It is natural to feel the need to reduce one's postpartum weight. If reducing some weight is an essential component of feeling healthy and confident to you, then you might want to think about trying out intermittent fasting.
In a word, intermittent fasting consists of eating during specific time windows and then abstaining from food (fasting) during other time windows. For instance, you may consume food during the first eight hours of the day and then refrain from food for the remaining 16.1 hours. Many people find success with intermittent fasting, but if you are a nursing mother, you may be concerned about the safety of this practice.
While not enough research has been conducted on intermittent fasting while breastfeeding to determine whether or not it is safe, we know that your body has specific needs when lactating. Intermittent fasting may interfere with those needs.
Give it a shot, and it is imperative that you be aware of these requirements, that you place a high priority on meeting them, and that you confer with a medical professional before getting started.
The essential indicator that your breastfeeding is working is whether or not your child is gaining weight. You should not practice intermittent fasting if your child is not gaining enough weight or is losing weight.
It is possible to nurse while engaging in intermittent fasting; however, this is only the case if you can satisfy your dietary, nutritional, and hydration needs. Stop using intermittent fasting if you realize that you either can't do it or that it's causing you to experience uncomfortable side effects.
"Intermittent fasting for weight loss while breastfeeding will not harm the baby as long as you continue regular feedings," says Bruce K. Young, MD, an internationally recognized leader and innovator in obstetrics and gynecology. "Intermittent fasting" is a combination of the terms "intermittent" and "fasting." "On the other hand, you should constantly drink water since you might have symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, or stomach cramps. If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately break your fast."
If you can consume approximately 2,300 to 2,500 nutrient-dense calories per day4, get enough nutrients, especially protein, carbohydrates, and fat,3, and drink enough fluids. You can safely engage in intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. However, this is only the case if you can do so throughout the fasting window.
In addition, you should check to see that your child is gaining the appropriate amount of weight and that you are not suffering from any unfavorable side effects such as dizziness or nausea.
There is not a significant amount of research on intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. Still, we can use data collected on nursing parents who fast during Ramadan, a sacred month in Islam, to learn how fasting may affect breastfeeding parents and their babies.
According to a survey conducted on nursing mothers in Turkey who observed the fasting tradition throughout the month of Ramadan, the women's milk production decreased at this time.
On the other hand, milk production in the Gambia was measured before and throughout the holy month of Ramadan, and the researchers discovered no difference.
The breastmilk of women who fasted in The Gambia was found to have a different composition, and the women in the research did not take sufficient amounts of fluids.
It suggests that it is not necessarily safe to go without food when nursing for lengthy periods, such as from sunrise to nightfall during Ramadan. If breastfeeding while fasting, it is essential to drink a lot of extra fluids, so you don't dehydrate yourself.
Every mother's experience of nursing will be unique. If you are nursing and have any concerns or questions regarding intermittent fasting, you must discuss your situation with a qualified medical professional.
If you are breastfeeding and wish to try intermittent fasting, you will need to pay more attention to the specifics than you would if you were not nursing your child. The fulfillment of your dietary requirements needs to be your priority.
A nursing mother or father requires an additional 450 to 500 calories compared to a healthy person who is not pregnant.
It indicates that you must consume between 2,300 to 2,500 calories daily, all of which must be accomplished inside your designated eating window.
According to Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD, a registered dietitian with Wellness Verge, "when you are nursing, you need to ensure that you are getting enough calories to sustain your supply." When you cut the time available to eat, consuming enough food to meet your calorie requirements might be challenging.
When nursing, you should consume around 16 glasses of water daily.
That's twice as much as you would require if you weren't nursing your baby! It indicates that you will need to consume water for the entirety of the day, including while in the fasting window. But there's no need to be concerned about drinking water while fasting; it's encouraged!
Whether or not you are fasting, it is essential to consume adequate nutrition while nursing your baby. A prenatal vitamin will not provide the additional protein, carbs, and fat you require since these nutrients are not found in prenatal vitamins. 3
According to Dr. Reisdorph, "[If you are fasting], you can be losing out on vital nutrients that you and your baby require." [T] Here, you and your kid could suffer from this. While fasting, it might be challenging to satisfy all your nutrient requirements.
Dr. Young stresses the importance of eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, enriched staple grain foods, and whole-grain foods if you try intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. If you decide to try it, she recommends that you do so while eating various fruits and vegetables.
Cortisol, the hormone connected with stress, is produced in more significant quantities when one fast.
In the first several months of their newborns' life, almost all new parents experience sleep deprivation, which is associated with increased cortisol levels. 10 "If you try to practice intermittent fasting without sleep, you are putting yourself up for serious adverse consequences of out-of-whack cortisol and hormones," warns Dr. Reisdorph. "You are setting yourself up for substantial side effects of out-of-whack cortisol and hormones." There is some evidence that stress might reduce milk production.
If you want to reduce the stress and anxiety you're exposed to; you could find that choosing a longer eating window or forgoing intermittent fasting is the best option.
Advice for Breastfeeding Mothers Who Follow a Vegetarian, Vegan, or Other Comparable Diet
While nursing, it is possible to engage in intermittent fasting; nevertheless, one Should approach this lifestyle choice with extreme caution. If you are unable to consume enough calories, nutrients, or drinks when practicing intermittent fasting, you may decide to postpone trying it until a later time when it will be less risky for you to do so.
It is not enough to consider whether or not you are still breastfeeding your child. You need to ensure that you are receiving sufficient rest during the night to prevent the effects of intermittent fasting from having an amplified effect on your stress hormones. According to Dr. Reisdorph, "I recommend restarting intermittent fasting [after] your baby is entirely weaned and has a pretty regular sleep pattern."  "I would recommend restarting intermittent fasting [after] your baby is weaned."
There are various methods available to safely maintain your fitness and health while nursing if you do not choose to engage in intermittent fasting.
You are exercising while nursing is safe and beneficial to your health.
Getting back in shape and raising your mood may be accomplished by doing activities such as running with a stroller or riding an exercise bike during nap time.
Instead of limiting your calorie intake during nursing, you should concentrate on consuming meals high in nutrients. If you want to maintain your body in tip-top form while nursing, switch out the saturated and trans fats in your diet for healthy fats like olive oil, almonds, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon or salmon herring is a great way to do so. Additionally, your breastfeeding infant might benefit from the consumption of unsaturated fats.
Having a child will make it impossible for you to maintain good sleep hygiene. If you don't get enough sleep, your stress hormone cortisol levels may rise, making it simpler to acquire weight and more difficult to lose. Having a baby in your care might make it challenging to get a whole night's sleep every night, but putting your rest first whenever possible can help you maintain a healthy body and a positive state of mind.
A preliminary study has been conducted to determine whether it is safe to practice intermittent fasting while nursing. We know that nursing mothers require an additional 450 to 500 kilocalories daily for their bodies to function correctly. In addition, they need to ensure that they are consuming the appropriate amounts of nutrients to assist their postpartum recovery and appropriately nourish their child. In addition, increased hydration intake is essential for the nurse and the nursing.
It's possible that intermittent fasting will make it difficult for you to consume enough calories, the proper nutrients, or enough water. Drinking sufficient fluids and meeting your caloric and nutrient needs during both the eating window and the fasting window is necessary for the safe practice of intermittent fasting. The only other way that intermittent fasting can be considered safe is if you can meet all of your dietary needs during the eating window.
The most crucial thing to consider is whether or not your child is putting on weight. If your healthcare practitioner has any reservations about this, you should not participate in intermittent fasting.