Is it safe to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding? Here’s everything you need to know, plus other helpful tips for new moms!
Learning to breastfeed can be a complicated process for the first time mom.
As most moms know, the foods you eat or drink can pass on to your baby. So it’s important to focus on only the best nutrition sources.
So, should protein shakes be on your list?
Here’s whether or not it’s safe to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding, plus other helpful tips for new moms!
Is it safe to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding?
Most premade protein shakes and protein powders are safe to drink while breastfeeding.
In fact, there are many benefits to drinking protein shakes and using protein powders for both pregnant women and nursing moms.
They can help ease early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and morning sickness.
And they can supplement the nutritional needs of pregnant women experiencing extreme nausea or food aversions.
They can also improve protein deficiencies and increase protein intake for vegans.
The Benefits of Protein Shakes for Nursing Moms
In addition to providing extra protein (nursing moms need at least 54 grams per day), protein shakes often include important vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids (important for maintaining connective tissue), and even probiotics.
The body needs extra nutrients for the production of breast milk. Without enough protein or proper nutrition, your body may slow milk production.
And your milk may not have all the essential nutrients your baby needs, so a good protein shake is a convenient way to make those adjustments to your daily diet.
However, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before making any adjustments to your diet including, new protein supplements, vitamins, and medications.
Your healthcare provider can guide you toward the best products and brands and provide a safe option for your specific needs.
Can you use protein shakes as a meal replacement while breastfeeding?
Protein shakes are often advertised as meal replacements, but you should proceed with caution if that is your intent while nursing.
Meal replacement shakes generally don’t offer the proper amount of calories to truly be considered a meal.
Keep in mind, breastfeeding mothers should take in at least 1500-1800 calories per day to maintain their milk supply.
If you’re hoping to lose weight while breastfeeding, eating too few calories can actually halt your weight loss progress.
This post details other reasons you may not lose weight while breastfeeding, and healthy tips to overcome those obstacles.
The Best Protein Shakes for Breastfeeding
While protein shakes are generally safe while breastfeeding, they’re not all created equal.
Here are some of the best options to try.
The Different Types of Protein
There are two main types of protein with several derivatives.
- Animal protein (e.g. whey protein powder, egg protein, casein protein)
- Plant-based protein (e.g. pea protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein)
Animal protein is the most bioavailable. And this means the body can absorb it the best and with the most effects.
On the other hand, plant protein isn’t always a complete source of protein, and it’s less bioavailable.
However, there are still good plant-based protein powders for those following a vegan diet.
How to Choose a Good Protein Shake for Breastfeeding
The best way to choose a safe protein shake for breastfeeding is to pay attention to the ingredient list.
It’s important to choose a clean protein powder with natural ingredients that are free of artificial sweeteners.
And make sure your protein shakes are free of heavy metals, especially in plant-based products.
Top Protein Shakes for Breastfeeding
Here’s a list of the top premade protein shakes for breastfeeding to help you choose the best drink for your needs.
- Premier Protein (20-30 grams of protein/24 vitamins and minerals) – They’re one of the most affordable brands with a wide variety of flavors including chocolate peanut butter, caramel, and bananas and cream.
- Carnation Breakfast Essentials Nutritional drink (13 grams of protein and 21 vitamins and minerals) – They’re Kosher, gluten-free, and a great product for immune support.
- Orgain Organic Nutritional Protein Shakes (16 grams of protein/20 vitamins and minerals) – You can choose from regular and vegan options.
- Fairlife Flavored High Protein Milkshakes (up to 46 grams of protein) – You can enjoy delicious flavors like caramel, cookies and cream, and chocolate.
- Ensure High Protein Shakes (30 grams of protein/25 essential vitamins) – They have lots of different flavors, just steer clear of their caffeinated flavors like café mocha and milk chocolate with caffeine.
- Glucerna Protein Smart Shakes (30 grams of protein) – These shakes have slow-release carbohydrates to help regulate blood. You can enjoy vanilla or chocolate flavors.
- Boost High Protein Nutritional Drinks (20 grams of protein/27 vitamins and minerals – They have several flavors including cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
- Naked Juice Protein Shakes (30 grams of protein) – Naked smoothies have no added sugar. And if you don’t like flavors like chocolate or vanilla, they offer tropical and fruity drink options, too.
- Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes (20 grams of protein) – These shakes are plant-based and made from pea protein. They’re also lactose-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and GMO-free.
- Atkins Protein-Rich Shakes (15 grams of protein) – Atkins shakes are low-sugar and low-carb. And they’re also very affordable.
- Quest Nutrition Protein Shakes (30 grams of protein) – These are another great low-sugar and low-carb option. They have 4 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of sugar. And you can enjoy flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel.
- Iconic Protein Drink (20 grams of protein) – Iconic protein drinks have 0 grams of sugar. Just watch out for flavors with caffeine!
- Aloha Organic Plant-based Protein Shakes (20 grams of protein) – Aloha is vegan, non-GMO, and organic. However, they’re a little more on the expensive side.
- Pure Protein Complete Protein Shake (30-35 grams of protein/24 vitamins and minerals) – These shakes include less than 1 gram of sugar. And they have several flavors like strawberry, caramel, banana cream, and cookies and cream.
- Optimum Nutrition Protein Shakes (25 grams of protein) – Optimum Nutrition protein shakes are low fat with no added sugars. And they have 4 different flavors: strawberry, chocolate, white chocolate, and vanilla.
Top Protein Powders for Breastfeeding
And, if you prefer to make your own protein shakes, here are some of the top protein powders and protein brands for breastfeeding moms:
- Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Unflavored Powder
- Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein
- Ora So Lean & So Clean
- KOS Dairy Free Protein Powder
- Ritual Essential
- Raw Organic Whey Undenatured 100% Grass Fed
- Tera’s Whey Goat Whey Protein
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder
- PlantFusion Complete Protein
- Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Protein Powder
- Designs for Health PurePaleo Collagen Protein Powder
- Equip Foods Prime Protein
- Needed Prenatal Collagen
- Koia Protein
- Iron Vegan
What foods should you avoid while breastfeeding?
While protein shakes are generally safe while breastfeeding, there are certain foods you should be cautious of or completely eliminate from your diet during this time.
If you need to relieve pain, you should continue to use Tylenol (Acetaminophen) instead of Aspirin until you’re done breastfeeding and if you’re experiencing depression, be sure to take the safest antidepressant.
You should also avoid:
- Foods high in mercury like fish
- Foods your baby is sensitive to or allergic to (that cause baby to have an upset stomach, gas, fussiness, diarrhea, excessive spit-up, rashes, etc.)
- Peppermint, parsley, and sage that may limit breast milk production
NOTE: Contrary to popular belief you can consume alcohol, coffee, and soda in moderation. If you consume these beverages regularly, just be sure to follow the recommendations in this article.
Other Healthy Snacks and Foods for Busy Moms
Now that we’ve addressed whether or not it’s safe to drink protein shakes while pregnant, here are some other tips to help busy moms maintain a healthy milk supply and healthy diet.
- Avoid empty calories and junk food. These will leave you feeling hungry and won’t provide adequate nutrition or protein.
- Focus on whole foods like vegetables, leafy greens, and fresh fruit. (Whole food is food that hasn’t been processed, refined, or had ingredients added to them).
- Incorporate healthy fats like avocado, nuts, chia seeds, and beans.
- Eat whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread.
- Try low-fat dairy products to improve calcium.
- And eat lean meats like chicken, low-mercury fish, and eggs.
Here are some quick snacks to try:
- Overnight oatmeal with chia seeds
- Avocado toast with a drizzle of olive oil
- Boiled eggs with your favorite seasonings
- Tuna celery boats
- Whole grain crackers with nut butter
- Cottage cheese on toast with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning
RELATED: How I Broke my Weight-Loss Plateau
Yes. Protein shakes can help with milk supply.
They’re a great way to meet the increased protein requirements for nursing moms (at least 54 grams per day) and they may also provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, protein shakes can help make up for calorie deficits. Nursing moms need a minimum of 1500-1800 calories per day for optimal milk production.
The vitamins and minerals in protein powder can pass through breast milk. And they may be a helpful source of nutrients for your baby.
However, any harmful substances in protein powder may also be passed to your baby.
Because of that, it’s important to choose clean protein powders that use natural ingredients and are free from heavy metals and artificial sweeteners.
If you plan to use protein shakes for weight loss while breastfeeding, make sure they provide a good amount of protein and don’t include a high amount of sugar.
Here are some low or no-sugar options to try:
– Optimum Nutrition Protein Shakes
– Pure Protein Complete Protein Shake
– Iconic Protein Drink
– Quest Nutrition Protein Shakes
– Naked Juice Protein Shakes
Just remember, nursing moms need at least 1500-1800 calories per day to maintain an adequate milk supply.
Yes. Breastfeeding moms need more protein than the average woman (about 54 grams per day), but too much protein can have adverse effects on both mother and baby.
Here are some of the risks of eating too much protein:
– Weight gain
– Bad breath
– Kidney damage
– Increased cancer risk
– Heart disease
– Calcium loss
Focus on eating a healthy balanced diet. And reach out to your doctor if you have questions or concerns.
If this post was helpful, be sure to check out more tips for brand new moms including:
- 40 Breastfeeding tips for new moms
- Can you donate plasma while breastfeeding?
- 15+ Newborn baby hacks
- The ultimate list of mom hacks
- The latest breastfeeding statistics and facts
Did you also know that food plays a large role in conceiving a baby? Here are 26 foods that increase sperm count, including the foods your partner should avoid when trying to increase male fertility.
Did we answer all your questions about if it’s safe to drink protein shakes while breastfeeding? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!