Did you know that breastfeeding mamas need even more extra calories than they did during pregnancy? Keeping your body nourished while breastfeeding can be a challenge with extra nutritional needs and a little baby relying on you for his or her every need. Creating a list of go-to foods can be a great way to help keep your energy up, even on the most draining of days, and protein shakes are the perfect item to add to that list! If you think you might like to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding, keep reading for protein powder suggestions, ingredients to watch for, and recipe ideas.
5 of the Best Protein Powders for Breastfeeding
Best All-Around Protein Powder
Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder can be a perfect pick for moms who plan to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding. Ora Protein Powder is vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and organic making it a great fit for moms with any sort of dietary restrictions or preferences! This protein powder is sweetened with all natural sweeteners and contains lots of greens and superfood, and flavor options include chocolate, vanilla, and vanilla chai.
Best Vegan Protein Powder
Another great vegan option is Vega Protein & Greens. This protein powder offers tons of flavor options, including vanilla, chocolate, berry, coconut almond, tropical, salted caramel, and plain unsweetened for mamas who prefer no-added sweeteners. In addition to being vegan, it is non-soy, non-GMO, and full of healthy greens like alfalfa, kale, and spinach.
Best Probiotic Protein Powder
If you are looking for a protein powder that will boost your probiotic intake, Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein is an excellent choice. Not only is this protein powder certified vegan, sugar-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and organic, it also offers 3 Billion CFU of probiotics.
Best Milk-Boosting Protein Powder
Milk Drunk Protein Powder is a wonderful option as it is specifically geared toward lactating moms! This powder includes ingredients like brewer’s yeast, oat flour, flaxseed, and fenugreek to help boost milk supply and is gluten, soy, and dairy-free.
Most Cost-Effective Protein Powder
If you are looking for a cost-effective option, give Purely Inspired Protein Powder a try! This gluten-free, organic, vegan-friendly powder is only .62/ounce on Amazon, making it super nutritious AND super affordable.
Look at the Ingredients
Once you’ve given birth, the restrictions and guidelines on what to eat and what not to eat are much less stringent! Drinking protein shakes while breastfeeding is perfectly acceptable, but it’s still wise to be aware and informed about what you are putting into your body!
Ingredients Bad for Breastfeeding
Generally speaking, there aren’t any foods that breastfeeding mothers need to avoid entirely. However, there are a few things that should only be consumed in moderation or that have the potential to cause issues.
Vitamins… Well… Too Many Vitamins
Vitamins are good! In fact, most doctors will encourage you to continue taking your prenatal vitamin or find a postnatal vitamin to take while you are breastfeeding. Nonetheless, if you are taking several supplements, it is important to watch your intake level of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A. While most excess vitamin intake will not directly affect breast milk, fat-soluble vitamins can result in your baby receiving too much.
Caffeine probably isn’t what first comes to mind when you think of protein powder. However, there ARE protein powders out there that contain caffeine! Most recommendations suggest limiting your caffeine intake while breastfeeding to somewhere between 200 and 300 mg per day. You can ask your doctor for more guidance, but be sure you are taking into account all of your caffeine sources (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, etc), before adding protein shakes to your caffeine intake!
While some herbs are galactagogues (thought to increase milk production), others may have the reverse effect. These include peppermint, parsley, and sage. While you aren’t likely to encounter a protein powder with parsley or sage, there are some blends and recipes out there that do include peppermint. A little bit of peppermint probably won’t cause any issues, but it is still something good to be aware of, especially if you are struggling with low production.
There is no need to eliminate common allergens at the start of breastfeeding! However, if you notice that your little one is extra gassy or fussy, it is worth exploring the possibility of food sensitivities with the help of a pediatrician or lactation consultant. Common allergens include dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, and nuts.
Ingredients Good for Breastfeeding
Like always, it is important to have a well-rounded diet when breastfeeding. The thought of being in charge of eating all the vitamins and nutrients you need to pass on to your baby can be a little overwhelming, but the good news is your body will naturally meet your baby’s needs first. Nonetheless, it’s still a good idea to make sure you are taking in enough healthy foods for baby AND you.
Vitamins (The Right Ones)
For the most part, a balanced diet will ensure that you are getting enough vitamins for you and baby. However, if your sun exposure is minimal you may need to supplement Vitamin D. Vitamin D is found in some protein powders, or you could also take a separate supplement or purchase a supplement specifically for your baby, like Carlson Baby’s Super Daily. Another vitamin that breastfeeding mamas are more prone to be deficient in is B12. Needing extra vitamin B12 is especially common if your caloric intake tends to be below where it needs to be. Once again, there are protein powder options that include this vitamin, or you can find a separate supplement for yourself if needed!
While there are not a lot of research studies backing up the use of herbs and food to increase milk supply, there is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence in the breastfeeding community. Galactagogues include herbs and foods like fenugreek, alfalfa, oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, and blessed thistle. Keep in mind that if you plan to consume a large amount of these ingredients through protein powders, teas, or other supplements it may be a good idea to talk with your doctor first as excessive use can have some possible side effects.
Regular intake of probiotics through supplements or your diet can be an easy way to build your immune system and keep your digestive system running smoothly. When breastfeeding, probiotics offer the extra advantage of helping to prevent thrush, a common fungal infection that can infect breastfeeding moms and their babies. Probiotics are extra important if you happen to be taking an antibiotic for any reason, and they can be found a number of different protein powders! Or, another easy way to get some extra probiotics, is to add some yogurt or keifer to your protein shake!
Benefits of Protein Powders for Breastfeeding
- One benefit of using protein powders while breastfeeding is the quick boost of nutrition and energy they can provide! Breastfeeding mothers need at least 65 grams of protein a day, which can be hard to achieve if you aren’t intentional. While eating real meals is still important, sipping a protein shake while caring for your baby can be an easy way to get those extra grams of protein worked into your day.
- Another great perk of drinking protein shakes while breastfeeding is that the options are endless! You can easily customize a protein shake recipe to meet your nutritional needs. Is it hard for you to eat enough veggies in a day? Throw in a handful of spinach! Do you struggle to consume enough calcium? Use some milk or yogurt in your shake!
- Last but not least, a protein shake with the right ingredients could possibly boost your milk supply! As mentioned above, there are protein powders available that contain galactagogues, and even if you choose to use a protein powder not tailored to this goal, you can always add some oats, brewer’s yeast, or other herbs known to increase milk supply to your shake.
Protein Shake Recipes for Breastfeeding
- If your pregnancy sugar cravings have continued, this Peanut Butter Apple Pie Protein Shake is the perfect recipe for you. This shake is basically dessert in a cup, but all of the sugar is naturally occuring in the fruit and it’s packed with healthy extras like peanut butter and flax seed.
- If you prefer fruity flavors, this Blueberry Lactation Smoothie is the perfect protein shake for you. This recipe is full of super foods like spinach, chia, and blueberries, making it both healthy and nutritious. If you want more protein than what this smoothie offers, just add a scoop of protein powder!
- For an extra dose of veggies (because let’s face it, grabbing a handful of peas or broccoli isn’t usually appealing OR easy), try this Green Superfood Smoothie! The recipe doesn’t call for protein powder, but you can easily include a scoop for an extra protein boost. Green ingredients include kale, avocado (and spinach if you want to add it!). While you might be used to eating avocados with your mexican food, they are actually super delicious in smoothies and create a perfect, creamy texture!
Drinking protein shakes while breastfeeding can be a great way to keep up with the increased nutritional needs of nursing a baby. You don’t necessarily have to use a protein powder in your protein shake (picking the right ingredients can sometimes be enough!), but there are plenty of safe and healthy protein powders available for breastfeeding mamas. Breastfeeding can be an amazing experience, but it is also a lot of hard work, so be sure to come up with a protein shake for your routine that’s both nutritious AND tasty!
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