Here at Konscious Keto, we understand the focus on nutritional, mental and emotional health at this time is essential in the time after a mom gives birth; there is value in providing care for the caregiver.
From the altered dietary needs of breastfeeding moms to the physical changes many moms experience after giving birth, becoming a new mother presents many changes all at once and it’s important to be gentle with yourself during your transition.
Your daily thoughts are probably consumed with feeding and nap times, for both you and baby, as well as an endless amount of matters related to caring for your baby.
At points in the day though your thoughts may turn to reconcile with feelings related to your post-baby body and whether it has replaced your pre-baby body for good.
Although providing the constant, loving care a newborn requires is now at the heart of how you spend your days, there’s still room to take care of you.
Fortunately, if you are considering starting a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet, or currently follow the dietary protocol, you can reap the many therapeutic and accelerated fat-burning benefits of metabolic ketosis.
Starting Post-Pregnancy Ketosis
Your body is going through so many changes and making sure your nutrition is on point is vital.
With this being said, it’s important to gradually adjust your diet regardless of the new protocol as not to impose unnecessary stress on the body.
Becoming a mommy can act as an opportunity to slow down—whether due to sheer exhaustion related to feedings every three hours or because all you want to do is cuddle with your new baby—and this also applies to nutrition.
Take it easy on yourself and know that there’s no rush to drastically change your diet or release the baby weight you've gained; slow and steady dietary changes are best.
With consistency and the passing of time, you’ll achieve your health and wellness goals with ease.
Consider a moderate version of the ketogenic diet to start, with your carb intake a bit higher at around 100 grams a day, and experiment to determine your body’s threshold.
This will help you to know the number of carbs you can eat daily, and maintain nutritional ketosis to facilitate a gentle but accelerated release of excess postpartum weight.
Using a tool to monitor your ketones may prove helpful, especially at the onset of your keto journey.
Whether you opt for a blood, urine, or breath-based ketone testers, knowing how different foods impact your level of ketosis is a great way to help you establish parameters for your keto dietary program. To help...we'll share a secret weapon that will make entering and maintaining extended periods of ketosis, even if eating more carbs, a breeze.
How to Lose Weight After a Baby
While the weight gained during pregnancy feels well worth it and seemingly insignificant when you gaze at your beautiful baby boy or girl, we may still long for elements of our pre-baby body that have changed after childbirth—and that’s OK.
Whether the goal is returning to your exact pre-baby weight or something more progressive, the ketogenic diet is an excellent way to lose baby weight while fueling your body with the healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals needed to nourish yourself, as well as the baby if you’ve chosen to breastfeed.
There are a lot of therapeutic benefits associated with the ketogenic diet, from helping to remediate neurological disorders to helping to regulate glucose. Ketosis is not necessary to lose fat, but it does definitely accelerate fat loss.
This is good news because not needing to remain in ketosis at all times to consistently lose fat provides new moms with greater dietary flexibility. You can eat more carbs and still shed the extra postpartum pounds with ease.
Use 100 grams a day as the ideal carb target and go from there. You’ll find your perfect carbohydrate macronutrient limit with a little experimentation over time.
When to Start Keto After a Baby
Ideally, it’s best to begin the ketogenic diet before pregnancy and carry through with the eating style for the duration of your pregnancy, as well as post-delivery.
However, if you decide to start the ketogenic diet after childbirth, there are some tips to follow to make the transition safely.
Here are five essential tips to make sure you start keto on the right foot, post-pregnancy:
Adequate hydration is vital on a ketogenic diet as a significant reduction in carbs causes an increased release of body water and electrolytes.
Also, proper hydration is particularly crucial to breastfeeding moms as dehydration can result in reduced milk production.
Mind Your Vitamins and Electrolytes
As we’ve noted, the ketogenic diet will cause the body to release electrolytes, and that is also the case with the flushing of nutrients and vitamins that are essential to the health of mom, and baby if mom is breastfeeding.
Also, although the vitamins and nutrients needed in higher amounts postpartum are found in foods, taking supplements to get an adequate amount of vitamins A and D, potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and omega-3s are essential to ensure a nutritionally well-composed ketogenic diet. Consult your physician to determine your specific nutritional needs.
Consume Enough Calories, Especially Quality Fats
You probably have little to no downtime right now, and that’s to be expected.
Make sure you’re consuming enough calories during the day—especially healthy fats like MCT oil, avocado, eggs, dairy, and fatty fish and meats—to keep you going and able to meet your baby’s many demands.
Also, it’s particularly important to consume enough calories and adequate amounts of healthy fat post-pregnancy if you’re breastfeeding as both directly impact the quality and volume of milk production.
Eat Enough Fiber and Vegetables
Consuming enough vegetables and fiber ensures that you get needed vitamins and nutrients while facilitating healthy digestion and regular bowel elimination.
Make an effort to add leafy greens or low-glycemic, fibrous, foods like broccoli or cauliflower to each meal.
Track Your Consumption and Milk Production
It’s wise to track your daily milk production, especially at the onset of the keto diet, to determine how your food choices are impacting lactation.
Apps like Baby Connect are handy tools to help track milk volume. Also, it may be helpful to express milk by pumping initially to get more dialed into the exact production amounts each day. Also, apps like MyFitnessPal and MyMacros+ are excellent food trackers that provide an eagle-eye view of the total of calories and fat you’re consuming each day, which will help you gauge how your food intake impacts your breast milk production.
A Note to Nursing Mothers
Research related to breastfeeding on a ketogenic diet is limited.
However, a study conducted in 2009 did find the following hopeful information when comparing the different impacts of a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF) versus a high-carb, low-fat diet (HCLF) on breast milk, as well as how that may affect mom and her baby:
- Neither diet affected protein concentration or milk lactose; however, milk fat concentration and the energy content of milk was higher in the breast milk of moms on the LCHF diet than those eating an HCLF diet.
- The estimated average maternal energy expenditure—the calories mom burns while breastfeeding—and milk energy content was higher in moms following the LCHF diet than those following the HCLF diet.
- The daily breast milk production and daily infant breast milk intake remained the same on either diet.
- Baby’s energy intake (kcal/day) was higher if mom was following the LCHF diet, despite milk consumption amounts remaining constant, indicating the more substantial presence of essential healthy fats in the breast milk of moms on an LCHF diet.
The takeaway here is that the increased thermogenic effect mom experiences,, especially if eating an LCHF diet post-pregnancy, is known to facilitate accelerated postpartum weight loss!
How the Keto Diet Can Help New Moms
All the hormonal changes a new mom can experience after the arrival of her baby can pose some different challenges.
The ketogenic diet is an excellent dietary protocol because it is known to regulate hormones, boost energy—and there’s probably been no new mom in history who doesn’t need a little extra—and helps expedite post-pregnancy weight loss.
There are some other exciting benefits to gain by moms on a ketogenic diet. The following are some of the standout benefits that the diet can offer new moms wanting to look and feel their best:
Balanced levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone are crucial. But estrogen regulation is particularly important because an imbalance of the hormone can cause a condition called estrogen dominance which can result in fatigue, weight gain, sugar, and carb cravings, and can even lead to thyroid dysfunction and sleep issues.
Healthy hormone function is linked to a new mom’s ability to lose baby weight naturally. Fortunately, the ketogenic diet inherently curbs the appetite and helps to eliminate cravings for carbs and sweets.
Reducing carbs too low, especially if mom is breastfeeding, may have adverse effects including taxing the adrenal system and stressing your thyroid—and both can negatively impact breast milk production.
This is the time to loosen the dietary reins and enjoy more low-glycemic, nutrient-rich carbohydrates to support overall health and recovery.
Mainly during times when eating more carbs in your diet, as is fit post-pregnancy, it's helpful to use certified organic exogenous ketones, like the delicious blend found in products like Keto Activate, to boost ketone bodies and further facilitate fat loss.
The proprietary blend offered in Keto Activate is a fantastic tool for anyone looking to achieve and maintain ketosis as it helps to suppress hunger and boost satiety simultaneously, and can establish ketosis right away!
Meaning, you can now enjoy a more in-depth and more sustainable state of ketosis despite eating higher amounts of carbs!
A healthy thyroid plays a significant role in managing some physiological systems and plays a vital role in weight loss.
Thyroiditis, a form of hypothyroidism (aka not enough thyroid hormone), often appears around 4-9 months post-pregnancy and is usually evidenced by symptoms like constipation, weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
Luckily, there’s a simple test you can request from your doctor to quickly identify whether your symptoms are associated with thyroiditis, so you can establish an action plan to achieve hormonal balance.
Ditch worry and other stressors to promote hormone health and prevent the release of elements like cortisol, which further stresses your adrenals, and can have adverse effects on the body—particularly with weight loss.
Adopting mindfulness practices like yoga, limiting caffeine, and getting enough sleep are all simple ways to support your adrenals and mitigate stress in your life.
Becoming a mom offers such perspective about the important things in life; don’t sweat the small stuff.
Keto Tips for New Moms
Your to-do list has probably never been longer than it is as a new mom.
Endless loads of laundry and disinfecting every toy and surface are enough to zap your energy throughout the day.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you in tip-top shape to conquer the day on keto:
Eat Enough Calories
Restricting calories immediately following pregnancy can not only make you feel miserable, but it can also have an adverse impact on your energy levels and breast milk production.
Most new moms need between 1,800 and 2,200 calories each day, with nursing moms requiring about 500 more calories each day.
Also, moms who are physically active, working out at least 45 minutes a day, underweight moms, and moms breastfeeding multiple babies may need even more calories. Consult your physician to determine your ideal caloric target.
Electrolytes & Hydration
Supplementing is always an advisable approach to living a healthy, ketogenic lifestyle.
However, ensuring that you’re getting enough electrolytes is even more critical after childbirth—especially if you’re breastfeeding—as the nutrients you consume are passed onto your nursing baby to support their proper growth and development.
Food-based electrolyte and hydration sources like bone marrow broth and coconut water are excellent supplements on keto, and both are great tools to maintain optimal hydration and nutrient levels.
Consider a Moderate Low-Carb Diet
While most on a ketogenic diet keep their total carbs under 50 grams a day, with net carbs generally capped at 20 grams per day, it’s advisable to increase the limit post-pregnancy, especially if you’re nursing.
Consider increasing your total carbs to 100 grams a day to avoid the side effects related to extreme postpartum carb restriction, as noted above.
Add macro-friendly sweet potato, some broccoli doused in grass-fed butter, or some creamy and decadent cauliflower mash to your meals without the guilt; eating extra carbs following childbirth can be beneficial and contribute to feelings of overall well-being, so enjoy.
Track Your Daily Macros & Milk Production
As we touched on earlier, it’s a great idea to track your caloric and fat macronutrient intake each day concerning your subsequent volume of milk production, if nursing.
Tracking will help you determine how much milk you’re making and also helps to connect the dots regarding how the foods you eat affect milk production—so you can eat foods that support an abundant milk supply to nourish your baby.
Consider the use of the helpful apps noted above to get a handle on the big picture in this area, and you can rest assured that you’ll have ample food to provide your growing and developing child.
The ketogenic diet is a powerful post-pregnancy protocol that promotes fat loss and offers many therapeutic effects, as we’ve touched on above; and a modified version of the keto diet is ideal for new moms.
Mom can count on weight loss to naturally occur on a keto diet after giving birth; and it’s essential to commit to the protocol, be patient, and trust the process, there’s no rush.
Be kind to your body, it was just home to life, and there’s a level of healing and recovery required after the beautiful but naturally traumatic act of giving birth.
Also, we recently posted a couple of deep-dive articles on achieving a healthy keto pregnancy, so if you’re reading this and are hoping to conceive or are nursing, our articles Can I Do Keto When Pregnant? And Breastfeeding on a Keto Diet will prove helpful for you or an expecting friend.
Enjoy meals composed of abundant amounts of healthy fats, omega-3s, vitamins, nutrients, and electrolytes. Although you’ll want to track your macros if breastfeeding, don’t obsess over calories.
Just focus on eating nutrient-dense foods that fuel you and enable you to handle all that you're now commissioned to do every day, as a proud new member of the most challenging and rewarding club on the planet, motherhood.