Last Updated on May, 2022
It goes without saying that food is essential because it keeps our bodies going. But, it becomes even more critical when you’re a breastfeeding mom.
Keeping yourself healthy and well-fed post-pregnancy isn’t as easy of a task as it might sound to some.
The task is even more difficult for women looking to lose weight. There are many ways to go about losing weight after pregnancy. But, many of these involve diets and restrictions that are bad for milk production. Besides, some diets can lead to a deficiency of vitamins and minerals.
For new nursing moms, life is a lot busier. There’s so much to manage, and taking care of yourself, your baby, and your weight can all be challenging. That’s why a meal replacement shake is what some breastfeeding mums need.
If you aren’t familiar with these and want to make meal replacement shakes a part of your diet, continue reading. We’ll be going through the details of what they are and their effects on breastfeeding moms.
- Meal Replacement Shakes – A Brief Introduction
- Meal Replacement Shakes for Nursing Mothers
- Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe?
- Can These Shakes Help With Weight Loss?
- Effects of Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding
- Choosing the Perfect Meal Replacement Shake
- Making Your Own Meal Replacement Shake
Meal Replacement Shakes – A Brief Introduction
Before discussing what a meal replacement shake can do, it’s essential to know what they are. Also, you must not confuse them with things like protein powders or protein shakes.
Meal replacement shakes promote weight loss and help you stay healthy at the same time. They help you replace the nutritional value of one complete meal. They do that while providing many fewer calories.
As their name suggests, meal replacement shakes replace one or two meals from your daily diet.
A meal replacement shake holding 300 calories usually provides all the nutrients that you’d get from a meal with 500-700 calories. If you want to learn about what kind of nutrients they can offer, here’s a small rundown:
What Do They Consist Of?
Meal replacement shakes tend to offer all the optimal nutrition one might need. This includes essential vitamins and minerals, protein intake, and more. Most of them contain Vitamins B and D. They also have lots of iron, calcium, potassium, carbs, fats, fiber, and minerals. (1)
The specifics of the quantity and variety depends on the meal replacement shake you’re drinking. So, you’ll have to do more research on that based on the meal replacements you end up taking.
Meal Replacement Shakes for Nursing Mothers
Babies are adorable, but no doubt, for breastfeeding moms, that they can put quite a strain on their bodies.
Breast milk production and feeding can drain your energy. That’s why you need lots of nutrients and a healthy balanced diet to avoid burning yourself out.
You need the energy to take care of your health and your baby’s. That’s why protein, healthy fats, iron, minerals, as well as Vitamins B and C are so important for these mothers.
Consuming meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding is a great way of getting all these nutrients. Meal replacement shakes also help you maintain muscles and gain tissue building blocks.
Right now, it sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Like there’s some sort of catch coming? Well, if you’re wondering that, continue reading. You’ll find out how safe meal replacement shakes can or can’t be for breastfeeding mums.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Safe?
There’s no single answer to this question. That’s because it all depends on several factors. For example, if you’re asking whether meal replacement shakes are safe or not, you have to take quantity into account.
Are you going to use them for one or two meal replacements? Are you referring to shakes that are light or a healthy shake that has lots of nutrients?
For breastfeeding women, healthy meals are essential. A balanced diet and supply of adequate nourishment are also crucial. You can’t drink meal replacement powders and shakes many times a day because of this.
Drinking them once a day is what makes meal replacement shakes safe.
You’re much better off using them as a safe meal replacement for a light meal, a healthy snack, or a calorie-controlled meal.
When you lack the energy to make a complete meal, they can be a great way to give yourself a quick boost.
There’s nothing wrong with meal replacement shakes if you take them in controlled amounts. Drink them once a day. Relying on them throughout the day won’t get you enough nutrients to care for yourself and your baby or increase milk supply.
Recommended to read: What is The Best Time to Drink Meal Replacement Shake?
Can These Shakes Help With Weight Loss?
It’s no secret that feeding a baby burns through calories like crazy and can help in losing weight. As a breastfeeding mom, you can lose up to 200-500 calories per day. But, of course, the exact number depends on your breast milk supply and how often your baby tends to feed.
If your baby feeds very often, you’ll burn a lot more calories compared to a mother whose baby feeds less often. Also, as newborn babies drink more than grown infants, getting enough protein and other nutrients can be difficult for new moms.
While the average woman eats 1800-2000 calories each day, a breastfeeding woman should consume 2300-2500. That’s because you will be eating for two since the calories you consume will help with breast milk production.
Even if you’re trying to lose weight, 1800 calories per day is a must for women that want to care for themselves and their children. That many calories don’t help with weight loss, though. This is where meal replacement shakes come in.
They give you all the nutrients you need while sacrificing calories during weight loss. Drinking meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding also helps you lose body fat.
That’s why you should try them out instead of snacking now and then. Pair a meal replacement shake with some light exercise, and you’ll be sure to see positive results on your weight loss journey!
Effects of Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding
You now know that they’re safe and suitable for weight loss! But what are the effects of taking meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding?
Like everything else, they have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most important ones you should know about:
|The Pros||The Cons|
|When you’re breastfeeding, meal replacement shakes are remarkable for their convenience. But, moving around can be very difficult when you’ve become a mother, especially if you have had a c-section.||To start this part of the article, we have to say that there are no alarming reasons. As we’ve already discussed, meal replacement shakes are safe for breastfeeding mothers.|
|It’s challenging to get around the house, let alone prepare entire meals for yourself. So you’ll love how convenient a meal replacement shake can be if you can relate to that.||But, as we also mentioned, it’s only safe depending on certain factors and precautions. Too much of this shake will keep you full for a more extended period. When that’s the case, you won’t have room to eat more food.|
|Much like a protein shake, they’re straightforward to make. You’ll usually even find a set of instructions on the shake’s packaging. In a few simple steps, you’ll have something that can sate your hunger. They’ll also give you the energy you need to look after your baby.||This means that you won’t feed yourself enough nutrients to help with your child’s feeding and growth. That’s why you must regulate the total amount and take no more than one serving of a meal replacement shake per day.|
|That isn’t all, though. By now, you already know what a great source of nutrients they are. They have vitamins and minerals you’ll need as a nursing mom.||One of the biggest cons is that there are usually many artificial ingredients in them. This includes things such as artificial flavors and artificial sweeteners. Also, like protein powder, they tend to be processed.|
|Meal replacement shakes also have iron, calcium, potassium, and other great qualities. All these are great for breastfeeding moms.||That’s something that a lot of people aren’t big fans of. If you’re one of them, make sure to check the labels before buying meal replacements.|
|As mentioned before, they have low calories as well. This is something that could be a disadvantage for most nursing moms. But, since your problem is too much weight, it is an advantage in this one case.||Get a good look at the ingredients, and don’t be afraid to consult your doctor either. They can help when you’re looking for meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding. Doctors will also recommend a suitable diet plan and help you avoid products you’re allergic to.|
|The most crucial detail of them all is that they’re loaded with protein. This is an excellent thing for both you and your baby.||So, contact them and ask for their advice too. That way, they’ll be able to guide you through which options are good or bad for you.|
|Protein is one of the critical things for milk supply. That’s why doctors recommend you take 25 grams of extra protein compared to what you usually do when nursing children. They don’t only help produce milk; they also make sure it has a suitable volume.||Another thing to watch out for is the false promise of quality. Many tasty meal replacement shakes claim to be healthy and filled with nutrients, but that’s not always the case. So once again, we recommend that you take a good look at the ingredients and label yourself.|
|Since it’s one of the main things that’ll pass through the milk and into your baby’s body, it’ll help them out too! It’s great for a baby’s immune system and helps them grow up to be strong.|
|Protein is a great way to boost recovery for all those mothers looking to be active after childbirth. Besides, it’ll help you get back on your feet much faster, which is ideal for obvious reasons.|
Choosing the Perfect Meal Replacement Shake
The cons we’ve mentioned might’ve been a little alarming, but don’t worry! They’re only cons that depend on certain factors. Choosing the right meal replacement shakes while breastfeeding and a bit of self-care can help you avoid them all!
That said, there are so many things to take into mind that making a choice can be difficult. We’re here to lend a hand, though! Here are some essential things you have to keep in mind to make your search for the perfect meal replacement shake much easier:
- Artificial sweeteners and sugar. These are both things manufacturers will add to improve the flavors of their shakes. Make sure to get something with as little of these as possible to manage your blood sugar and diet. A meal replacement shake without any artificial sweeteners or flavors also tastes good.
- Watch out for the fat value. Healthy meal replacement shakes shouldn’t have more than 15 grams of fat. Make sure the fats aren’t saturated.
- Look for high protein! We’ve already gone through how vital protein is for you and your newborn baby. Make sure the shake you get has about 15-20 grams of it per serving.
- Keep an eye out for the calories. Your meal replacement shake should have enough calories to provide enough strength for you and the baby.
- Get a shake with suitable fiber. Without fiber, you won’t be able to make the most out of the nutrients that meal replacement shakes offer. Make sure that the option you choose has at least 3-5 grams of it.
- Watch out for ingredients you’re allergic to! Make sure your meal replacement shakes don’t feature ingredients that trigger your allergies.
Making Your Own Meal Replacement Shake
It’s possible that you might not like all the meal replacement shakes in the market. If that’s the case, then breastfeeding moms also have the option of making a replacement shake at home! That said, it’s a very straightforward process.
All you’ll need is the right ingredients and a functioning blender. Once you have that, you’ll be able to make your meal replacement shake with ease.
One of the main ingredients breastfeeding mums will be needing is protein powder. Make sure that you get the kind that’s suitable for breastfeeding women.
For the base of the shake, you’ll need any one of juice, milk, or water. If you go with milk, make sure it doesn’t include any dairy. Almond milk, soy milk, and other options of the sort are good choices.
You’ll also need various fruits and vegetables. Again, these can be of your choice. Get some ice cubes and healthy sweeteners like honey, too, since they’ll add to the freshness and taste. As for some other vital ingredients you’ll be needing:
- Seeds and nuts are important too. These have both health and taste benefits. You can use chia seeds and unsalted nuts of various kinds to make your shake much better. Using peanut butter is also a healthy option.
- Oatmeal is a possible ingredient. These are the healthiest grains on the planet. Oatmeal can help you with weight loss and blood sugar regulation.
- Add probiotic supplements into the mix. You can do more research on these to decide which ones suit you best depending on your needs. Feel free to ask your doctor for some help too.
The essential ingredients usually featured in homemade meal replacement shakes are about it. Feel free to add other ingredients if you think they suit the mixture and your needs.
Once you finally have all these ingredients, add the ones you find best into the mixer. Now turn the mixer on and let it run for some time before it’s all prepared. With that, your meal replacement shake is ready!
At this point, you now know all there is to about meal replacement shakes and using them as a breastfeeding mother. That said, it’s best if you consult your doctor before making any significant decision.
While these shakes are completely safe, it’s always nice to have a word with someone who knows you, as a doctor does. So, make sure to consult them about any safety reasons and then decide.
Whether you decide to choose retail or homemade meal replacement shakes, we’re sure you’ll do great. Follow the advice we’ve shared in this guide, and there’ll be nothing to worry about. We hope we were able to help you out and that you do well caring for yourself and your child!