Paleo Diet and Breastfeeding (Safe or Too Many Side Effects?)

Hi Mama,      

Paleo diet focuses on nutrient density by consuming quality meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts, daily. The Paleo diet for a breastfeeding mother can provide ample nutrients both for the lactating mother and the growing baby. But, the Paleo diet can negatively affect breastfeeding mothers if not followed properly, i.e., reducing calories or decreasing healthy carbs and fats from the diet. In such cases, more often than not, breastfeeding mothers report in low milk supply.

The time after you deliver your beautiful baby is crucial for both the mother and the child, and if you’ve decided to breastfeed your child, then both you and your baby must get the proper amount of nutrients daily.

As we’ve always heard, breast milk is a demand and supply game, but if the mother doesn’t consume nutrient-rich foods in their usual diet, then there is a possibility of the mother going through a low milk supply phase.

All you’ll end up with is an extremely hungry, crying baby.

In countries like India, from the time the woman becomes pregnant till 3 months postpartum, the mother is made to eat sesame seed laddu, almond kheer, and barfi, laddus made from dry fruits and nuts.

This is to increase milk supply in mothers and also so that the nutrients and healthy fats from these foods get passed on from the breast milk to the baby. But, on the other hand, the same food items are high in calories, and postpartum women tend to gain more weight after the delivery.

After my delivery, I didn’t take the traditional path of eating laddus or barfis. Instead, I opted for a balanced diet that is nutrient-dense and healthy.

But, whatever path you choose to lose that pregnancy weight, my one piece of advice for you would be to always consult your doctor before making lifestyle changes that can affect your health.

To reduce pregnancy weight sooner, many women opt for low-calorie, fad diets that can result negatively on their health and their milk supply.

What is Paleo diet?

A variety of paleo diet foods, like nuts, eggs, fruits and veggies, are laid out on a table.

The Paleo diet focuses wholly on nutrient-dense foods. In other words, some might say that it’s what our ancestors ate to survive, also known as the ‘caveman diet.’

People who follow the Paleo diet refuse to call it a diet and instead call it the ‘Paleo lifestyle’ as it’s not a short-term goal but rather a healthy lifestyle.

Through the Paleo lifestyle, people focus on reducing weight, manage diabetes, improve their health, and even reduce the risks of cancer and heart diseases.

In short, through the Paleo diet, a person has nutrient-filled foods in their diet which aims to heal the body rather than harming it.

The Paleo diet included foods like organ meats, herbs and spices, various vegetables, healthy fats like butter, avocado oil, coconut milk and oil, fruits and starches, protein, and seafood.

What they avoid are grains, legumes, dairy, refined or processed foods, and junk food.

Paleo diet and breastfeeding

A breastfeeding mom is on the paleo diet to lose weight, and is standing on the weight scale to check her progress.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, women need to consume nutritional-rich foods, and the Paleo diet framework works best if the mother follows and consumes the right proportion of foods daily.

Through the Paleo diet, breastfeeding women and the baby are ensured of receiving the required nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum, and also helps to aid the baby’s developing brain and body.

Postpartum women shouldn’t follow a calorie-deficit diet because breastfeeding mothers need an additional 500 calories a day to support their milk supply. In addition, following a strict diet right after you’ve given birth is emotionally and physically exhausting.

Breastfeeding women following the Paleo diet consume both muscle meat and organ meat (offal) and a variety of broths (bone broths), as wells as seafood, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats that include avocados, coconut milk, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and nuts.

But some find the Paleo diet not the right choice for breastfeeding mothers. On the other hand, after their delivery, some women are very eager to lose their pregnancy weight and are ready to adopt any diets without consulting their doctors or thinking about the consequences.

Some breastfeeding women who adopted the Paleo diet reported a reduction in their milk supply and their babies not sleeping through the night and aren’t satiated.

When dug deeper, it was found out that the breastfeeding women were consuming way fewer carbs in a day. Therefore, a diet with at least 45% calorie intake from carbohydrates itself is recommended for breastfeeding mothers.

The Paleo diet is not a no-carb diet, but what some women may do is, make a drastic reduction in the carb intake while consuming more vegetables and fruits.

This can contribute to rapid weight loss, but rapid weight loss due to the consumption of fewer than 1800 calories can reduce your milk supply.

Instead, a breastfeeding mother should consume plenty of carb-rich veggies like sweet potatoes, cassava, and plantains.


What is the difference between Keto and Paleo diets?

One of the differences in both diets is the exclusion of food. The Keto diet excludes high sugar foods that included some fruits too, while the Paleo diet accepts all types of fruits and some natural sweeteners too. There are different rules related to meat, dairy, and vegetable consumption in both diets.

What is a healthy diet for a breastfeeding mother?

A diet that includes meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits, nuts, and if you’re not following the Paleo diet, then you can even have dairy every day.

What vegetables to avoid during breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding a gassy baby, vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and beans should be avoided.


So, generally speaking, the Paleo diet does seem to be a safe option while breastfeeding as long as your calorie intake isn’t less than 1800 calories per day and you are consuming enough carbs.

It’s also advisable not to lose more than 1 pound a week while breastfeeding, and a bit of advice from me would be not to stress yourself and put too much pressure on yourself because of the extra weight.

Take the first 3 months after delivery, a little slow. Take it one day at a time and don’t make drastic goals to achieve, nor should you expect a sudden change in your weight overnight.

Everything takes time, and weight loss too takes over a period of several months. Meanwhile, relax and enjoy this beautiful time with your newborn before they start crawling and make your house a mess.

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Located in India and a mother to a joyfully mischievous son, Kelin is the wife of the world’s most patient man and a busy homemaker. When she’s not busy cooking and running after her kid,  you can find her in a corner reading, or penning down words on her laptop. She believes the world will always try to instil ‘mom guilt’ in new mothers, but she goes by the maxim ‘a mother knows best'.

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