Whether you choose to nurse, pump, or combo feed, providing breast milk for your baby is demanding work. And when the worries of not producing enough milk to meet your baby’s need set in – everyone’s got an opinion on what might help boost supply.
Body Armor’s main draw is that it’s hydrating. While there’s no secret ingredient in Body Armor that enhances supply, keeping up with fluid intake is one of the key parts of maintaining breast milk production. Anything that encourages you to stay hydrated during breastfeeding is a win for both mom and baby!
Breastfeeding/pumping’s newest obsession, it can feel like Body Armor is a breastfeeding must-have. I’ll explore why women are drawn to this drink as well as common comparisons.
Is It Safe to Drink Body Armor When Breastfeeding?
Body Armor brand makes several different beverages, but the most popular with nursing moms is their original sports drink which is the one we will be focusing on in this article.
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients:
Filtered Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Coconut Water Concentrate, Citric Acid, Dipotassium Phosphate (Electrolyte), Vegetable Juice Concentrate (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Magnesium Oxide (Electrolyte), Natural Strawberry Banana Flavor with other Natural Flavors, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Calcium D-Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Zinc Oxide (Electrolyte), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin A Palmitate (Vitamin A), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).
(Source: Body Armor- Strawberry Banana flavor)
Body Armor is naturally flavored and uses juices to provide the hue, rather than food dyes. The original version also relies on cane sugar for sweetness (the Body Armor Lyte version uses erythritol instead).
The remainder of the drink is made up of water, coconut water, electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, and lots of vitamins. Of course, the juices used for color vary between the flavors but the core ingredients are still the same.
There’s not much that’s off the table for breastfeeding mothers, with the main guidance for limiting high-mercury seafood and caffeine (source: CDC).
If you are choosing to limit caffeine or feel like your baby is sensitive to caffeine depending on the time of day you consume it, keep in mind that Body Armor Edge is their caffeinated option. With 100 mg of caffeine per bottle, it’s roughly the same as drinking an 8-oz cup of coffee (source: Mayo Clinic).
Regardless of which flavor or style of Body Armor you choose, all of the ingredients are safe when providing breast milk for your little one.
Can Body Armor Boost Milk Supply When Nursing?
Over the past few years, Body Armor gained popularity as a breastfeeding/pumping super-drink thanks to several viral videos on social media. Influencers claim that they saw their milk supply skyrocket once they started drinking it regularly.
While there isn’t currently any published research directly on Body Armor and breast milk supply, there is some evidence for a few of its ingredients.
The concept of galactagogues- foods and drinks that promote milk production- isn’t new. In fact, many cultures have foods that are traditionally given to new mothers to support lactation (source: La Leche League International).
Coconut water is one of the key ingredients in Body Armor. Coconut commonly makes the list of galactagogues. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any research that shows how well coconut and/or plain coconut water works when it comes to boosting milk supply.
For mothers who are further postpartum, the return of the menstrual cycle affects the breast milk supply. Many women notice a dip in their milk production during the luteal phase (the time between ovulation and your period).
During this time, there is a shift in how your body uses calcium, and it’s thought that supplementing with calcium and magnesium can help to limit your cycle’s effect on your milk supply (source: Fertility and Sterility, La Leche League International).
Body Armor contains only one of those nutrients- magnesium. Because your body relies on the combination of magnesium with calcium, it’s unlikely that the magnesium in Body Armor will have any effect on your milk supply.
The most likely reason women might be seeing an increase in milk supply when drinking it is hydration. Breast milk is fluid, so it’s no surprise that nursing/pumping mothers’ own hydration status directly affects their milk supply.
While most adults aim for about 8 cups of water each day, lactating women need twice the amount- around 16 cups per day (source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)!
Body Armor tastes sweet, fruity, and let’s be honest- much more interesting than plain water. It’s very possible that the reason women notice a difference in their milk supply when drinking it is simply that the taste encourages them to just drink more.
Which Body Armor is Said to be the Best for Breastfeeding?
The majority of claims about Body Armor and breastfeeding/pumping are centered on the original Body Armor sports drink. This is the one you’ll most commonly find in grocery and convenience stores as well as vending machines.
Again, there isn’t any research directly on the topic, but because the most likely reason for any change in milk supply is overall hydration any of the brand’s drinks should work as well. The “best” Body Armor to drink is the flavor you like and based on your preference of sweetener (cane sugar versus erythritol).
Body Armor vs Liquid IV for Breastfeeding: Which is Better?
If Body Armor works because you’re staying hydrated, is there anything else that works better?
Liquid IV is a popular brand that considers itself a “hydration multiplier.” In the medical world, we call this type of drink an “oral rehydration solution (ORS).” ORSs work by replenishing electrolytes and are typically used in folks who have had significant vomiting or diarrhea.
Because lactation doesn’t deplete the body of these electrolytes in the same way that getting super sick might, it’s not necessary for lactating women to drink an ORS.
Body Armor does contain the same types of electrolytes from the coconut water, just in smaller amounts than in Liquid IV.
Neither Body Armor nor Liquid IV is necessary or better during breastfeeding, but if having something other than drinking water is your secret to hydration success, rest assured that both drink options are equally safe.
How Much Body Armor Should I Drink When Breastfeeding?
Even though Body Armor isn’t the magic pill that is certain to boost the milk supply, many breastfeeding moms still enjoy drinking it.
When breastfeeding or pumping, you might feel like your thirst is never-ending. After chugging water bottle after water bottle, switching up the flavor and drinking something other than plain water might be just the pick-me-up you need to keep hydrated. Drinking something like Body Armor is there to help!
Because the ingredients are fairly basic, there’s no upper limit for how much Body Amor you can drink in a day. The original version is sweetened with sugar, so it’s best not to make it your main beverage every day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one bottle.
Body Armor is on the pricier side for a sports drink and only comes in bottles- no powder sticks or tablets yet- so drinking multiple each day can quickly add up for both your wallet and the environment.
While the jury is still officially out on whether or not Body Armor drinks boost milk supply, it’s likely that any effects are due to mom staying hydrated. If you’re experiencing any difficulties with breastfeeding and/or supply, certified lactation consultants are wonderful resources. If you’re in the US, many healthcare plans even provide coverage!