When you're pregnant or have just had your baby and are breastfeeding / nursing, there's something (besides, "Stop drinking coffee!" Or, "Don't eat brie!") that you get tired of hearing: eat more protein.
A diet relatively high in protein is critical to the health of both you and your baby; and if you happen to have fitness goals or health goals such as losing baby weight, keep milk supply healthy, or just a regular gym routine, it is even more important.
The big questions, however (when you know you can't eat that much meat and cheese and want to use powder instead), are many:
How much is too much?
Which brands to trust?
Do you know that many products can even be Dangerous?
Someone recommended this product to me, but this protein powder for breastfeeding mamas ends up having a few chemicals that could cause real damage to you or your baby, so be careful and protect your healthy baby.
Whey protein powder or something else?
If we don't have enough to worry about (besides, for example, when we might EVER sleep again), now we have to research which powders are Good for You?
The answer is Yes and No.
Yes, you do; but no, because I did it for you. Here's the lowdown.
Top Protein Brands That Made the Cut
So, which best protein powder is good for pregnancy?
#1 Baby Booster Prenatal Protein
Baby Booster's low-carb protein makes the top of the list because it contains no artificial sweeteners or soy.
It not only contains 20 grams per serving but is also high in fiber, iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin D, and B6 (my absolute favorite product)
#2 Pro Nutrition Labs Her Natural Whey Dietary Supplement
The whey in this good protein powder is derived from grass-fed cows and free of added growth hormones.
It's also gluten-free, very low in sugar, has no artificial sweeteners, and contains 20 grams per serving.
#3 IdealLean Protein Powder for Women
The pros here are 20 grams per serving, and no fat or sugar.
This powder is also high in Vitamin D and Folic Acid, but you don't get the fiber in this powder that you do in some of the other top brands.
If you're more calorie-conscious than you are in watching your fiber intake - or you getting fiber in your diet from other sources, this is a good choice. This quality protein is great for breastfeeding women/mamas and also tastes good and might be useful for breastfeeding moms to boost and increase milk supply.
Some other products to consider: are bump naturals, Ma+
Other products may not be as good for example special k shakes, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard, Mommy, Vegan Smart Plant-based Protein, IdealRaw ( plant-based protein mix of coconut protein, pea protein and chia seed protein, contains digestive enzymes), TGS All Natural 100% Whey Protein Powder (seems to help improve your exercise routine output), Pure Label Nutrition Grassfed Whey (grass-fed whey from premium dairy farms), Naked whey ( contains 25 grams of protein at 120 calories), Wow Moms Protein, Milk Drunk Protein Powder for Breastfeeding Mamas, there's best Organic Whey Protein powder
Is Protein Powder Powder Safe During Pregnancy?
There are some rough guidelines you should follow, and like any other food you put into your body--or your baby's--be smart, read labels, and make healthy choices.
That said, the first thing you should do is consult your doctor. Find out exactly how much protein you need to supplement in addition to your regular diet.
This will vary, depending on what you eat as a matter of course, and how much your natural diet contains.
Generally, the consensus is that one or two servings of protein powder for women a day and morning sickness are fine. Just check with your obstetrician first.
Which Ingredients Should I look for or Avoid?
Sweeteners and Additives
When you're deciding on which type of powder to use, follow the same principles you o when reading any other food labels.
Watch out for sweeteners and unnecessary additives. Sweeteners have come a long way since the days of saccharin and aspartame, and you will rarely see these listed in products today, as most sweeteners are now derived from natural ingredients and have been deemed safe for breastfeeding and pregnancy by the FDA as well as doctors and pregnancy associations.
But do your due diligence, check for sweeteners, and avoid any product that contains saccharin or aspartame.
As far as additives, watch out for a high amount of caffeine or any other stimulant. Many powders that bodybuilders use contain these types of "energy enhancers," and you should avoid these.
An ingredient you might not think to check on, but you should, is heavy metal (think arsenic, lead, mercury).
There has been a lot of chatter and discussion among nursing moms of this in the protein power verse, so you might have heard this topic bantered about in some mother's groups or online forums.
You should absolutely check the ingredients list for any traces of heavy metals, but it's not something you should get overly worried about when considering one in general.
Make sure yours comes from a reliable brand and reputable source that are targeting and making products specifically for breastfeeding mom group . Meat-based protein, including whey, has fewer traces of heavy metals than vegetable-based, so again, read the labels, check the order of ingredients listed, and when in doubt, ask your doctor or health provider.
What About Whey?
Whey powder is a healthy option as an additional source of protein, especially if it's all-natural, or better yet, organic.
Whey is one of the two proteins that make up milk (the other is casein), and it contains all 9 essential amino acids, so it is a complete protein. However, whey allergies are fairly common, and some people, especially pregnant women, can suffer digestion issues with whey and might not be the best choice for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
So, if you are allergic or find whey isn't so great on your stomach, consider a plant-based such as a hemp, pumpkin, pea, or brown rice powder.
What Foods Help Baby Grow in Womb?
You might be looking for foods that your baby eats that are good for them inside the womb. Maybe you're pregnant and looking for a diet that helps your baby grow and develop to be the healthiest and happiest little human they can possibly be. So, you're on your way to figuring out how to feed your child and at the same time have them grow healthy and strong.
Then, you turn to Google. "What foods should I be eating for a healthy pregnancy?" In this section, you will find tips and advice from people you admire and can ask questions to. There are a lot of people who have become mothers and have dealt with this same struggle, so they are the perfect people to ask questions to. After all, Google is still a good source, no matter what the topic. So, you ask a few questions, and just like that, you have found the best foods you can feed to your growing baby. However, there are some common questions you will have about what foods are the best for your baby's growth. Now, when you're growing a human, you want them to grow and develop the best they can.
Can You Take Protein Powder While Pregnant and Lactating?
Yes, it is generally safe to consume protein powder while pregnant and lactating, provided certain considerations are taken into account. Protein is a crucial nutrient during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as it plays a vital role in the growth and development of both the fetus and the newborn.
During pregnancy, protein requirements typically increase due to the need for additional tissue development and an expanded blood volume. Protein provides the essential amino acids required for the formation of the baby's organs, muscles, and overall growth. However, it is essential to choose high-quality protein sources, such as protein powder derived from whey, casein, or plant-based sources, to ensure you meet these increased protein needs.
It's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian during pregnancy to determine your specific protein requirements, as they can vary depending on individual factors like your pre-pregnancy diet and health status.
When selecting a protein powder, opt for brands that are specifically designed for pregnant and lactating women, as they often contain added vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and iron, which are essential during pregnancy. Avoid protein powders with added herbal supplements or high levels of caffeine, as these can be harmful to the developing fetus.
During breastfeeding, protein intake remains important as it supports both the quality and quantity of breast milk produced. Protein powder can be a convenient way to meet these increased protein needs, especially for mothers with higher activity levels or dietary restrictions.
It's crucial to remain well-hydrated while using protein powder, as adequate water intake is essential for milk production and overall maternal health. Some protein powders may be slightly dehydrating due to their processing methods, so pay attention to your fluid intake.
In summary, consuming protein powder during pregnancy and lactation is generally safe and can be a beneficial addition to your diet, especially when increased protein intake is needed. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to determine your specific protein requirements and select a protein powder that aligns with your unique needs and preferences. Prioritizing high-quality protein sources and maintaining proper hydration are key factors in ensuring the health and well-being of both you and your baby during these critical life stages.
Benefits of Protein Powder During Pregnancy
Socioeconomic status or living conditions may also provide a good indication of women who would benefit from supplementation during pregnancy. Balanced protein energy supplementation (up to 20% of energy as protein) provided during pregnancy appears to improve fetal growth and increases infants' birth weight. Also it may help you not to be gaining weight while breastfeeding (protein is dens calorie source)
No matter which types of powder or which protein shakes during pregnancy you choose are right for you, from animal to vegetable, to whey, make sure you read the labels, talk to your doctor, and take in lots of fruits and vegetables from your regular diet.
Supplementing your natural intake can be a healthy (and sometimes even delicious) way to keep you and your baby healthy and strong.
And don't forget, ice cream is high in protein too!
It's all about balance and moderation.