Bone Broth, Baby!

“Is it ok for me to drink bone broth while I’m breast-feeding?”, a woman who’d purchased my bone broth asked in an email she’d sent me.

With some of the information doled out to pregnant women in terms of what they should and should not be eating, it’s no wonder many would have questions about whether or not something as beneficial as bone broth would be safe to eat.

After all, according to ACOG (1), those who are expecting should avoid:

  • Unpasteurized milk and foods made with unpasteurized milk
  • Pate
  • Raw and undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat
  • Solid fats from animal sources

(and although it’s off topic, worth mentioning what is recommended,  (2):

  • “Breads and Grains: The body’s main source of energy for pregnancy comes from the essential carbohydrates found in breads and grains. Whole grain and enriched products provide important nutrients such as iron, B Vitamins, fiber and some protein, even. You can get the required amount of folic acid from fortified bread and cereal. Depending on your weight and dietary needs, you should consume anywhere between 6-11 servings (6-11 oz) of breads/grains daily.  (Because we all need to load up on these fillers, right?)
  • Fruits—Fruits can be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. Juice that is 100% fruit juice also counts (how nice that actual juice counts, too!)
  • Vegetables—Vegetables can be raw or cooked, frozen, canned, dried, or 100% vegetable juice (no mention of sugar or salt content in canned veggies… hmmm).
  • Protein foods—Protein foods include meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds (care to expand at all on sourcing of the proteins which are actually viable protein options and maybe to separate them from those which are actually inflammatory legumes (hello, soy!).
  • Dairy—Milk and products made from milk, such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, make up the dairy group. (And these are all apparently excellent choices so long as they’re not raw, but fine if they’re skimmed with sugar added, yes?)

Detect a little sarcasm?

I digress; even to this day, for as long as I’ve been teaching in this space, I’d be fibbing a little if I pretended this erroneous advice didn’t stir up some emotion.

Perhaps even more so on this particular topic as we’re dealing not just with one’s own picture of health but that of their new baby.

So, let’s put these silly suggestions aside and get back to common sense, starting with looking at why bone broth would be a great food to include both for mom and baby:

  • Even before your baby is born, bone broth is an essential must-drink while pregnant.  In those early days of pregnancy, bone broth can be a godsend for a lot of mamas-to-be as it is a good way to keep up your nutrient intake when you’re feeling unable to eat. These reportedly include calcium, magnesium, and potassium—all nutrients that are just as necessary after the morning sickness passes (3).
  • Broth contains blood-building properties to restore the blood and fluid lost in giving birth. The broth contains minerals and nutrients to strengthen the body and it is deeply hydrating for breastfeeding moms who require extra fluid intake for breast milk production. In addition, the cartilage found in broth helps with strengthening the bones and supporting tendons and joints postpartum (4).
  • The benefits of feeding your baby bone broth are numerous (5):
    • EASY TO DIGEST: As babies have an ever-developing digestive system, it’s typically difficult for a newborn or infant to digest foods that humans can. As such, many babies miss out on important nutrients like iron. These vitamins and minerals not found in breast milk can be found in a nutritious bone broth. Bone broth is easy to digest and offers babies a lot more nutrients.
      HIGH BIOAVAILABILTY: While many foods offer great nutrients, bone broth has one distinct advantage: the vitamins and minerals found in this elixir are easily digested and offer high bioavailability. Your baby will absorb these nutrients easily and benefit greatly.
      PREBIOTIC: Babies have guts and digestive tracts that are not fully developed yet. As such, a parent needs to help develop a child’s gut. Many recommend yogurt or kefir as a baby’s first food for this reason. However, bone broth offers similar benefits, as the elixir will improve the good bacteria in your child’s stomach and more.
      NUTRIENT DENSE: As babies are notoriously fussy eaters, it can be difficult to get them the perfect nutrient profile. Many babies only want a couple of spoonful of “people” food before whining. If you can ensure that little amount of food is bone broth, you’ll be sure your little one is getting a ton of vitamins, nutrients, and collagen.

Any downsides?


Just be sure you’re careful about sourcing your bones if you’re making your own (keep them local, ideally, 100% grass fed and finished beef,  pasture-raised poultry or pork or wild game), not overcooking it to cause oxidation or purchasing from a reliable, mindful supplier if you’re going the prepackaged route.

If you have a functional medicine doc you’re working with during this magical time of life, get his or her recommendation as to whether or not there are any unique parameters specific to your personal journey.

If not, and your doctor is of the completely Western mindset, don’t be surprised if you’re cautioned against it; just as with the dietary recommendations shared above, it takes a bit of common sense in order to interpret which food suggestions will actually benefit both you and baby.

Moms and babies have consumed bone broth at least since the time of Hippocrates (6); if nearly 2,500 years of humans have been drinking the elixir, we can be confident there may be something to it.

Real food always takes precedence!