Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe for Breastfeeding Mums?

Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe for Breastfeeding Mums?

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Last Updated on February, 2023

Meal replacement shakes are drinks that are used for different purposes. Some people use them to catch up on all the nutrients they otherwise miss out on. Some use them in a way similar to protein shakes. Some use them for help with losing weight, and others just like them because they’re good additions to a healthy diet.

Long story short, there are plenty of ways a meal replacement shake can be helpful, and anyone can find a way to use them to their advantage. This includes breastfeeding mums too, as certain meal replacements can offer everything they need during this challenging stage of motherhood.

But that doesn’t mean you can pick out any product you find. That’d be wreckless and can have harmful effects. First, you need to know about them, including how they might help you and how you should choose one. So, without further ado, let’s start by talking about meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding and why it’s a good idea (or not).

Quick Summary

Meal replacement shakes are a convenient way of consuming nutritious meals without the hassle of preparing a full meal.

They are safe for breastfeeding mums as long as they are of good quality with healthy, natural, and organic ingredients.

The benefits of drinking meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding include that they are high in protein, offer a variety of nutrients, and are convenient to make and drink.

What are Meal Replacement Shakes?

a human holding Meal replacement shake

Meal replacement shakes aren’t all that different from a protein shake. The most significant difference you can single out is the nutritional value. This key difference between both products makes a meal replacement shake so good for your nutritional needs.

They’re loaded with protein, just like any protein powder would be. This is a great thing, as protein intake is vital for breastfeeding women. But what makes it even better is that they have many other essential nutrients.

Each serving is meant to replace a nutritious meal, and that’s precisely what a good meal replacement does. There are essential vitamins, complex carbohydrates, amino acids, and more that contribute to a balanced diet.

So, in the simplest words, they’re supplements that offer a quick and convenient way of consuming nutritious meals without the hassle of preparing a full meal. It’s easy to drink meal replacement shakes and get the job done. 

But is that safe for breastfeeding mums? Let’s go over that real quick, along with some important reasons to keep in mind.

Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe While Breastfeeding?

Meal replacement shakes and spoons with powders on the floor

Women must be extra careful with their diet while breastfeeding because they’re eating for more than one person. It’s essential to have a varied diet with all the nutrients necessary to ensure that there aren’t any issues with breast milk supply.

Well, if you haven’t gotten the idea already, that’s what meal replacements are for. They’re loaded with the best nutritional value in any supplement you’ll find, and each serving is a convenient treat for your body. But is this treat safe for a breastfeeding mom?

This depends entirely on the meal replacement shake or meal replacement powder in question because they all have unique formulas with different ingredients. A good quality shake with healthy, natural, and organic ingredients will be safe.

 But something with harmful ingredients and artificial sweeteners isn’t safe in the long run.

As long as you know what these supplements are and how to choose the right one, you’re sure to have no issues with them. So, let’s start with some potential benefits of drinking meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding.

Benefits of Meal Replacement Shake While Breastfeeding

Not only are meal replacement shakes safe, but they’re also pretty beneficial in many ways, much more so than protein shakes/protein powders. So, let’s take a look at some of the ways they’re good for breastfeeding moms, especially:

High in Protein

It’s no secret that women who are breastfeeding have a much higher requirement for protein than others. That’s especially the case for protein, as moms will need an additional 25 grams of it every day during breastfeeding. Well, the good thing is that meal replacements are full of them.

More protein is essential to produce milk supply. Without enough of it in your daily diet, you might struggle. This can be unhealthy for both the mother and her baby. To avoid this, a meal replacement shake can help you get enough protein in your daily diet.

some High Protein foods on the table

The best meal replacement powders and shakes will always have a complete protein profile, with several grams in each serving. This can be a massive boost towards reaching your daily diet goals and boost breast milk production. 

Another good thing is that there’s more than enough variety to get the exact kind of protein you’re looking for.

There are types of plant-based protein (soy protein isolate, pea protein, etc.) and animal byproducts. You don’t have to settle for anything unhealthy or artificial to increase your milk supply.

Micronutrients

Breast milk is meant to give babies just the right kind of nutrition for their optimal growth. But, a mother has to take care of her own health and diet for this, as what she eats will directly translate into her milk supply. 

While this obviously means getting enough calories, protein, and healthy fats, it also means consuming micronutrients.

This is something the occasional quick meal usually lacks. But meal replacement shakes can deliver. As mentioned, they have lots of amazing nutrients in them. This includes many that support postpartum recovery healthily. 

They feature hormone-free minerals, vitamins, iodine, choline, and so much more that are very good for a breastfeeding mother’s health.

There’s Endless Variety to Choose From

I mentioned while talking about protein earlier that there’s so much variety to choose from. This doesn’t just go for the protein though. A meal replacement powder can have just about anything you need if you know how to look for the right one.

Different formulas have just the right ingredients, and nutrition suits people’s unique needs. This includes formulas for weight loss, formulas for building muscle, curbing hunger, and much more. Thanks to all the options, you can find something perfectly suited to your own needs.

different flavors of meal replacement shake

You’ll easily be able to find a healthy meal replacement shake that offers the needed nutrients with the set of ingredients most suited to your personal preferences.

Saves You Time as They’re Convenient to Make and Drink

Honestly, this one speaks for itself. Meal replacement shakes are much easier to make than any full meal, which is another thing that makes them so good. This is especially such a massive benefit for breastfeeding moms because of how much attention they have to give to their babies. 

That doesn’t leave much room behind for preparing full nutritious meals every day. Plus, even when there is time, they’re sometimes just too tired to bother.  

But, a meal replacement shake is zero hassle to prepare. Just a bit of mixing and voila; your healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner is ready to drink.

What to Look for in an MRS While Breastfeeding?

You can only get the benefits mentioned above if the meal replacements you buy are good enough. But, how do you decide what’s good enough and what isn’t? Well, you need to know what to look for exactly. That’s what we’ll be covering next by talking about the things women need in a meal replacement shake while breastfeeding. 

Avoid Bad Ingredients

Avoiding bad and harmful ingredients isn’t as obvious as it sounds regarding meal replacement shakes. It can be tricky to find the healthiest ones because of false promises. But there are some things you can use to spot the perfect one with the best set of ingredients.

First off, completely cross out any options with harmful additives or artificial flavors because these have terrible effects in the long run. Secondly, make sure to avoid anything that has ingredients you’re allergic to, obviously. 

some Bad Ingredients  of meal replacement shake

Now, something important to look for is natural ingredients and certifications that back up the facts. For example, anyone can claim their product is fully organic or vegan. But, only those with certifications are the ones you should trust. 

Once you find something with the right set of ingredients for your needs and sources that back up the manufacturer’s claims, you know you’ve hit the jackpot.

Lots of Calories

Breastfeeding moms have a much higher need for nutrients than most other people, which also goes for calories. Unfortunately, many meal replacement shakes aren’t the strongest in this department since they’re usually made for weight loss.

You’ll want to drink meal replacement shakes with at least 400 calories per serving because otherwise, you might run low on your daily requirement. So, make sure to look for a product that can offer a calorie intake around these numbers or even more if that’s needed.

Nutritional Density

Along with the extra calories, you’ll need lots of extra nutrition. Without the necessary nutrients, you might be drinking a protein shake.

That’s why it’s essential to search for the whole package when trying to buy a meal replacement shake.

You’ll want high protein, many healthy fats, good carbs, and many micronutrients with all the calories.

Not only will this help your health, but it’ll also increase your milk supply and help your baby’s health.

some Nutritional Density foods on the floor

Iodine and Choline

While I’ve mentioned nutrients in general, it’s vital to highlight iodine and choline especially. These are two micronutrients that many breastfeeding women have a deficiency of. They aren’t the most common parts of a meal replacement shake, either.

So, I recommend going out of your way to look for a shake with these in them. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise consuming 290 mcg of iodine and 550mg of choline every day during the first year postpartum. Without these, the baby’s health can be at risk.

An infant whose mother is deficient in iodine and choline while breastfeeding is at an increased risk of iodine deficiency and associated cognitive and psychomotor impairments, as well as other issues. So, make sure you get enough of these in your diet.

A Few Problems to Watch Out for Breastfeeding Moms

some problems of having meal replacement shakes for Breastfeeding moms

You know about the benefits that are there if you drink a good meal replacement shake. But what are the problems to watch out for in a bad one? Well, for starters…:

Allergens and Harmful Additives

There’s nothing to explain here. Your diet and healthy directly affect the health of your baby while breastfeeding. That’s why you need to watch out for allergens that affect you and harmful additives because they can cause serious damage to your health and your baby.

They Aren’t a Long Term Solution

Lots of people want to use these shakes to lose baby weight or pre-pregnancy weight. While they’re definitely good for losing weight, meal replacements aren’t a long-term weight loss solution. It’s much healthier to pair them with a healthy exercise routine and an active lifestyle for permanent effects. 

Otherwise, you can expect to gain weight shortly after some time.

Related article: Can a pregnant women drink meal replacement shakes?

Problems With the Digestive System

Drinking meal replacement shakes too often can cause issues with the digestive system because of their liquid nature and certain ingredients. They can make you gassy, bloated, and uncomfortable around the stomach region. 

This can be avoided by drinking in moderation, though.

Here’s a list of 13 Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Females that are healthy.

Conclusion

That’s pretty much all of the most important things you need to know about drinking meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding. As you can see, they’re good for many things and can help a mother in many ways during this point of child raising.

I’ve gone over exactly why they’re good for a breastfeeding woman, while also covering some crucial details regarding choosing the right one. So, now it’s up to you to use that information and find the perfect fit for yourself.

If you still have any questions related to the topic, feel free to ask in the comments, and you’ll get your answer! Speaking of questions, I’ll go over a few of the most common ones, so you don’t have to ask.

FAQs

It is recommended to drink up to two meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding, however one daily is the best option.

To maintain a healthy weight while breastfeeding, it is recommended to consume 1800-2000 calories daily. Meal replacements can provide a convenient way to get the necessary nutrition and calories for weight loss.

Breastfeeding can make it difficult to lose weight due to the increased sugar cravings and hunger associated with this stage.

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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband that she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.

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