Please Note: This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. Read my full disclosure statement. 

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Breastfeeding and Paleo Diet (Part 1)

Breastfeeding and Paleo Diet (Part 1) - Breastfeeding Place #nursing #primal #glutenfree #dairyfreeOver the past year, I’ve done some foray into the world of Paleo-style eating. If you aren’t familiar with “Paleo” or “Primal” lifestyle, a quick internet search will reveal that it’s a philosophy of getting “back to our roots” by eating no grains and refined foods, and focusing on high-quality fruits and vegetables, meat, nuts, and seeds.

The recommendations are based on studies and anecdotal evidence that these foods are best absorbed and processed for optimal health. There are as many interpretations of the Paleo Diet as there are eaters, some who also include raw or grass-fed organic dairy products. While I don’t personally agree with the “ancestral” philosophy attached to the lifestyle, I have found this way of eating to be very beneficial for me, and wondered how it would play out for a breastfeeding mama. (And judging by my online research, I’m not the only one looking for information on breastfeeding and Paleo diet!)

Breastfeeding and Paleo Diet – Is It Healthy?

It turns out that eating the Paleo way is not only not contra-indicated, but may actually be beneficial for a nursing mama and her baby!

  • Paleo eating focuses on “clean,” whole foods. Fruits and vegetables are primary, meats consumed are artificial-ingredient-free, and nuts and seeds are full of fiber and protein and healthy fats. (Gracious, I’ll never forget being in the hospital after my second baby’s birth and begging the nurse, “Please, just ask the cafeteria to send me up a salad – I need fiber!”)
  • Paleo eating involves listening to your body, eating for fullness, and getting a well-rounded balance of foods. All of these are recommended by nationally-recognized experts on breastfeeding.
  • Paleo eating eliminates many common allergens that can cause nursing babies distress. This includes dairy and wheat/gluten, two of the first foods nursing mamas often drop when baby experiences gastric distress or other symptoms of sensitivity. It actually simplifies the process to find alternative options before having to do eliminations in a distressed period for baby’s health.
  • Paleo eliminates (for most advocates) traditional dairy and all refined sugars/grains. These are known feeders of thrush, a common ailment of all babies, but including nursing babies. In fact, dairy is one of the first recommended foods to eliminate for a colic distressed baby.
  • Paleo eating incorporates good, healthy fats. Coconut, a primary component of a Paleo diet, is rich in nutrients, calories, minerals, and vitamins beneficial to both mama’s health, and to healthy breast milk production. Coconut milk, coconut water, coconut meat, and coconut oil have varying levels of benefits from hydration to heart health effects, and it has been said that coconut oil can actually increase milk supply. (Here’s an excellent article on uses for coconut oil for mamas and babies.)
  • Paleo has the added benefit of being beneficial for a postpartum mama. The coconut, for example, has high B-vitamin content, which has been recommended for postpartum symptoms. Red meats (organ meats, especially, are highly recommended by Paleo proponents) can help with restoring mom’s health after birth and enrich the milk supply. Oily fish, green leafy vegetables, and nuts and dried fruit may contain calcium and iron, recommended by La Leche League International as very beneficial to healthy breast milk production. A variety of flavors in fruits and vegetables may help baby’s taste buds become more diverse, as well!

My take on breastfeeding and Paleo Diet? Do your homework and make sure you are well-nourished and hydrated as a nursing mama. If the Paleo lifestyle works for you, it certainly seems beneficial and, at the least, safe for your baby, too.

As always, I am not a doctor, so recommendations are based on my study of expert opinion and personal experience. Please always consult a doctor before beginning any “diet” while pregnant or nursing.

Looking for recipes to get you started with Paleo?  Here is one of my favorites that’s also kid-friendly!

Have you wanted to try the Paleo lifestyle?

Angela Sackett is a wife and home-educating mom of five fast-growing, once-breastfed kiddos, as well as a foodie, photographer, and speaker, but before all a daughter of the King. She’s passionate about encouraging women and especially moms, and she writes at Sal et Lux and Dancing With My Father.


  1. Martyna Cooper says

    Thank you for the post! I’ve just started the paleo diet due to gut health issues I’ve been having. I’m currently breastfeeding my eight month old and since starting BF I eat like a hoarse! I’m really struggling to feel full going paleo as my diet previously consisted mainly of carbs in the form of grains etc. I just don’t feel ‘satisfied’ and am finding myself hungry every 2-3 hours. Snacks are the trickiest. What did you do to feel full? What did you have as snacks? As you can imagine…..I don’t have a lot of time for food prep with an 8 months old! Thanks so much!

    • Hi, Martyna – I’m sorry for the delayed reply! I do notice that when I’m eating Paleo, when I’m hungry, I’m HUNGRY. I try to always keep baggies of nuts and “clean” jerky around. I also like eating fruits with lots of fiber, and one of my favorite quick snacks is apple or jicama with almond butter slathered on it. Make sure you aren’t trying to limit your healthy fats, especially while breastfeeding. I also noticed that I am often thirsty when I think I’m hungry, so I try to keep hot herbal tea and/or water with lemon and stevia on hand all day long. I do really enjoy a good Paleo “sweet,” like this one, which feels like a treat, but is full of protein, fiber, and good fats. I also like this one: Become good friends with your slow cooker, too, because it’s SO NICE to have something hot and hearty waiting when you’re starving for dinner!

Speak Your Mind