powder, the ingredients, how easy it is to source, and, ultimately, the taste.
You can buy lactation protein powders that are designed to support nursing moms but they do not necessarily offer anything different than standard protein powders. Some of the best protein powders on the market are as follows:
Milk Dust Protein Powder—an organic plant-based powder with a great taste that can help fight sugar cravings
Naked Whey Protein—this grass-fed organic protein is free from additives and will make sure you and your baby are getting the best nutrition with no nasties
Majka Nourishing Lactation Protein Powder—contains methyl folate which is essential for good brain development in babies
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder—A vegetable-based that contains vital nutrients and tastes great
All of the above protein powders can be used in shakes, smoothies, and acai bowls or simply mixed as per the instructions on the packet.
You can make your protein shake more exciting by adding nuts, nut betters, fresh fruit, seeds, and natural syrups to enhance flavor and add additional protein.
If you are ever unsure of what protein powder you should use or how much you should have each day, talk to a dietician or nutritionist who can help you with your breastfeeding diet plan.