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Let’s be clear, there is no serious scientific evidence suggesting that Blue Gatorade can help increase milk supply. None. Does this mean you should not drink Blue Gatorade or that drinking it will certainly have no impact for you? Also No.
I like to say in this my small corner of the internet, that it is important to keep the goal in mind. Ensuring you and baby are safe. Making sure you have the supply you need so that baby is hitting her growth milestones. These are vitally important.
Should we follow all the tips we get from our various communities, probably not. But we can study them, do our own research, and consult with professionals to be sure we are making the right decisions for US.
The goal of this post is to think aloud.
If I needed to increase my milk supply and someone suggested Blue Gatorade, or BodyArmor, or some other hack. How would I go about choosing if I should follow the advice or not?
Making that choice requires answering a few important questions.
Can Blue Gatorade Help Increase Breast Milk Supply?
There is an endless supply of blogs, online comments, forums, and mama groups who swear by this drink. So many moms have attested to drinking Gatorade to increase their supply, and seeing results within a short period of time.
Based on this alone, the answer to our first question would be a clear yes. Blue Gatorade CAN help increase milk supply.
How does it work?
Now, I have spent time with a lactation consultant either on a course or on a one-on one session. I know the ‘pillars of lactation’:
- Frequent compression/stimulation and draining the breast
- Lots of hydration and the right nutrition
- Enough glandular tissue
- Active hormones and hormonal receptors
- Clear milk ducts and nerve pathways
So, how this particular hack fit into the pillars? Is it the hydration? If so, should I just drink water? Are there nutrients that have hormonal impact?
These are the questions to think about.
Do the ingredients in Blue Gatorade boost lactation?
Gatorade contains electrolytes (potassium and sodium), sugar and water. That’s pretty much it. Could these ingredients help a mom produce more milk?
Breastmilk itself is 75% – 85% water. While being dehydrated does not reduce production of breastmilk, it may lead to less frequent feedings. Which lead to less frequent stimulation and draining of the milk ducts and causes lower milk production.
Every medical professional will also tell you the importance of staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet.
I have heard of some moms who do not like to drink water. In this case, I can imagine getting your hydration from Gatorade or any other acceptable drinks.
Eat well. Drink water. Got it. Nothing to do (specifically) with Gatorade yet.
Potassium and Sodium
The Potassium content could have some impact? I guess? Maybe for moms with a potassium deficiency?
Electrolytes like potassium and sodium are important for nutrition.
The great thing is that the body has a fantastic ability to adapt to varying amounts of electrolyte intake. The body’s electrolyte requirement is also affected by your body temperature and activity level.
What this boils down to is that the scientific evidence suggests that unless there is a severe potassium deficiency, you are unlikely to get increased milk production from drinking Gatorade (Source).
Again, this is not to say you shouldn’t drink it. Its just not contributing much to your body.
Whenever you nurse your baby as a breastfeeding mother, your body uses up energy and burns more calories than it usually does. Replacing those calories is important to maintaining your own health and keeping your milk production at acceptable levels.
Does this translate into drinking 1–2 bottles of Blue Gatorade?
The way I would think about this point is based on the NIH Guidance
- On average, moderately active women need 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day
- In addition to the above, breastfeeding moms need an extra 450 – 500 calories a day
Again, calories are not the goal. Proper nutrition is.
What happens if you don’t get enough calories, you are likely to lose weight. It becomes more of a concern if the caloric deficit is combined with poor nourishment. For example certain diets may require taking vitamin supplements.
Blue Gatorade ingredients do not help milk supply
To summarise, the ingredients in Blue Gatorade don’t appear to play a big role in lactation. This means that the ingredients alone likely do not explain why breastfeeding moms everywhere love this hack.
So why are moms relying on this drink to increase milk supply?
The Placebo Effect
The placebo effect refers to the phenomenon where, if you believe a substance will cause an effect, it can!
This is a real thing! It has been well researched and is recognized by the medical and scientific communities. Placebos work. Could this be the secret to the effectiveness of Blue Gatorade in improving milk supply?
In simple terms, the most likely explanation for why women around the world see an increase in their milk supply after drinking Blue Gatorade is not because it contains electrolytes or some other ingredient. It is because they truly believe it will increase their milk supply!
Are the Gatorade Sports Drinks safe?
While it is always important to discuss with your lactation consultant before making any changes to your diet or food, blue Gatorade can be considered safe when consumed moderately by breastfeeding moms.
I do not have any major concerns here. Gatorade has been on the market for decades and is a massive brand. The quality of production is likely very high, and consistent.
We have also seen that the ingredients are very basic, so not a lot to worry about in terms of safety.
What this means is that if you choose to include Gatorade into your diet (in moderation), it is not likely to do any harm.
In fact, I’ve seen some claim that Gatorade can help reduce engorgement by serving as a compress for sore nipples. This is not something I have given much thought or seen anyone try, but the point is that the drinks are safe… apparently for a variety of uses.
When should mama (pumping or nursing) avoid using the Blue Gatorade Drinks?
As we have seen, the Placebo Effect can be effective. And some may choose to use Gatorade as their preferred source of hydration if they dont like to drink water.
But, are there instances where the risks of using these drinks may outweigh the potential reward of an increase your milk supply?
If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your baby as regards the artificial coloring in the drinks, feel free to address these concerns with a medical professional before consuming this or any other food or drinks.
Additionally, if you have an allergic reaction to corn, soy, or wheat, then you should avoid Gatorade drinks as it contains these ingredients.
Does the ‘blue’ color of the Gatorade Drinks matter?
This is an odd one. I have not seen any research discussing the blue coloring as a factor in milk supply. in any way whatsoever because there is nothing special about the ‘blue’ in the blue Gatorade drink.
There are many reasons why mamas may feel they are not getting breast milk supply they need. It can be frustrating. And I understand why we all want to get tips about what works from others in our shoes or who have gone through what we are going through.
Although Blue Gatorade is recommend a lot as a way to boost milk supply, there is just no real basis for these drinks to help improve milk production.
The main ways that Blue Gatorade likely helps is by keeping you hydrated, and through the Placebo effect.