So you had a baby, and you’re having a hard time dropping the baby weight? I hear you! For 7 months, I swore I was going to lose the weight the way I always did through diet and exercise. Well, it wasn’t working, and how I felt about myself was really starting to affect me. I have been a health professional for years and always told people to steer clear of diets. I’d say, “just stay consistent, and you’ll get the results you want.” Well, now I’d like to punch myself in the face because I get it.
Enter the keto diet. I have heard about it, but I never paid too much attention to it. What I did know is that people were wildly successful on it. Eventually, I broke down and decided to try it and have had a lot of success. Here is what I have learned about breastfeeding while doing keto. Please keep in mind I am not a doctor, just a mom who likes research.
When you first calculate your macro requirement, it will give you an estimate of your overall calorie goals. For most people, this number will be lower than what we usually consume. This is a problem while we breastfeed because we do need more calories to help sustain our milk production. They estimate that an average of 500-600 calories is burned a day just breastfeeding. For this reason, I give my calorie restriction a little wiggle room. My estimation is 1627 calories a day, so I typically eat about 1800-1900 to offset the breastfeeding.
Women who are breastfeeding should not abide by a 5% limit on carbs. For me, that would only be 20 grams of carbs a day. It is estimated that women lose approximately 30 grams of sugar a day breastfeeding. See the issue? The first day I did this, I woke up so sick. Luckily, I have a lot of medical training and instantly recognized it as ketoacidosis. Right away, I did a ketone test stick, which was instantly dark purple (indicating a large amount of ketones). To counteract what was going on, I ate some bread and drank some juice to make my body produce insulin. I was very lucky that it worked and felt better by the end of the day.
To avoid that from happening, I do 10% carbs, which is 40 grams, and that has worked much better for me. I am also taking breastfeeding herbal supplements to make sure my milk production doesn’t slow down.
NOTE: Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition, and if you experience any of the following, please call 911, excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, fruity-scented breath, confusion.
It is worth a quick call to your doctor if you have had any pregnancy-related complications or gestational diabetes to make sure that keto is right for you.
My last advice, it is very easy for people to go down the rabbit hole of super processed foods while on keto. I always heard, “it’s the diet you can eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.” Well, that may be true, but you want to make sure that you are still consuming as much nutrition as possible because what you eat, your baby eats.