Are protein shakes safe while breastfeeding?
That is a common question our OB/GYN, Dr. Doug Penta, MD is asked frequently by new breastfeeding moms.
The answer is generally yes, protein shakes are safe while breastfeeding. But as with many things related to pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum/breastfeeding stage, you should always discuss it with your own doctor or midwife.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that breastfeeding women consume an additional 25 grams of protein a day while breastfeeding.
The best way to get enough protein while breastfeeding is to eat whole foods that are high in protein like chicken, beans, yogurt, and fish low in mercury like Cod and Haddock.
But as a new mom, it isn’t always easy or practical to be sure you are consuming enough calories or protein through whole foods alone.
Are Protein Shakes Safe While Breastfeeding?
Yes. Protein shakes are a ready source of calories and protein that can help you feel fuller longer and help you stay hydrated while breastfeeding
It is critical that you drink a lot of fluids while breastfeeding.
Dehydration can cause you to have low milk production and cause a host of breastfeeding problems.
One of the best things you can do to ensure a good breastmilk supply is to stay super well-hydrated.
If you are a breastfeeding mom who is always on the go protein shakes may be an excellent way to help you get the extra calories and protein you need to ensure a good milk supply.
An increase in protein has been shown in studies to improve the quality and quantity of breastmilk that breastfeeding moms produce.
Protein shakes come in two types:
- Ready to drink
- Protein Powder
Protein shakes are made with different types of protein:
- Whey protein – What is whey protein?
Whey protein is a byproduct of making cheese it’s the portion of milk that separates from the cards.
It is the most widely used protein supplement and it is considered safe to use while breastfeeding.
- Casein protein – what is casein protein?
Casein protein is another byproduct of processing milk.
When they process milk into cheese they get weight protein and casein protein case and protein is also made into protein powder.
They are both dairy-based proteins that are good for you when you are breastfeeding.
Some people find it difficult to digest dairy products and there are several other sources that are used to make protein powders that can be more easily digested for people that have milk allergies or difficulty tolerating protein powders made from dairy products.
- Pea protein- what is Pea protein?
Pea protein powder is made from yellow peas also known as split peas. If you’ve ever had split pea soup you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Pea protein it’s considered to be easily digestible.
Pea protein is excellent for people who have a gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance it’s also made with no animal ingredients so if you’re a practicing vegan pea protein may be just what you’re looking for while breastfeeding.
The biggest complaint about pea protein is the taste.
The protein can be a little bitter.
It is made from yellow peas and they can be somewhat chalky tasting.
I tried it and thought it had a bean-like taste, was very chalky, and would not be my first choice of protein powder.
There are ways you can mask it so that you don’t get the taste of the pea protein and still get the benefits.
We will share some recipes below that we feel do a great job of masking the taste of the Pea protein powder.
- Egg protein – What is egg protein powder?
Egg protein powder is exactly what it sounds like it is the protein that is found in an egg thats been isolated and made into a powder.
And we don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t just eat the eggs and get all the benefits if you’re breastfeeding.
It’s probably best for breastfeeding moms to consume the whole egg then you get the protein and the calories from the eggs.
We know that a breastfeeding woman needs about 500 additional calories a day to keep her milk supply up.
- Brown rice Protein – What is brown rice protein
Brown rice proteins are a powder form of brown rice.
The biggest drawback to brown rice proteins for breastfeeding women is that brown rice protein can be high in arsenic.
When you are wondering are protein shakes safe while breastfeeding?
It might be helpful to think about drinking whey protein shakes if you can.
Whey protein is made from milk that separates when cheese is made.
I like protein shakes made with whey protein.
They taste more like a regular protein drink to me.
Many people prefer to drink plant-based protein shakes.
But be careful if you choose a plant-based protein over a dairy-based protein.
Plant-based proteins often contain more sugar or sugar substitutes to mask the taste of the plant-based protein.
Protein shakes made from whey protein can also contain high levels of sugar and other additives so you want to be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully.
All protein powders can be high in heavy metals, so reading the ingredient label is extremely important.
In our opinion, egg and rice protein powders are a waste if you are breastfeeding.
You’d be much better served by eating a whole egg or two.
Rice protein powder is a cheap filler and not comparable in nutrition to the other forms of protein powder available.
I preferred ready-to-drink protein shakes over protein powder when I was breastfeeding and in postpartum.
It was just so much easier to grab a ready-to-drink shake out of the fridge than have to deal with protein powders and scoops and clean up a mess from making the shakes.
Ready-to-drink protein shakes are going to be more expensive than purchasing a large container of protein powder.
But I feel when you’re a new mom and you’re breastfeeding that convenience is more important than saving a few pennies.
We love Premier Protein while breastfeeding.
They come in many different flavors and we have not found a bad one yet.
As I am sitting here writing about protein shakes and breastfeeding, I’m drinking premier protein meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding.
Protein powder while breastfeeding
If you are looking for the best protein powder while breastfeeding, I’m going to suggest:
- Premier Protein
We recommend these if you are looking for a protein powder for breastfeeding and weight loss.
Do protein shakes help with breast milk?
It depends. They can if they are being used as a supplement and you are getting enough calories and you are staying very well hydrated.
When it comes to increasing breastmilk fast, the most important thing you can do is to nurse more frequently, pump more often and after nursing and use power pumping.
The second most important thing you need to be doing is maintaining your hydration. Normally an adult should drink 64 ounces of water a day which is about 8 eight-ounce glasses.
A breastfeeding woman needs to drink an extra quart or an extra 32 ounces of water a day.
This is one of the ways that drinking protein shakes can be beneficial during breastfeeding. They can help you stay hydrated.
When you are a newly postpartum mom and you are sleep-deprived and trying to master breastfeeding it can be very easy to become dehydrated very easy. Getting dehydrated will hurt your milk supply.
So long with drinking protein shakes also keep a water bottle with you.
It’s so important to stay hydrated really well hydrated when you are breastfeeding you need to drink far more fluids than you probably think.
If you’re going to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding you want to make sure that you’re getting the most benefit from them.
So it’s important to make sure that you are also eating foods that can help your breastmilk supply foods like oatmeal, spinach, sweet potato, apricots, and even garlic.
Get as much rest as you can.
Being really tired and sleep-deprived can also negatively impact your milk supply.
Does protein affect breast milk?
Yes. Protein is one of the necessary requirements your body needs to produce enough breastmilk.
If you don’t consume enough protein you will have difficulty maintaining an adequate milk supply.
Can I Drink Atkins Protein drinks while breastfeeding?
Yes, Atkins protein shakes are safe during breastfeeding.
You want to make sure that you are using them as a supplement and not cutting back too much on calories or carbohydrates which can decrease your milk supply.
Atkins ready-to-drink shakes a great to take with you in your diaper bag as an easy-on-the-g0 snack.
Put them in your diaper bag for trips to the pediatrician trips to the grocery store they are great to have after taking your baby out for a walk.
Atkins shakes can we use when you are doing intermittent fasting to lose the baby weight.
It’s a balancing act to keep up your milk supply and lose the baby weight.
You want to prioritize your milk supply so make sure that you don’t cut your calories too much and keep up with your hydration.
How do I make protein shakes at home?
Making protein shakes at home it’s super simple.
All you need is a shaker bottle, protein powder, water, or your favorite milk.
I love oat milk.
If you haven’t tried oat milk you may want to.
I think it tastes like oatmeal and it is lower in calories than regular milk.
You can also add protein powder, fruits, vegetables, milk, or water, and some ice to a blender and make your own protein shake that way.
It really is that simple.
If you don’t like the taste or texture of protein powders you can add ready-to-drink shakes like the ones made by Premiere Protein and mix them together in your blender with your other ingredients.
I have found that adding fruits or yogurt can help mask the taste of protein powder.
Homemade protein shake recipes for breastfeeding:
So are Protein Shakes Safe While Breastfeeding?
The answer is yes, protein shakes are safe while breastfeeding. But as with many things related to pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum/breastfeeding stage, you should always discuss it with your own doctor or midwife.
Protein shakes are a ready source of calories and protein that can help you feel full and help you stay hydrated while breastfeeding.
It is critical that you drink a lot of fluids while breastfeeding.
Protein shakes help you meet the caloric and protein demands of breastfeeding.
But remember they are a supplement and it is critical that you try to meet your protein requirements through the other foods you eat.
They are a useful tool to help you increase or maintain an adequate breastmilk supply for your baby.
You can buy ready-to-drink protein shakes or you can make your own at home.
We hope you enjoy the protein shake recipes for breastfeeding we shared above and remember to stay well-hydrated, it will help you keep your milk supply up and lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.