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Breastfeeding Magazine

Low Carb Diet and Breastfeeding



Should Breastfeeding Moms Even Consider a Low Carb Diet?

That depends. A low-carb diet is a great option for some women because they can take off weight very quickly. However, diets like Atkins, South Beach and other Low-carb alternatives can cause some problems for a breastfeeding mom.

breastfeeding dietMost of these problems are related to what a very low carb diet can do to your body. During the early phases of these diets, you leave out carbohydrates in order to enter a fat-burning stage called ketosis. This burns fat, lessens hunger and flushes water out of the body. However, the ketones released into your breast milk WILL reach your nursing child and they have not yet determined if that is safe.

According to Atkins Health and Medical Information Services:

“The reason for [recommending that breastfeeding mothers not follow the Atkins diet] is because the only studies that observe ketosis in pregnancy or breast feeding are in uncontrolled diabetics who are in ketoacidosis, not the same thing as ketosis.

There are NO studies that show the safety of burning ketones and its effect on babies (either in utero or breast feeding). We do know that ketones are found in breast milk. Babies may have a different threshold of tolerating ketones than adults, maybe not, but I’m sure you do not want your child to be the guinea pig!”

Having said that, as long as you only use the maintenance stage of a low card diet, you will still probably lose weight, but slower and without releasing ketones.

Tips for moms who still wish to try a low-carb diet:

  • Wait until baby is at least 6 months old before dieting and has started solids foods.
  •  Avoid dehydration by drinking water, water and MORE WATER!
  • Start gradually and avoid “phase one” of any of the diets.
  •  Do not drop below 1800 calories per day on a low carb plan.
  •  Keep an eye on baby’s diaper output and weight gain. If you notice a decrease in your milk supply, stop immediately.

For better diet options for breastfeeding moms, click here to find the best breastfeeding diet for you..

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