New to keto and breastfeeding

(Katie) #1

Hello, all!

I am brand new to Keto, though it’s been on my radar for several years. I spent 5 years as a vegan (including 5 pretty miserable months 100% raw vegan!) and have been paleo-ish since October 2013. I’ve done a few whole30s over the years, and always feel absolutely incredible while I’m eating that way, especially when I maximize the fat/minimize the sugar.

My husband expressed interest in starting to eat Keto (He’s been listening to a nutritionist on a podcast for years and has brought it up a couple times but never been committed before now). I’ve worried about his health for many years (he LIVES on crackers, sugary cereal, ice cream, quesadillas…) but of course nagging and worrying does nothing to enact positive change!

So now that he’s expressed true interest, I am 100% in. I told him I’d eat this way too, and I am very excited about it. The tricky thing is that I am nursing (our youngest is 10 months old), so I don’t know how that changes what/how much I should eat… I also feel slightly overwhelmed when it comes to counting/tracking and figuring out the best plan for both of us. One thing I loved about the whole30 (and what made it so doable for me) was that there was no counting calories or macros. Now it seems the counting is essential to success on keto, and I feel daunted about that part, and making sure I’m doing the right thing with my nursing baby in mind (we have 4 young kids, and fortunately they’ll eat whatever we make, but I’ll still allow them to have their fruit, etc. The kids have never been big bread/cereal eaters so that won’t be a problem…)

Where should I start? Do we need ketone strips?

Thanks so much!


(Cancer Fighting Ketovore :)) #2

Start here:

The main thing to NOT do is fast. There are several women on here who are nursing while doing keto.

You really don’t need to track macros, just keep carbs under 20-50 (in your case). Your husband may do better keeping closet to under 20g.

I wish I could give you better advice, my youngest is 15 months, but due to my cancer treatments he had to only have formula.

You should also check out the health section of the forum. There’s isn’t specifically a breastfeeding category, but they’re is a pregnancy one.

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #3

I typed breast feeding into the search for you and there’s quite a bit of info on the forum. I agree with KCMom, keep track of your carbs, eat whole foods and don’t be afraid of fat. Congrats on the new baby!

I ate three meals a day and had snacks at the start and during the transition. Hubs can start to shave off the snacking but you should eat when you’re hungry if you’re breastfeeding. Welcome to the forum!

*you don’t have to get test strips unless you want them. The urine test strips will tell you if you’re in ketosis but that’s about it and after a while they aren’t reliable because they’re reading the ketones you’re wasting, not the ones you’re using and as you go on your body gets better at using them.

(Katie) #4

Ah, thank you so so much!!
This is super helpful. if I can get by for now just worrying about keeping carbs low enough, that is no big deal for me.
I am beyond thrilled that my husband is ready to embark on this new chapter and I really want to go all in and make this work for both of us.

Thanks again!

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #5

Some meal ideas for you and the family, lots of photos for inspiration.

(Susan) #6

Welcome to the forum, Katie.

I wish I had discovered Keto earlier in my life, you are fortunate to be starting this now. I nursed all of my kids as well, and I feel that they would be healthier now if I had of begun Keto when they were little, so your little baby will have that advantage, which is fantastic.

I have been doing Keto since February and have never used any strips, so they are great for some people if they want to use them, but if you don’t have diabetes, cancer or some other disease that makes them really important to have them, they are not a necessity. You can do Keto effectively without them as well. Best wishes in your Keto journey =).

Enjoy your new baby, and cherish this time, being a new mom is tiring but an awesome time as well =)).

(Katie) #7

Peta, thanks so much for that link!

Momof5, thank you :slight_smile: How old are your kids now? Mine are 8, 5, 3, and 10 months. It is definitely a lot of work but I absolutely love it. I stay home with them full-time and have full reign of the household and - most importantly - what everyone eats!

I am so excited to start this journey. I’m on day 6 now and the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t have cravings for junk food/bread… that was THE biggest challenge with the whole30, for example; even though I truly do love the whole30 and how it made me feel, I had like 10,000 false starts cause it felt like white knuckling until I gave up and binged on toast with butter. Now bread (and even fruit) is very easy to resist. It doesn’t even sound appetizing. obviously we are very early in our journey but that part is very encouraging!

(Cancer Fighting Ketovore :)) #8

I’m in almost the same boat!
My kids are 9, 6, 3, and 15 months. I do send the older 2 to a learning center/school, but other than that I’m home with all of them. I do have control over food/meals at home and they eat low-carb. Exceptions are made when we eat out. I even send them to school with stacked ham & cheese sandwiches, with no bread.

(Ellen) #9

Welcome Katie, I would say do NOT fast, and maybe aim for under 50g carbs at the moment, just make sure you eat enough meat & fat so you don’t feel hungry, you’re feeding 2 people at the moment.

(Susan) #11

My girls are 19, 21 and 25 and my sons are 23 and 28. I have two grandchildren as well, one of which lives here too. My eldest is married and him and his wife have a darling little boy that will be 3 in January. My youngest had my grand daughter when she was 15 and just turned 19 today. My grand daughter was 3 in July and she is awesome. My daughter nursed her for about a month (but we were using formula as well, she was young and had a c-section so it was difficult). My first born was a c-section for me but I was almost 26 and still nursed him for 2 years, 4 months. The age factor was a big difference for sure.

I stayed home too but I also did a lot of home day care for years as well, until my hubby hated it so much that I quit doing that. . I don’t get to control what anyone eats except for myself, they are all carb monsters.

That is why I think it is awesome that you can control this when they are young and make good choices for them =).


Welcome! I can’t help with the baby … but Believe me when I say this WOE is a run in the park compared to vegan.


Welcome, Katie! I just came on to say that your little one is adorable :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

(It's all about the bacon, baby!) #14

Calorie counting is not necessary to a well-formulated ketogenic diet. One of the virtues of the diet is that, by avoiding carbohydrate in any kind of quantity, we can restore our appetite hormones to proper functioning, thus making appetite a reliable guide to how much to eat. We therefore advise eating to satiety, and not to a particular count of calories.

As a nursing mother, you are still eating for two, and so you should be sure to eat as much protein as you feel you need, plus enough fat to satisfy your hunger (fat, having a negligible effect on insulin secretion, is a safe source of calories, unlike carbohydrates). Eating to satiety will ensure that you get enough to support your needs and the baby’s. Once you wean your baby and your milk production tapers off, you should find your appetite dropping accordingly.

One warning that cannot be stressed enough is that pregnant and nursing mothers should not fast. The reason is that fasting on top of a ketogenic diet in such conditions runs the risk of a condition called “euglycaemic ketoacidosis,” which is just as dangerous as diabetic ketoacidosis. Do not fast until your milk production has tapered off; at that point it will be perfectly safe.

Ketoacidosis is doctors’ big fear about a ketogenic diet, and under most circumstances it is not a concern. Nutritional ketosis is an altogether different beastie. Given the huge metabolic load on your body at this point in time, however, you just have to be a bit more careful than you would otherwise need to be. As long as you avoid fasting, you will be fine.

You can safely put your children on a properly-formulated ketogenic diet, by the way, the key being that they need to eat enough protein to aid the growth of their bodies. The ketogenic diet used to treat epileptic children is almost entirely fat, so it is deficient in the necessary protein and has stunted the growth of some patients. Making sure that your children have adequate access to protein will avoid any danger from feeding them ketogenically. Simply ignore the maximum protein recommendations you will read on these forums, because they are intended for full-grown adults. Children, especially those in their pubertal growth spurt, should eat as much protein as they have an appetite for, plus as much fat as they need to fuel the growth of new muscle and bone.

(Katie) #15

Wow everyone, thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful!

I can tell I’m eating WAY too much dairy, I think cause I avoided it for so long I’m in the pink dairy cloud at the moment, and as we become more secure in this new way of eating I plan to keep cutting down…

Madeline, thank you! That is my oldest when she was a baby :slight_smile:

Weeverrm, ha, it’s true! what’s amazed me the most so far is that I have zero cravings for bread/carbs like I always have when I cut them out in the past…

I do have to meal plan now though so I can feel more in control, and so my husband always has something I know he can eat. I walked in on him eating corn chips the other day and I was like “you definitely can’t have those” and he gave me a look of total shock and said “But it says GLUTEN FREE!” hahahahahaha

(Katie) #16

Momof5, thanks for sharing your story! my oldest nursed until she was 3.5 (never saw that happening!!) and my second 2 were about 2.5 each when they stopped. We’ll see how far baby Mickey decides to go! I didn’t have a c-section with any of them, that does sound like a huge challenge recovery-wise!

(Susan) #17

My kids all weened themselves when I was into the pregnancies with their next sibling (apparently the milk taste changes) and I wanted them to wean at those points because I was pregnant and it was draining already. They were all over 2 but the eldest nursed for 2 years, 4 months and the youngest I weaned her at 2 years, 5 months because I was exhausted and I was running after 5 kids and I needed to stop for my own rest and recouperation =). I used cloth diapers with all of my kids too, and made my own baby food. I have experienced the bottles, disposable diapers, and pull ups with my grand daughter though. I still never bought any baby food with her, just mashed up what we were having. I still kept her on the formula until she was a bit over 2 though.

The c-section was definitely very hard on my body, I had to go back in 3 times before he was 6 months to have repairs done. Perhaps this happens more with larger women though, as my daughter had no problems afterwards . She had the shooting pains that you get at the incision for a couple of months after, and the healing of the incision itself and the pain of that -she didn’t go out much for a month or so, etc. but she recovered well with it and her tummy is flat and the incision is less visible now then mine is from 28 years ago. Young skin heals well, hehe.


You might find my latest episodes with Carolina Cartier interesting (part 2 out on Friday):

I would recommend joining Carolina’s Facebook group Keto Babies where you will find lots more support and info :smiley:

(Sara) #19

I’ve been keto since several months before my pregnancy and I’m still nursing my 14 month old. Just make sure you are eating enough! I have never counted or tracked and have done just fine. I know a lot of women seem to have issues when starting keto right after giving birth, but I wonder if you might have more success with an older baby who is very established in breastfeeding.

(Katie) #20

Susan, yeah, my body definitely isn’t bouncing back like it did in my 20s… oh well!

Daisy, I’m not on FB but thanks for these links!

Sara, would you mind sharing a sample day of meals for you? are there any favorite go-tos you have?

Thanks so much again!

(Sara) #21

I eat lots and lots of eggs! Bacon or sausage often but not everyday. We eat lots of ground beef and pork chops with mushrooms and cream or tomato sauce (we get a great clean brand at Costco - Victoria). I love veggies and we eat a lot of romaine, tomato and avocado. Cheese and sour cream on most things. I make almond flour pancakes about once a month. Some nuts as a snack several times per week. I love salami with cream cheese. Hope that helps!!