The Keto diet is all the rage right now. And for good reason. I lost 3 pounds in just five days of following a ketogenic diet plan. BUT that was the extent of the results I saw because I had to stop after those five days. Why?
Because breastfeeding and the keto diet don’t mix.
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At least not a keto diet in it’s strictness form.
I got sick, like flu sick, and dizzy.
And my breastmilk supply TANKED.
It was because I needed carbs…way more carbs than allowed on the keto diet if I was going to continue breastfeeding.
I definitely think you can follow a keto diet in some form when breastfeeding – you just have to make some adjustments.
1. Plan on Upping Your Carbs
With the keto diet you are supposed to keep your carb intake to only about 5% of your total calories consumed on daily basis. When you’re breastfeeding, it is recommended you are eating at least 1800-2200 calories a day to maintain your milk supply. I’ll use the 1800 number for our purposes, but I’d recommend you don’t drop down to 1800 calories until your baby is at least 2 months old.
So 5% of 1800 would be 90 calories, or 22.5 g of carbohydrates (note: 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories).
Eating only 22.5 g of carbs (net carbs that is) is SUPER HARD when you are breastfeeding.
Because you crave carbs. You just do.
My milk supply tanked—and quickly—in the time I was following a keto diet. So if you plan on breastfeeding longer make sure to up your carbs.
I recommend sticking to a goal of about 50-70 grams of carbs a day. And if you can, consider making those extra 30-40 carbs complex carbs, like sweet potatoes or veggies, and at least one serving of fruit a day. If you start to notice a dip in your supply, up your carbs goal and monitor your breastmilk output.
2. Drink Water
Staying hydrated is so important when you are breastfeeding.
At it’s also super important when following a keto diet because as your body transitions into ketosis your fat cells will start to transform, causing you to lose a lot of water weight in the beginning.
Make sure you are getting AT LEAST 90 oz in a day. Yes, that’s a lot of trips to the bathroom.
But it results in more ounces of breastmilk too (at least from my experience!).
3. Keep Snacking
That’s right, snack to your heart’s content! Listen to your hunger cues and DON’T ignore them. Don’t limit your snacks, just keep them keto-friendly.
4. Exercise When You Can
Once you’ve been cleared by the doctor, try walking to ease your body back into an exercise routine.
Although losing weight is 80% what you eat, it’s important to maintain fitness and maintain (or build back up) that muscle mass.
5. Be Patient
Breastfeeding while on the keto diet means you may not lose weight super fast, but that’s okay! Your main goal right now is feeding your little one, so don’t get down if the pounds aren’t just falling off. In fact, watch how much you lose closely—because if you are losing more than 1-2 pounds a week, you aren’t eating enough!
I hope this list helps you in your keto diet ventures. Make sure to let me know how it goes!
Image Credits: Katie Smith / Unsplash; Juan-Jose Valencia / Unsplash; Justyn Warner / Unsplash; William Stitt / Unsplash