Updated: Jan 28
How to Intermittent Fast while breastfeeding
How to Intermittent Fast while breastfeeding - Remember back when Oprah said to stop eating at 6 pm? Guess what, that's a form of intermittent fasting.
One of the most questions I’ve been getting on Instagram is about Intermittent Fasting and breastfeeding. The idea of women fasting while breastfeeding isn’t entirely new. Fact, some women fast as part of the Muslim holiday, Ramadan.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is NOT safe for everyone or every postpartum breastfeeding mom. Speak with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting, especially if you have a history of diabetes. For breastfeeding moms, I recommend NOT fasting for more than 20 hours a day.
There are different types of intermittent fasting approaches. Alternate Day Fasting, Eat-Stop-Eat Method is NOT safe while breastfeeding since it requires you to fast for more than 20 hours. I would also stay away from the 5:2 diet, OMAD and the Warrior diet is likely NOT safe for breastfeeding moms. Do not eat under 1500 calories a day. Remember you are breastfeeding and you and your baby need nutrients, therefore going into an extreme calorie deficit is not safe.
Studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So,if you try IF you may way to ease into it.
I do the Time Restricted Eating (TRE) approach (16/8 method). Other TRE includes 14/10 and 12/12 methods, which can be safe ways to do intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. Although I do not count calories I am very mindful of what and how much I eat. What I’m doing does not have me decreasing my calories much more than what I was eating before (around 2000). I have been living a healthy lifestyle for years therefore I can eyeball my food and use the hand portions sizing to guestimate how much macros/calories I'm eating each day. I do recommend you count or calculate your macros/calories so you can make sure you are getting enough daily if you a new to this lifestyle and don't know how much to eat daily. The only change is that I’m eating within an 8-hour window. I do IF every day.
Even if you are not breastfeeding I suggest you try 14/10 or the 12/12 approach to ease into intermittent fasting even. You do not have to remove carbs from your diet to intermittent fast. Regardless of breastfeeding or not make sure that you are eating enough nutrient-dense foods during your eating window, drinking plenty of water, and taking a high-quality multivitamin.
Current research suggests that fasting doesn’t necessarily impact the macronutrients in breast milk. However, some micronutrients in breast milk may be “significantly” affected. This why you need to make sure you are taking a good quality multivitamin and eating good quality foods.
These are the multivitamins I use https://1stphorm.com/products/prenatal-plus/?a_aid=getupwithnards
You need to understand that these are MY conclusions based on research I've done on fasting and intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting while breastfeeding and my personal experience breastfeeding. Please consult your doctor before trying intermittent fasting, especially if you are under six months postpartum.
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Intermittent fasting interventions for the treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, February 2018.
Bazzano, A. N., Potts, K. S., & Mulugeta, A. (2018). How do pregnant and lactating women, and young children, experience religious food restriction at the community level? A qualitative study of fasting traditions and feeding behaviors in four regions of Ethiopia. PloS one, 13(12), e0208408. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208408
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