Breastfeeding and Keto

As a breastfeeding mom, I was a little hesitant to go back to Keto because I was afraid that it would affect my milk supply. I wasn’t an over supplier to begin with, and my son hasn’t fully transitioned to eating solids yet. I didn’t want to compromise my milk supply, just because I wanted to lose weight.

But my doubts were laid to rest once I researched about Breastfeeding and Keto-friendly Galactagogues. Galactagogues are food or supplements that help increase milk supply. It turns out, breastfeeding on Keto is quite doable as most galactagogues are actually low carb. You just need to work your galactagogues into your macros.

Keto-friendly Galactagoues

  • Dark, Leafy Greens like Moringa (Malunggay), Spinach, Water Spinach (Kangkong)
  • Bone Broth
  • Almonds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Fennel

Tips on Breastfeeding While Doing Keto

I’ve been breastfeeding for 2+ years now and already 7 months into my Keto journey, here are some tips that I learned along the way.

  • Do not drastically change your calorie consumption. It’s best to calculate your personal macros so that you know you’re eating enough.
  • Take electrolytes a day before going full Keto.
  • Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Just keep your food low carb. It is okay to eat 500 calories extra while breastfeeding, as long as it’s from low carb sources.
  • Listen to your body’s cues, even if it means that you are not strictly Keto.
  • Eat magnesium-rich food and low carb galactagogues.
  • Drink lots of water and bone broth.
  • Do not try Intermittent Fasting, unless you’re ready to wean as it could affect your supply.
  • Make sure to latch often so that your body will still produce milk.
  • Take Moringa supplements to support your supply.

I also asked a Keto-friendly Breastfeeding Counselor and Keto Mommies to share some of their tips!

Magnesium Levels and Supply

Many people experience Keto Flu during the first week of Keto. It is often the result of the body flushing out water retained by our body because of excess carbs. Unfortunately, important electrolytes are also flushed out such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Low magnesium levels may affect milk supply, and eating magnesium-rich food or magnesium supplements can help maintain milk supply.

Some women experience a drop in milk supply from ovulation (mid-cycle) until the first day or two of the next menstrual period. A woman’s blood calcium levels gradually decrease during this period of time, and for some women the drop in blood calcium causes a drop in milk supply. For women who have this problem, calcium/magnesium supplements may be helpful. This practice has also been reported to eliminate most uterine cramping and some premenstrual discomfort such as water retention.

Kelly Bonyata, BS (2018)

Magnesium-Rich Food & Supplements

You can remedy supply dips by adding magnesium-rich food into your diet or through supplements.

  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Almonds
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Meat
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Magnesium Citrate (absorbed better by our body)
  • Magnesium Oxide (also acceptable if Magnesium Citrate is not available)

To summarize, it’s okay to do Keto while breastfeeding if you have an established supply already. But everyone reacts differently to Keto, so be prepared to support your supply in case it dips in the first few weeks of Keto. You also have to stay on top of your diet, making sure to not starve yourself.

Citation:

Bonyata, Kelly. “Natural Treatments for Nursing Moms • KellyMom.com.” KellyMom.com, KellyMom, 15 Jan. 2018, kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/herbs/natural-treatments/#calcium.

Eenfeldt, Andreas. “Eating Low Carb or Keto When Breastfeeding.” Diet Doctor, 22 Feb. 2019, www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/when-breastfeeding.

Kubala, Jillian.”9 Best Keto Supplements.” Healthline, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-keto-supplements

“Maternal Diet | Breastfeeding | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html.

Murray, Donna. “Can Fennel Increase Your Breast Milk Supply and Is It Safe?” Verywell Family, 2018, www.verywellfamily.com/fennel-breastfeeding-and-increasing-breast-milk-supply-431838.

Murray, Donna. “How to Use a Galactagogue to Increase Breast Milk.” Verywell Family, 2018, www.verywellfamily.com/galactagogue-how-to-make-more-breast-milk-431854

Taylor, Cheryl. “Mother’s Milk, How to Increase Your Supply.” Drjaygordon.com, 2010, drjaygordon.com/breastfeeding/increasing-milk-supply.html.