Can I Drink Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding?
There are many foods and drinks that breastfeeding mothers are told to consume and an even larger list of foods and drinks that they are told to avoid. But where do meal replacement shakes come into this equation? Can I drink meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding?
It is perfectly safe to drink meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding, provided the shake itself is well-made and free from common allergens. It is important to use meal replacement shakes as an extra source of calories rather than as a weight loss tool, as breastfeeding requires 300-500 additional calories per day.
In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at the arguments for and against drinking meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding
Can I Drink Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding?
For many women, pregnancy is the first time where they are specifically told to avoid certain foods and drinks. Women are told to avoid alcohol, fish, caffeine, raw and unpasteurised foods, and even processed food. Post-pregnancy, women who decide to breastfeed their children soon realise that the post-pregnancy diet can seem just as restrictive.
This isn’t actually the case. The list of foods to avoid is fairly short and more of a suggestion than a direction. But what is certainly true is that a healthier diet will have a positive outcome for both mother and baby.
According to the NHS, the foods and drinks to pay attention to (you don’t necessarily need to avoid them) are:
- Caffeine (stick to 300 mg or less)
- Alcohol (1-2 units of alcohol, once or twice per week)
- Fish (no more than 2 portions of oily fish, avoid swordfish, marlin, or shark)
- Peanuts (only if you are allergic yourself)
- Cow’s milk (if your child is allergic)
As you can see, meal replacement shakes don’t feature on this list unless they contain whey protein (and it’s only an issue if your child has an allergy).
There are some meal replacement shakes that contain caffeine, though the amount of caffeine present is nowhere near the daily limit. There may also be meal replacement shakes that contain peanuts or are made in factories in which peanut-containing products are also made.
Bottom Line: A good quality meal replacement shake is unlikely to include any of the ingredients that breastfeeding women are told to avoid.
Can I Drink ONLY Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding?
Theoretically, you could get away with drinking nothing but meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding, but this would not be your best option.
Common advice for breastfeeding mothers is to eat a varied diet. Even though meal replacement shakes are very healthy and nutritious, you can’t get variety when consuming the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Having a meal replacement shake as a replacement for one meal or as a healthy snack to help increase your calorie intake (more on this later) is a better option.
The biggest issue with consuming only meal replacement shakes is that you would probably lose weight as your calorie intake would be relatively low.
Rootana, for example, contains 400 calories per shake, you can increase this calorie count by mixing it with other ingredients (fruits, nut butter, seeds etc.), but even so, you would be looking at <1,500 calories per day.
This may be desirable, but it is not a good idea while you are breastfeeding. Here’s why:
You Need to Increase or Maintain Calories While Breastfeeding
Post-pregnancy, there is often a desire to lose any weight that has accumulated over the previous nine months. The standard advice for weight loss is to increase your physical activity levels while simultaneously reducing your calorie intake.
But this advice is not ideal when breastfeeding. Feeding your child requires between 300 and 500 calories per day. This means that if you maintain your regular calorie intake per day (from before you were pregnant), you should get enough calories to feed your baby while still seeing a reduction in body fat .
Meal replacement shakes can fit into this nicely, they can replace low-calorie meals, or they can be used instead of snacks. The added nutrients can help to improve your health, and provided you are using a meal replacement shake that uses natural ingredients, you can expect to see an improvement in your overall nutrition.
Bottom Line: Use meal replacement shakes to help you hit your recommended calorie intake, don’t use them to lose weight. It is unnecessary.
Why Rootana is Ideal for Breastfeeding Mothers
While any meal replacement shake is perfectly safe to consume while breastfeeding, it would be preferable for you to drink a meal replacement shake that uses natural ingredients wherever possible. Rootana is, therefore, an ideal choice.
We have made Rootana with all-natural ingredients, rolled oats, pea protein, milled flaxseed, and sunflower seeds. Rootana avoids the use of artificial sweeteners, colourings, and genetically modified foods.
Each serving of Rootana contains 400 calories, making them ideal for replacing low-calorie unhealthy meals. They are high in protein and fibre and use low GI carbohydrates (oats). Rootana also contains healthy fats.
There is a lot of misinformation surrounding meal replacement shakes. A lot of this is a hangover from the early 00s when meal replacement shakes were cheaply made and often part of pyramid schemes. Today, the industry is transformed.
There are many excellent meal replacement shakes out there that are ideal for anyone who wishes to improve their health and nutrition, whether they are breastfeeding or not.
We believe that Rootana is the best of them, thanks to its formula avoiding the use of artificial sweeteners, colourings, flavourings, and genetically modified ingredients such as soy.
Just remember, meal replacement shakes work best when they are taken in conjunction with a varied and healthy diet, as well as leading a healthy lifestyle. Follow this and you will be doing the best you can for yourself and your child.