Paleo Diet For Postpartum Breastfeeding Moms

  • Jacinta Chinwendu OgbaegbeBachelor in medical laboratory science, Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science/Research and Allied Professions, Imo State University


Welcome to the world of being a new mom after having a baby. Taking care of your baby and yourself is important. Eating the right foods can help you feel better and give good milk to your baby.

Babies who take breast milk tend to be smarter and have stronger protection against illnesses. They also have a lower chance of getting diabetes, allergies, or becoming overweight.

What is the paleo diet?

A long time ago, before farming and making food in factories became common, our ancestors mainly ate natural foods. These included things like meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They stayed away from foods made in factories, such as chips and sugary snacks. They also did not eat things like bread and dairy products.

The paleo diet, also known as the Paleolithic diet, simply means copying how our ancestors used to eat, as described above. 

People who follow the Paleo diet eat lots of meat, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, but they stay away from grains, beans, and dairy.

Do you want to stay healthy, keep fit, and not be scared of excessive weight gain while breastfeeding your child? Including items to consume and steer clear of, as well as practical meal planning and samples, then let us ride on!

Dietary guidelines and adjustments

Breastfeeding moms usually require more calories to get the right amount of nutrition while breastfeeding. It's suggested that well-nourished breastfeeding moms should have about 330 to 400 extra kilocalories (kcal) per day compared to what they ate before getting pregnant. 

This is in comparison to around 2,000 to 2,800 kcal per day for breastfeeding women, while moderately active women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding typically have 1,600 to 2,400 kcal per day. 

The exact number of extra calories varies based on factors like age, body mass index, how active a mom is, and whether she's exclusively breastfeeding or using both breastfeeding and formula.1

As a breastfeeding mom, the body requires certain important nutrients like protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, B12, selenium, and zinc in increased amounts. That's why it is really important for both your health and your baby's health to eat a range of foods that are packed with these nutrients. Opting for foods that are high in these nutrients will make sure that you and your baby get all the big and small nutrients you both require.

Hydration's role in maintaining milk supply

Those who adhere to the paleo diet need to stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. While some may occasionally enjoy black coffee or green tea.

Lots of times, when babies are fed from their mother's breast, they do not get enough water. When it is really hot outside, there is a higher chance that some babies could lose too much water and can not drink enough milk to make up for it. If the mom is not drinking enough water, her breast milk might not be good for the baby, and she might not make enough of it. This can be bad for the baby's health.4

Benefits of the paleo diet for postpartum moms

  • Support with essential nutrients: The paleo diet's focus on whole, non-processed foods offers vital nutrients important for recovery after childbirth and breastfeeding, aiding maternal well-being
  • Encouragement for milk production: The diet's nutrient-rich foods, like lean meats and nuts, can assist in generating nourishing milk for nursing babies
  • Maintenance of balanced energy: Incorporating healthy fats and proteins can help keep energy levels steady during the challenging postpartum phase
  • Keeps hormones balanced: By prioritizing healthy fats and protein sources, the diet aids in balancing hormones, which may be disrupted after birth
  • Support for muscle healing: Lean protein elements promote healing and strength regain following childbirth, Making your body stronger and able to keep going for longer
  • Promotion of digestive wellness: By avoiding processed foods and prioritizing whole options, the paleo diet might enhance gut health, fostering digestion and overall health
  • Potential for weight regulation: The diet's stress on nutrient-rich foods might facilitate maintaining a healthy weight by decreasing consumption of processed and sweetened items
  • Reduction of inflammation: Concentrating on anti-inflammatory foods, like fruits, vegetables, and sources high in omega-3s, could lead to reduced inflammation, benefiting recovery
  • Research has also found that those who followed the paleo diet had a decreased rate of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and hyperlipidaemias
  • Elimination of troublesome foods: Through the exclusion of dairy and grains, the paleo diet might help identify and manage potential food sensitivities that could impact both maternal and infant health through breastfeeding
  • Wholesome nourishment: A well-rounded paleo diet could supply an array of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, promoting general well-being during this demanding phase of motherhood3

Paleo-friendly foods for postpartum moms

  • Lean meats: These include options like chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. If possible, aim for choices that are raised on grass and are organic
  • Fish and seafood: These selections are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Opt for types of fish that are caught in the wild
  • Eggs: An excellent source of protein and valuable nutrients. If available, prioritize eggs from hens raised in open pastures
  • Vegetables: Diversify your plate with an array of vibrant vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and sweet potatoes
  • Fruits: Embrace whole fruits like berries, apples, pears, and citrus fruits. These offer natural sweetness as well as a dose of vitamins
  • Nuts and seeds: Incorporate almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds to benefit from healthy fats and dietary fibre
  • Wholesome fats: Utilize sources like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee for cooking and enhancing flavour
  • Dairy alternatives: These include coconut and almond milk
  • Nourishing bone broth: This liquid carries an abundance of nutrients and collagen, which can be especially helpful for recovery in the postpartum period
  • Herbs and spices: Elevate your dishes with the inclusion of herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, and spices such as turmeric and ginger, both for taste and potential health advantages
  • Fermented foods: Consider incorporating foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, as they can contribute to promoting a healthy gut5

Remember, individual nutritional requirements can differ, particularly during the postpartum stretch. To make significant alterations to your diet, it's wise to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian.

Foods to limit or avoid

  • Sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup are commonly found in soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, sweets, baked goods, ice cream, and numerous other products
  • Grain-based items like bread, pasta, wheat, cereal, spelt, rye, barley, and similar foods are also on the list
  • Legumes encompass beans, lentils, and various related items
  • When it comes to dairy, most forms are excluded, especially low-fat varieties (although some paleo variations do permit full-fat dairy like butter and cheese)
  • Certain vegetable oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, and safflower oil, among others, are included
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium, and opt for natural sweeteners instead
  • Steer clear of highly processed foods, particularly those labelled as "diet" or "low fat," as well as those with numerous additives, including artificial meal replacements"
  • It's advisable to reduce consumption or steer clear of fish containing high amounts of mercury. This signifies that when nursing your baby, mercury can be unsafe for infants, so it's wiser to opt for fish having lower mercury levels to ensure your baby's safety6

Incorporating regular physical activity is also a crucial aspect of the paleo way of life.

Practical meal planning and samples

Morning meal: A blend of avocado, kale, banana, and apple using almond milk, or instead, you can opt for, eggs all mixed up with spinach that got a little softer, tomatoes cooked on the grill, and some pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.

Noon meal: A combination of mixed green veggies accompanied by pan-fried seabass, pumpkin seeds, and dressing made from olive oil. 

Evening meal: Roasted chicken featuring a stuffing comprised of onions, carrots, and rosemary.6

Adapting the diet to individual needs

This implies that while sticking to the diet, it is essential to listen to your body. If you feel like you need more food because you're hungry, it is okay to eat a bit more. On the other hand, if you're full and don't want to finish everything on your plate, that's alright too.

Additionally, it signifies that you have the flexibility to adjust the diet to match your preferences and avoid foods that might cause allergies. You are free to pick the foods that suit you best while staying true to the main concepts of the diet.

Addressing challenges and tips

Time-saving meal prep for a busy mom

Picture yourself as a highly occupied mom with a jam-packed timetable. Your plate is full, and dedicating extended hours in the kitchen isn't viable. What you aim to accomplish is discovering methods to prepare your meals swiftly and conveniently. This approach enables you to maintain a nutritious diet while safeguarding valuable moments with your loved ones or addressing other pressing tasks on your agenda.

Managing social occasions while maintaining the diet

To keep to your dietary plan at social events, consider pre-event nutritious eating, sharing your diet requirements, and carrying a suitable dish. Concentrate on enjoying the gathering, not the food. Don't stress if you occasionally indulge and resume your usual diet afterwards.


Is it safe to follow the Paleo Diet while breastfeeding during the postpartum period?

Yes, it can be safe for nursing mothers, but it's crucial to ensure proper nutrient intake for both you and your infant.

How can I ensure I'm getting enough nutrients for both myself and my baby while on the Paleo Diet?

Emphasize diverse Paleo foods, think about supplements if necessary, and seek advice from a healthcare expert for individualized counsel.

Are there any specific foods in the Paleo Diet that I should emphasize or avoid during breastfeeding, and why?

Prioritize nourishing foods like lean meats and vegetables. Steer clear of high-mercury fish and processed items for your safety and your baby's well-being.


The paleo diet for postpartum breastfeeding mothers is a dietary approach that centres on eating natural, unprocessed foods, much like what our ancestors consumed in the Paleolithic age. Its advantages encompass supplying vital nutrients for maternal recuperation and milk production, maintaining steady energy levels, harmonizing hormones, and promoting muscle recovery.

Nevertheless, it necessitates thoughtful attention to individual dietary requirements, hydration, and potential adjustments. It's wise to consult healthcare experts, and it's feasible to tailor the diet to personal tastes and allergies. In essence, the Paleo Diet seeks to boost the overall health of both the mother and the nursing baby during this vital stage.


  1. CDC. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023 [cited 2023 Aug 20]. Diet considerations for breastfeeding mothers. Available from:
  2. Breastfeeding diet: Nutrition and foods to avoid [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2023 Aug 24]. Available from:
  3. Manheimer EW, Van Zuuren EJ, Fedorowicz Z, Pijl H. Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2015 Oct [cited 2023 Aug 24];102(4):922–32. Available from:
  4. Lusambili A, Nakstad B. Awareness and interventions to reduce dehydration in pregnant, postpartum women, and newborns in rural Kenya. Afr J Prim Health Care Fam Med [Internet]. 2023 May 15 [cited 2023 Aug 24];15(1):3991. Available from:
  5. de la O V, Zazpe I, Martínez JA, Santiago S, Carlos S, Zulet MÁ, et al. A scoping review of Paleolithic dietary patterns: a definition proposal. Nutr Res Rev. 2021 Jun;34(1):78–106.
  6. Paleo diet: A guide and 7-day meal plan [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2023 Aug 25]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Jacinta Chinwendu Ogbaegbe

Bachelor in medical laboratory science, Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science/Research and Allied Professions, Imo State University

Jacinta Chinwendu, a dedicated medical laboratory scientist and mother of one is driven by a deep passion for health and wellness. With over five years of experience in the health sector, she has honed her expertise and understanding of medical science. Currently, as a health writer at Klarity Health, Jacinta utilizes her knowledge to educate and empower others about important health topics. Her commitment to promoting well-being and sharing valuable insights has made her an influential figure in the field of health education.

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