Women who breastfeed need as much as twice the amount required by non-pregnant, non-lactating women. Protein being the important content of mother’s milk, it maximizes the milk supply as well as optimizes the growth and development chances of the infant.
There is a plethora of information on protein requirement for young mothers as well as the many choices of easy protein to choose from. However, even though there are many protein shakes available in the market, not all are well suited for nursing women. Since several protein shakes contain a great deal of artificial ingredients in the form of additives, preservatives, thickeners and what not- this can in due course affect the milk that the baby consumes and ultimately, affect the baby’s digestion.
Suggested Read: Is Meal Replacement Shake Safe for Breastfeeding?
Protein requirement for new mums:
Experts recommend nursing mothers to take 20-25 gm. protein in addition to their diet. This can be a challenge to most women who do not take enough protein on a daily basis, especially for women who avoid meat, fish, poultry, etc. Going by the RDA for nursing women, the protein requirement can be 1.1 gm. per kg of body weight per day. And under such circumstances, protein supplements (approved by your physician or dietitian) can go a long way in helping you bridge any shortfalls. Due to widespread myths about protein shake consumption; there is a misplaced fear among women especially young mothers with regard to its consumption.
Here is a list that you can consider to ensure it is safe while going for a protein shake:
- Protein shakes are drinks that contain high protein sources that are usually a complete protein like whey and are often fortified with additional ingredients for added health benefits.
- Ensure that the protein shake you opt for gives you at least 25-30 gm. of protein per serving. It not only helps in the basic repair and recovery mechanism in the body but also helps you lose excess fat and helps tone up your muscles. Having a protein rich, healthy diet in combination with regular exercise can help you lose post-pregnancy weight better.
- Follow a very simple rule when going for a protein shake- To keep away from the effects of additives and artificial components, stay away from products that have a long ingredient list. Longer the list, more is the number of additives present.
- Through breastfeeding, some of the diet components or substances that make way into your blood can enter the milk. This means, what you consume through diet may have a role to play in how the mother’s milk affects the infant’s digestion. Though, certain herbs or medications may show some changes in the content of the milk, they do not lead to any drastic effects. However, it is always better to consult with your dietitian and/ or your doctor.
Maternal nutrition status has a greater impact on the fetal growth during pregnancy as well as after birth during breastfeeding. A good quality and quantity of protein supplementation in balance with the other macronutrients during pregnancy appear to have beneficial effects on the infant’s growth and development and birth weight. However, avoid going overboard with too much protein or an imbalance in the macronutrient composition as it can lead to converse effects on certain aspects of growth.
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