Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe While Breastfeeding
It’s not a secret that the food you eat fuels your daily activities. It becomes even more important when you need to breastfeed your baby. Postpartum nutrition can be complicated, especially when you’re breastfeeding and want to lose weight. This is what makes many mothers ask “is it safe to drink meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding?”
Along with making sure that you’re getting enough fiber, vitamins and minerals, you also have to worry about calories and protein.
For many moms, life is busy. Therefore, meal replacement shakes seem like a quick and convenient way to help you reach your daily nutritional goals while losing weight when breastfeeding.
But for many moms, the desire to lose the extra weight may take precedence over nourishing their body with the right foods to support postpartum recovery, breast milk production, and all the other daily activities during this challenging period.
That being said, it is important to note that extreme restrictive diets may affect milk supply and vitamin and mineral deficiencies which makes this so important to eat a healthy and balanced diet, especially when breastfeeding while trying to lose weight.
Moreover, as you probably heard, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months.
So, is it safe to drink meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding? Let’s find out.
What are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Before we talk about whether it’s okay to drink meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding, it’s important to understand what meal replacement shakes are.
Meal replacement shakes are a portable and convenient option for an on-the-go meal.
Not to be confused with protein shakes, smoothies, or juicing, meal replacements are products intended to replace the nutritional value of a meal but with lower total calorie intake. They include protein along with other nutrients and are often used for weight loss or maintenance.
They are intended to substitute one or two meals of your daily diet. Fortified with vitamins and minerals, they offer more fiber, carbohydrates, and calories per serving than a protein shake, although they are lower in calories than actual meals.
Unlike protein shakes or fruit and vegetable juices, a 300-calorie meal replacement shake provides both macronutrients and micronutrients typically consumed in a typical 500 to 700 calorie meal, such as lunch or dinner.
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes Made of?
Meal replacement shakes contain a large number of the essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and carbohydrates your body needs to function.
If you want to make the best meal replacement shake, it is important to add fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin D, and potassium. In fact, drinking meal replacement shakes is a great way to give your body all these essential nutrients.
What Is The Difference Between Meal Replacement Shakes and Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes and meal replacement shakes differ in nutritional composition and are designed for different goals. While meal replacement shakes are good for weight control, protein shakes are used for athletic performance and muscle gain.
Another difference between them is that meal replacement shakes intended to substitute one or two meals of a daily diet, while protein shakes intended to supplement a regular diet, not to replace a meal.
Can Meal Replacement Shakes Help You Lose Weight?
Meal replacement shakes can help you feel full while consuming fewer calories. The difference between protein shakes and meal replacement shakes is that meal replacement shakes are intended to provide the nutrition of a full meal, while protein shakes are not.
Several studies suggest that replacing one or two meals per day with a healthy meal replacement shake may speed up weight loss and help weight management.
Another study found that meal replacement shakes may also help with weight maintenance after weight loss has been achieved.
Meal replacement shakes have a low glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food causes blood sugar levels to rise. This means that meal replacement shakes release sugar into the blood more slowly and helps control hunger. Whenever you consume foods that have a low glycemic index, your body digests them more slowly than simple carbohydrates and sugar in snack foods.
It is important to note that getting the right amount of protein is key to the effectiveness of meal replacements. In fact, protein helps to lower the glycemic index and has an independent proven effect on controlling hunger and losing weight.
By being nutrient-dense, meal replacement shakes with a low glycemic index promote a high-quality diet.
These shakes are a quick and easy way to get a high-nutrient meal, and recipes are flexible, so you can add whatever you have on hand. It’s a quick and convenient way to get a nutritious meal on the go.
Meal Replacement Shakes and Breastfeeding
Iron, B and D vitamins, and protein are vital nutrients that every new mom – and new baby – needs. It helps build muscle and tissue while helping your baby grow healthy.
When you breastfeed a baby, it takes a lot of energy from your body. Furthermore, you have to avoid certain foods that can make your baby gassy.
While many new moms have no issues getting enough nutrients from their daily diet, some need a little extra boost.
In such situations, meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding can be a great way to supply adequate nourishment to a breastfeeding mom.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe for Breastfeeding Moms?
It depends on several things.
When you say meal replacement shakes diet while breastfeeding, do you mean a glass of juice instead of lunch or dinner or do you mean a meal replacement shake that is 100% full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and other nutrient-rich foods?
And another question you need to ask yourself is are you going to replace one or two meals with these shakes or all of your meals (which is definitely not recommended)?
It is very important to provide all the nutrients and calories you need to stay healthy, recover postpartum, and produce milk breast to breastfeed your baby.
A meal replacement shake, on the other hand, can serve as a snack or fill in for a quick, calorie-controlled meal when you don’t have the time or energy to prepare something.
Whether you plan to make homemade, from-scratch shakes or use a meal replacement powder, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. If you have a meal replacement powder in mind, show the label to your doctor to see if it’s safe for you to drink.
How Many Meal Replacement Shakes Can You Drink While Breastfeeding?
For breastfeeding moms, it is recommended to drink meal replacement shakes only to provide a healthy option when you need a quick snack or an occasional quick meal – no more than once a day.
If relying on meal replacement shakes more often than once a day, that may not provide the calories or nutrients you need for your own health or for breastfeeding.
How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn a day?
Your body generally burns between 200 to 500 extra calories a day while you’re breastfeeding. These are the additional calories per day that are recommended for breastfeeding moms. Compared with the amount they were consuming before pregnancy – approximately 2,300 to 2,500 calories per day for breastfeeding women versus 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day for moderately active, non-pregnant women who are not breastfeeding.
How Many Calories Should You Eat to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?
According to La Leche League, breastfeeding moms should consume at least 1800 calories a day and can safely lose around 1 lb. per week. For some, consuming 1800 calories per day does not allow much room for weight loss by cutting calories however, you can pair dieting with exercise to promote weight loss at a safe pace.
If you want to lose weight safely while breastfeeding, make sure to read this article:
Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding
Many new moms lead very busy lives, so it’s far more convenient to make a meal replacement shake than to cook a full meal. Other new moms may have physical limitations. For example, if you just had a caesarean section, you may not be able to move around as much. Meal replacement shakes are a convenient and simple way to make sure that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs while breastfeeding and recovering.
Moreover, meal replacement shakes are usually fortified with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamin D – which are important especially while breastfeeding.
Meal Replacement Shakes Are High in Protein
Protein is critical for producing breast milk, and this key nutrient will pass through the milk to your baby to foster growth.
Breastfeeding women require an additional 25 grams of protein each day to support breast milk production. High protein intake has been linked to greater milk volume.
Research also shows that eating more protein can help speed up recovery after birth and help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.
Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Breastfeeding Moms
Now you’re probably asking yourself “what is the best shake for meal replacement for new moms?”
There is a variety of meal replacement shakes available on the market.
But, one of the main concerns with meal replacement powders or ready-to-use products is the extra ingredients. Some have artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and other ingredients that may not be beneficial for breastfeeding moms.
Check the ingredient label to see what types of additives, if any, are in each meal replacement product you’re considering.
Make sure that you consult with your doctor about any meal replacement products you’re considering. Your healthcare provider’s opinion may be the deciding factor in helping you choose a supplement for your meal replacement shakes.
Make Your Own Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding
We recommend you to make your own replacement shakes at home using your favorite ingredients. This way you can make sure that there are no chemicals and artificial sweeteners that are not healthy for breastfeeding moms.
How to Make Meal Replacement Shakes?
After consulting your doctor and making sure that you can drink meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding, follow these steps to make your own meal replacement shake:
Ingredients you can use:
- Protein Powder, like Milk Dust Lactation Protein Powder or Boobie Body Organic Superfood Plant-Based Protein Shake
- Fresh or frozen fruits
- Milk, yogurt or juice
- Nondairy milk, such as soy milk, almond milk or oat milk
- Ice cubes
- Brewers Yeast Powder for Lactation
- Seeds, like chia seeds or hemp seeds
- Raw, unsalted nuts
- Natural sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup
- Probiotics, such as PRO-Moms Probiotics or Biomeology Probiotics
- Choose favorite ingredients.
- Add protein powder (approved by your doctor).
- Quickly mix the ingredients with your blender, such as Ninja, Blendtec or Vitamix which are best for homemade shakes.
Potential Problems With Meal Replacement Shakes
There are many benefits to using meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding but, there are also a few disadvantages that you better be aware of. Here they are:
- As mentioned above, some meal replacement shakes contain unhealthy ingredients for breastfeeding moms. Make sure to check the ingredient label and consult your doctor before using it. There are also products that are specially made for breastfeeding moms which are safe to use.
- Meal replacement shakes may not be a long-term solution, especially during breastfeeding. You need to make sure that you eat a healthy and balanced diet during breastfeeding.
Make sure that you consult with your doctor about any protein powders and meal replacements you’re considering. Your healthcare provider’s opinion may be the deciding factor in helping you choose a supplement for your meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding.