Are Protein Shakes Safe While Breastfeeding?

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smiling baby breastfeeding

Updated 12/22/2022

One of the greatest concerns of breastfeeding moms is whether what they are consuming is safe for their babies.

Since breastfeeding moms need more energy and nutrients to produce milk, they often rely on protein shakes.

Protein is an essential macronutrient needed for lactation and healing. Therefore, protein shakes seem the quickest way to make up for the protein requirements.

But are protein shakes safe while breastfeeding? 

Let’s find out!

Is it Safe for Breastfeeding Moms to Consume Protein Shakes?

strawberry protein shake

Protein shakes are quick and easy solutions to make up for the increase in protein needs when nursing.

Since they can be prepared instantly, many moms prefer protein shakes over whole foods. 

Most protein shakes are safe to use for breastfeeding moms for many reasons:

  • Some protein powders are specially made for breastfeeding moms to increase lactation.
  • They are extracted from natural and organic ingredients.
  • They help breastfeeding moms make up for their elevated nutrient needs as they have higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. 
  • They are quick to prepare as they come in the form of water-soluble powders.
  • They are quite satiating and can easily be incorporated into a number of recipes.
  • Most protein powders are plant-based, which is good for vegan and allergic individuals.
  • Protein powders are free from artificial sweeteners and GMOs.
  • They help with post-pregnancy weight loss. 

However, you must check whether your protein powder contains heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.

Many companies test protein powders for heavy metals before they hit the market. But not every one of them does.

So, if you are a breastfeeding mom, make sure that you check the ingredients before buying a protein powder.

Read on to learn about the things you should consider when buying protein powder!

What to Consider When Choosing A Protein Powder While Breastfeeding?

When choosing a protein powder, you should always check the ingredients. Here’s a list of what to consider when you’re choosing a protein powder while breastfeeding:

  • Check if the protein powder is made out of plant or dairy extractions based on how your body reacts to both.
  • If you are vegan, opt for plant-based protein powders.
  • Check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
  • Check the amount of protein. If you are a breastfeeding mom, you should pick a powder with at least 25 grams of protein. The average amount of protein needed by breastfeeding moms is 54 grams.
  • Make sure the protein powder has no heavy metals and that it has been tested. 
  • Ensure that the protein powder is free from preservatives, GMO matter, and processed ingredients.
  • Steer clear of protein powders containing caffeine, ginseng, or green tea extracts.
  • Make sure that you do not pick a powder that has fat-burning ingredients.

Since what you consume does pass on to your baby while breastfeeding, make sure that you consider all of these factors when taking your pick.

Most of the protein powders you find in the market are safe for breastfeeding moms, but you should still watch out for the things mentioned above. 

Getting in touch with your healthcare provider and checking with them about what you should and shouldn’t consume while breastfeeding is also recommended.

Is Whey Protein Safe While Breastfeeding?

Most of the protein powders you find in the market have whey, which is a milk-based protein. Whey is usually the residue left behind when making cheese.

To turn it into protein powder, it goes through various steps. 

Whey powder is generally added as the base in protein powders and protein bars. Since whey is a cheese and milk product, it is naturally good for lactation and absolutely safe for breastfeeding. 

The only reason why people are skeptical when using whey protein shakes while breastfeeding is because some whey-based protein powders have added sugars and ingredients for preservation.

But if you watch out for these preservatives and sweeteners in the ingredients list before buying, you have nothing to worry about. 

With that being said, don’t just rely on a protein shake. Your first choice as a breastfeeding mom to meet the increased protein needs should be natural, protein-rich foods.

Read on to find out what you can include in your daily food intake for protein needs.

Foods that Can Help Breastfeeding Moms Meet Their Protein Needs

There are two ways you can fulfill your protein requirements as a breastfeeding mom; taking protein shakes or eating whole protein sources.

If you want to meet your protein needs naturally, here are some protein-rich foods you can add to your daily diet:

  • Dairy: Milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Meat: Fish, prawns, tuna, chicken, and lean beef
  • Beans and lentils 
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Tofu
  • Oats

Including these natural sources of protein can help breastfeeding moms with faster healing and cell regeneration. It also helps with tissue growth in babies.

However, not every new mother would have time or enough support to incorporate these foods into their daily intake.

In that case, protein shakes and protein bars should be your best friends.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will protein shakes help milk supply?

The jury is still out on this one – some lactation consultants recommend drinking a protein shake to help encourage milk production, but scientific evidence to back up this claim is lacking. That being said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt!

Can protein shakes make a baby gassy?

Unfortunately, protein shakes are a no-go for babies, as their delicate digestive systems cannot handle them. We may never get an answer as to whether or not these shakes make babies gassier, but we still recommend keeping them away from babies’ diets for extra precaution.

What foods to avoid while breastfeeding?

The main foods you should avoid while breastfeeding are those that contain plenty of spices like cayenne, garlic, and onion powder; excessive amounts of caffeine; and large quantities of chocolate.

Wrapping it Up

If you’ve been asking, “are protein shakes are safe while breastfeeding?” I hope this article answers all your questions! Protein shakes are completely safe to consume while breastfeeding.

In fact, they help with lactation and cell regeneration in mothers. But when choosing a protein powder, watch out for the ingredients mentioned in this blog to ensure your baby’s safety.

Remember, whatever you consume when breastfeeding directly affects your baby.

Author

  • Cam Russo

    Cam is a blogger, author, and content strategist with a keen love for the written word. His journey with high-functioning autism has kindled a strong advocacy for autism awareness. Today, Cam dedicates his efforts to educating parents. He sees laughter as a game-changer in learning, and strives every day to make education a fun and enjoyable journey for all his readers.

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