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Is protein powder safe while breastfeeding?

Protein powders can be safe to use while breastfeeding, provided they are chosen carefully and used according to dietary needs. Breastfeeding mothers have increased protein requirements to support both their health and the growth and development of their babies. Protein supplements can help meet these needs, especially when dietary protein intake might not be sufficient1.

However, it's essential to select protein powders that are safe and free from harmful additives:

  • Avoid powders with added herbs or weight-loss ingredients: Some protein powders contain additional herbs or compounds aimed at promoting weight loss. Ingredients such as caffeine, ephedra, or green tea extract should be avoided as they can transfer through breast milk and potentially affect the baby2.
  • Choose powders low in sweeteners and artificial additives: Excessive sweeteners and artificial ingredients should be avoided. While natural sweeteners like stevia are generally considered safe, artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose are best used cautiously as their effects on infants are not fully understood3.
  • Opt for high-quality protein sources: High-quality protein powders such as those made from whey, casein, or plant-based sources like pea or rice protein are preferable. It's important to ensure that these powders are third-party tested for contaminants like heavy metals, which can be harmful to both mother and baby4.

If you're considering using protein powders while breastfeeding, it's a good idea to discuss this with a healthcare provider. They can offer guidance based on your specific health needs and dietary requirements. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet with sufficient whole foods is crucial during breastfeeding to ensure both you and your baby receive all necessary nutrients5.


  1. Butte, N. F., & King, J. C. (2005). Energy requirements during pregnancy and lactation. Public Health Nutrition, 8(7A), 1010-1027.
  2. Briggs, G. G., Freeman, R. K., & Yaffe, S. J. (2011). Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  3. Butchko, H. H., Stargel, W. W., Comer, C. P., Mayhew, D. A., Benninger, C., Blackburn, G. L., ... & Munro, I. C. (2002). Aspartame: review of safety. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 35(2), S1-S93.
  4. Consumer Reports. (2010). Protein powders: A review of heavy metals in protein powders.
  5. Craig, W. J., Mangels, A. R., & American Dietetic Association. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), 1266-1282.
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