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What Happens When You Drink Protein Shakes While Breastfeeding? A Fit Mom's Guide

Are you a breastfeeding mom and finding yourself low on energy? You may be looking for ways to help boost your energy, especially now that you have a little one to take care of. For many breastfeeding mothers, they consider protein shakes as a way to get the energy and nutrients they need.

We know how much you value your health and the health of your baby. But there is probably a lot on your plate right now, and trying to find the time to sit down and make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for your breast milk supply might not be high on your to-do list – but it is on ours.

So, can you drink protein shakes while you’re pregnant? The shower answer is yes, in moderation. If you’re interested in the longer answer, Greater Than has made this guide for you with all the information you need to know about the benefits of protein shakes and how to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Can You Drink Protein Shakes While Breastfeeding?

As we mentioned before, it is safe to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding! However, you want to make sure you have researched any specific protein powder that is in the shake beforehand because not all are best suited for pregnancy or while you’re breastfeeding.

If you’re looking for hydrating drinks that can help boost your energy levels, and aren’t packed with the sugary additives found in many juices and drinks, check out our hydrating electrolyte drinks.

Our electrolyte drinks are here to help you with issues of low breastmilk supply, ease muscle cramps and dehydration, and support clean lactation.

When Should You Start Adding Protein to Your Diet?

The American Pregnancy Association recommends eating between 75 to 100 grams of protein a day while you are pregnant. During pregnancy, it’s important to minimize the amount of high sugar, low nutrient foods and replace them with lean proteins and high fiber foods.

Studies show that increased protein during pregnancy helps you recover faster after giving birth.

The average breastfeeding woman gets around 54 grams of protein per day. However, the recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is 65 grams of protein per day if you are breastfeeding. So, it’s essential to get a little more protein than the average breastfeeding mother needs.

Importance of Protein While Breastfeeding

Breast milk provides all the essential nutrients for your baby’s growth and development. Having the proper amount of protein means your body has what it needs to create enough levels of antibodies against harmful bacteria.

It’s also essential for the growth and repair of you and your baby. Studies show that mothers who haven’t consumed enough protein consistently throughout their pregnancy had smaller infants and children and were prone to have higher infection rates and lower immune systems than those fed well-balanced meals.

When breastfeeding, your body needs additional nutrition, both in calories and protein. Protein is essential for helping you boost your breastmilk supply and stay fuller for longer.

The best way to meet your energy needs is to have a combination of macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fats, all of which can help you meet your energy goal and provide you with the necessary vitamins and minerals you and your baby need.

Clinical evidence suggests that keeping your protein intake high postpartum and during breastfeeding can help support your healing from birth, especially if you had extended labor, cesarean birth, or damage to your pelvic floor.

How Many Grams of Protein Should Breastfeeding Moms Get?

The World Health Organization recommends adding an extra 25 grams of protein per day for the first six months of breastfeeding. However, the specific amount you need for your body depends on your weight and other individual factors.

You can have one or two servings of a low-calorie protein shake daily as part of a healthy and balanced eating plan.

Is Protein Powder Safe During Lactation?

Many protein powders use whey protein as their base. This is a natural component of many dairy products like cheese and milk, which are common foods you can have during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Whey protein powder is processed by your body like any other protein! It’s not necessarily the base that you have to watch out for, but the sweeteners, additives, and preservatives that are put in.

Why Use Protein Powder When Breastfeeding?

Chances are, if you are able to breastfeed, that is more than enough food for your baby. It helps sustain your baby’s health and development. But, we know it can be hard when you now have to consider the nutrition for two.

Your intake of protein can typically be solved by consuming whole food protein sources like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds. But what if you feel like you’ve tried all of that, or you feel like there’s not enough time to whip up a whole meal?

That’s why many mothers enjoy finding alternatives like protein shakes. As long as you opt for a high-quality, clean protein powder that provides you with the nutrition you need without compromising your health, that’s okay so long as it's in moderation.

Different Ways to Incorporate Protein Into Your Daily Routine

We know how busy you are as a breastfeeding mom, but making sure you prioritize your health also means prioritizing your baby's health. If you’re looking for some ways to incorporate protein shakes into your daily routine as a busy mom, we have you covered.

  • Take your shake with you as a snack between meals, especially if you’re out on the go.
  • If you’re looking to energize your workouts, use our electrolyte drinks as pre-workout fuel.
  • Consider having a high-protein snack or shake as a meal replacement if you’re short on time.

Lastly, we want to emphasize that while protein is essential to your lactating diet, it’s equally important to make sure you are getting the variety of other foods you need to meet your nutritional needs.

That means getting whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, calcium-rich foods, and healthy fats to make for a well-balanced diet for you and your little one.

What To Look For In Protein Shakes

Here are some other things to keep in mind if you’re considering using protein shakes:

  • Always look for Certified Organic by USDA and non-GMO. This means that they didn’t just add organic ingredients and cut corners – they had to pass rigorous tests to avoid environmental and industrial contaminants.

  • Avoid rice protein and other “cheap” fillers which are high in heavy metals and do not offer any nutritional value.

  • Make sure there is no added sugar, low in carbohydrates and diabetic friendly.

    Our Build Your Own Bundle has no added preservatives or sugar, is low in carbs and calories, and is perfect for the whole family!

  • Look for complete protein! This means it contains all essential nine amino acids.

  • Avoid chemically modified additives.

  • Beware of serving size. If it takes between two to three scoops for a single serving, it’s a sign they have added fillers! Make sure to look for one scoop only.

  • Choose a hormone-free protein. You are your baby and do not need any more hormones, so consider choosing plant-based protein over whey.

What To Be Aware of in Protein Shakes While Breastfeeding

If you’re keeping track of your protein consumption while breastfeeding, make sure that your shake contains no more than 10 grams of added sugar per serving.

The great news is that our Greater Than drinks contain none of the added sugar!

Casein

Casein protein is a protein found in milk. It’s what gives milk that white color! However, large amounts of it are typically not well-tolerated by many infants.

Cow’s milk consists of 80% of casein protein, which is one of the reasons why regular milk is not an appropriate feeding option for your baby. Your baby’s GI tract has so much developing left to do after birth, and large amounts of it can form clumps in the stomach.

Casein is often linked to infantile colic and constipation.

In your breast milk supply, casein and whey fluctuate throughout your lactation. Early lactation is around 8-% whey and 20% casein and averages around 60% whey and 40% casein.

If you’re considering adding a protein supplement to your diet, always read the labels and see how much casein is present. What you drink, your baby will have in some form, so being aware of labels is very important.

Here are some other ideas on what to be aware of if you’re looking at protein shakes or protein supplements:

  • The shorter the ingredient list, the better. Again, avoid any additives and chemicals.
  • You do not want any artificial sweeteners, so make sure to look for all-natural flavors (like our Trial 6-Flavor Variety Pack, which has all the delicious tastes of your favorite fruits without the sugar!)
  • If you’re looking for more natural protein-based meals, make sure that the products contain real meat, dairy, or fish. Check the label carefully for any hidden additives or chemicals.

Avoid Fat Burning Blends

If you’ve had your baby and feel like you’ve established some sense of a routine, you may be thinking about losing any extra baby weight you have.

While this is a personal choice and entirely valid for any mother if they do or don’t want to lose weight, we want to caution against harmful fat-burning blends in protein powders.

We want to emphasize that you have gone through a physically demanding experience, so it may take time for your body to adjust. We don’t want you to feel like you have to rush the process along and think you’ve found the solution through fat-burning mixes.

They have hidden ingredients or additives that can harm you or your baby. These protein powders are not for pregnant or nursing women and are typically designed for athletes and can contain extra caffeine.

Choosing Greater Than For Your Fit Mom Journey

You’re on the go all the time, taking care of your new little one, possibly your other children if you have them, keeping on top of the household chores, and maybe thinking of going back to work or working again.

Making sure you’re hitting all of your nutrition goals might not be at the forefront of your mind.

Pregnancy and early motherhood look different for everyone. We know that every mother is different, and what you hope for your protein goal could look different from other moms. That’s why talking to your doctor or healthcare provider is essential before making any changes to your diet.

If you’re considering adding protein supplements to your diet through drinks, always check in with your healthcare provider first. They know your health and medical history, and every pregnancy is different.

That’s where we come in.

At Greater Than, we keep your fitness goals in mind. We created our non-GMO, electrolyte-packed drinks so you don’t have to worry about all the calories, chemicals, or sugars.

You can get all the good stuff without sacrificing your nutrition.

 

Sources:

Impacts of maternal dietary protein intake on fetal survival, growth, and development | PMC

American Pregnancy Association | American Pregnancy

Dietary Guidelines for Americans | Dietary Guidelines

WHO | World Health Organization

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