3

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Low Carb and Breastfeeding?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 06, 2011 at 8:21 PM

I keep toying with the idea of restricting carbs because I still have about half of the baby fat 2 years later (35 of the 70 pounds gained while preggo). I am however still breastfeeding, and the low carb gurus seem to say "don't even think about it" if you're nursing. I have done the occasional day where I just eat meat because that's all I want, and my breasts don't seem to fill up in the same way the next day. So maybe I've answered my own question. I'm just tired of being so jiggly in the middle, and want to know if anyone here has tried it successfully. And if so, did you ease into it, or just dive right on in?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 07, 2011
at 08:34 AM

I was briefly considered hypothyroid, before going ZC, after which it became normal.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:35 AM

That sounds like my ideal diet, and pretty much what I ate pre-pregnancy. I would think that if we are truly omnivores we should be able to make milk from just about any nutrient combo. I was just concerned because even Atkins seemed steer women away from low carb while breastfeeding. Good to hear you've been successful.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:14 AM

I've heard the same cautions about low carbing and thyroid issues. I was hypothyroid until I started eating low carb, and then was able to slowly wean off of the medication about a year into it. The thing I don't want to mess around with is my son's main source of calories, he eats solid food, but not a whole lot of it.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:05 AM

I've been doing more of a WAPF style diet while nursing. I was dairy free pre-pregnancy. I'm really into butter now, but I could ditch the rest pretty easily. I've started snarfing down coconut oil by the spoonful recently instead of just adding it to cooking, so maybe that will help with letting go of the carbs.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:00 AM

I would think being omnivores our bodies would still figure out a way to make milk no matter what our caloric input choice. What you are eating sounds like my ideal diet, that is what I ate pre-pregnancy. Thanks for the answer.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 04:55 AM

I had a lot of insulin resistance problems pre-pregnancy, so I think it is small miracle that I didn't develop gestational diabetes. The thing that got me considering going low carb again while nursing is that my last lab work showed elevated triglycerides, which my doc said would indicated insulin resistance. I'm willing to take the hit to my own health if it means better milk for my son, but if that sacrifice isn't necessary, I'd like to go back to LC. Thanks for sharing your experience.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 04:30 AM

I'm doing extended breastfeeding, so I don't think a dip in supply would really hurt him. He just nurses a lot still, and gets kinda bitey when milk isn't super abundant. I did have a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance for the first 4 months of breastfeeding, so perhaps I am someone who would actually do better low carb and breastfeeding.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on July 07, 2011
at 04:16 AM

I personally think calorie counting is a lot worse than low carb. Artificially stopping yourself for some arbitrary number seems silly when you're giving so much of yourself to another being. I refuse to be hungry while nursing. Those hunger signals are there for a reason and low carb no only satiates me but it's much simpler to get all your necessary vitamins and minerals over the course of a week when you don't have to calorie count. That's jut my opinion, though.

D3b41912de6b7f60753b8e6063c9b05a

(362)

on July 07, 2011
at 03:23 AM

my understanding is that low carb is beneficial for people with thyroid isses but not the "cure-all". honestly, the only thing I know about thyroid comes from my sister-in-law who has hypo issues and is stricting low carb (and is tandem nursing - 5 months and 3 years)

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7 Answers

best answer

7
C835934198ffe146cb90eebc22c6b8d8

on July 06, 2011
at 08:57 PM

I breastfed my first kiddo (and still am breastfeeding my second baby who is 3 weeks old) and managed to shed all pregnancy weight and then some. While still giving my babies very nutritious milk while going very low carb. You don't need carbs what you need is fat. High fat low carb. Seems to be working wonders. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes with my first pregnancy and went low carb back in 08'and never looked back. Good luck and I hope this helps!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 04:55 AM

I had a lot of insulin resistance problems pre-pregnancy, so I think it is small miracle that I didn't develop gestational diabetes. The thing that got me considering going low carb again while nursing is that my last lab work showed elevated triglycerides, which my doc said would indicated insulin resistance. I'm willing to take the hit to my own health if it means better milk for my son, but if that sacrifice isn't necessary, I'd like to go back to LC. Thanks for sharing your experience.

best answer

0
D3b41912de6b7f60753b8e6063c9b05a

(362)

on July 06, 2011
at 09:05 PM

you need to get enough calories, fat, protein, and water while breastfeeding. if you don't get enough food or enough water, your production will go down. if you are having problems with production, drink some water.

fullness of breast is not a good indication of production. good indications are baby having enough wet/dirty diapers and baby's hunger signs. hunger signs can be hard to follow for little babies. also, fullness of breast is a real indication of the foremilk. but, you and baby are most concerned about the hindmilk (that really fatty thick milk baby gets at the end of the feeding).

the problem with going low carb is knowing how much food you need - many moms will not eat enough food. that is bad for mommy and baby.

you didn't mention if you are doing extended breastfeeding or nursing your second child. if this is extended breastfeeding, your toddler is getting a some of their nutrition from food at age two. Be more cautious if you are nursing an infant.

my midwife told me through both of my pregnancies and while nursing that nutrition is the same while baby relies on mommy and protein grows a healthy baby, fat grows healthy brains, fruits and veggies provide all the other stuff and drink more water. (I think I drank an ocean while nursing)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 04:30 AM

I'm doing extended breastfeeding, so I don't think a dip in supply would really hurt him. He just nurses a lot still, and gets kinda bitey when milk isn't super abundant. I did have a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance for the first 4 months of breastfeeding, so perhaps I am someone who would actually do better low carb and breastfeeding.

3
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on July 06, 2011
at 09:17 PM

I've been low carb since my son was 2 months. He's healthy, we both have good vitamin D levels, and my supply has not suffered (he's 7 months old now.) somehow the Inuit breastfed their babies without worrying about being low carb. Just eat a nutrient dense diet... Skip the chicken breast for Grassfed meat from ruminants, shellfish, egg yolks, and offal then make sure you get some dark leafy greens like kale or spinach in plenty of Grassfed butter or coconut. That's pretty much all I eat. We're doing great and my Blood tests show no deficiencies.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:00 AM

I would think being omnivores our bodies would still figure out a way to make milk no matter what our caloric input choice. What you are eating sounds like my ideal diet, that is what I ate pre-pregnancy. Thanks for the answer.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:35 AM

That sounds like my ideal diet, and pretty much what I ate pre-pregnancy. I would think that if we are truly omnivores we should be able to make milk from just about any nutrient combo. I was just concerned because even Atkins seemed steer women away from low carb while breastfeeding. Good to hear you've been successful.

1
F087e79f7e8a76613c9b82528ab6dc3f

on July 07, 2011
at 12:07 AM

Christa G is right. I did it. I went Paleo during my pregnancy I gained 25 pounds. My second son weighed 24 pounds at four months. I lost down to 118 pounds while nursing him. I weighed less than before I got pregnant. I could not get enough eggs (at least 5 for breakfast) and meat. I ate a variety of fresh raw vegetables and fruit and a glass of water every time I sat down to nurse. I had enough milk for two babies. He is now 6 foot tall, slim and looks like he belongs in magazines. I nursed him for 18 months. He weaned himself on chicken. He could eat 4 pieces for dinner at 18 months old.

My first child, I gained 50 pounds and was miserable. I had no idea how to eat. After he was born I wore my husbands jeans and began to search for the right nutrition. I went low carb and lost all the weight in 4 months. I felt much better. I nursed for about a year.

1
6337347af520cecb574497af83ce9e78

on July 06, 2011
at 10:42 PM

I've been breastfeeding for 10 years and eating paleo for most of them. I haven't had any trouble with supply, but some things to keep in mind are drink enough water, eat enough fat (calories), and nurse as often as your child wants to.

1
B2e7d32d88eefb6c30360fef9fda4240

on July 06, 2011
at 09:25 PM

I've gone paleo since having my second child, whom I'm breastfeeding at 14 months. I've lost about 15 kgs and haven't had my milk supply affected, but I didn't cut out dairy until he was 12 months - up until then I was eating more WAPF style and drinking a litre of raw milk a day, plus lots of butter and coconut oil. I agree that you need a lot of fat, and I've often wondered whether the 'standard' paleo diet that many follow is high enough in fat for lactating and pregnant women. I'd be inclined to follow the WAPF guidelines for pregnant and nursing mothers but cut out the grains.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:05 AM

I've been doing more of a WAPF style diet while nursing. I was dairy free pre-pregnancy. I'm really into butter now, but I could ditch the rest pretty easily. I've started snarfing down coconut oil by the spoonful recently instead of just adding it to cooking, so maybe that will help with letting go of the carbs.

0
0dc1d63c3d5975f5115f535c6a90c9dd

(2283)

on July 06, 2011
at 08:35 PM

As a long time breastfeeding veteran (3 kids and 5 yrs and counting), I just don't think it's a good idea. I've toyed with it, too, and had the same experience.

What's worked best for me is to calorie count. At first, it's monotonous, but rather easy after a couple weeks. It's the ONLY thing that has worked, even within the Paleo realm. Then there's a lot of evidence pointing to Low Carb not being good for your thyroid. It's just too iffy for me, while breastfeeding.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 07, 2011
at 08:34 AM

I was briefly considered hypothyroid, before going ZC, after which it became normal.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on July 07, 2011
at 04:16 AM

I personally think calorie counting is a lot worse than low carb. Artificially stopping yourself for some arbitrary number seems silly when you're giving so much of yourself to another being. I refuse to be hungry while nursing. Those hunger signals are there for a reason and low carb no only satiates me but it's much simpler to get all your necessary vitamins and minerals over the course of a week when you don't have to calorie count. That's jut my opinion, though.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 07, 2011
at 05:14 AM

I've heard the same cautions about low carbing and thyroid issues. I was hypothyroid until I started eating low carb, and then was able to slowly wean off of the medication about a year into it. The thing I don't want to mess around with is my son's main source of calories, he eats solid food, but not a whole lot of it.

D3b41912de6b7f60753b8e6063c9b05a

(362)

on July 07, 2011
at 03:23 AM

my understanding is that low carb is beneficial for people with thyroid isses but not the "cure-all". honestly, the only thing I know about thyroid comes from my sister-in-law who has hypo issues and is stricting low carb (and is tandem nursing - 5 months and 3 years)

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