Intermittent Fasting While Nursing/Breast Feeding [Can You Do It?]
Updated: May 27
As a new mom, you may be looking to optimize your health and wellness while also decreasing bloating and increasing your energy levels through Intermittent Fasting - but there's also a ton of conflicting information out there! Is it safe? Will it reduce breast milk production? Should you be using it during this time?
Today, I'm breaking down all of the details behind Intermittent Fasting and whether or not you can use it while breastfeeding!
But First... Here's What Happens With IF
With proper utilization of Intermittent Fasting, your GI tract is able to rest. This rest stimulates two main cleaning pathways: the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) and Autophagy. The MMC pathway sweeps out left behind food and bacteria in your GI Tract that can lead to bloating and bacterial overgrowth (or even SIBO). Autophagy is cleaning your body at the cellular level by getting rid of cellular waste and improving your energy producing mitochondria.
What To Look Out For
Intermittent Fasting is not inherently a diet. Many people use it for weight loss, but it isn't necessarily a form of calorie restriction. In fact, I don't recommend counting calories and I explain all the science-y deets of why HERE.
While breastfeeding, you will already be using a significant amount of energy in order to produce milk. Therefore, it's especially important to make sure that you are eating enough at this time. That's why I stress the importance of eating until satiated in The Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle.
Another factor to be aware of is hydration. In general, it's important that we stay hydrated, but even more so while breastfeeding. If you think about it, this makes sense. You're losing quite a lot of liquid while breastfeeding, so making sure that you replace that liquid is essential. Make sure to discuss with your doctor how much liquid you should be taking in per day in order to stay hydrated and make the milk your baby needs!
How IF Can Benefit You
As I mentioned, Intermittent Fasting isn't inherently a "diet", rather a structure of eating. When you decrease snacking, eat until satiated and allow for that gut rest, it has been found to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation and trigger cellular cleanup, aka autophagy. When Intermittent Fasting is used properly, it's an amazing wellness tool to keep your body strong and healthy.
Another amazing benefit of Intermittent Fasting is that many AENpeeps report back feeling ENERGIZED after implementing Intermittent Fasting and proper Nutrient Timing strategies from the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle. Energy is something that many new moms are lacking and could greatly benefit from a boost of!
Should You Do It?*
The main concern with breastfeeding and Intermittent Fasting is breast milk production. However, the few studies done on short term fasting and breastfeeding have not found a decrease in breast milk production. It's important to keep in mind that Intermittent Fasting is not an extended fast and it isn't a form of starvation. It's simply a short time of gut and cell rest in order to clean house when done properly.
It's always important to consult your OBGYN and Nutritionist before making any lifestyle changes so that they can have an input on whether or not Intermittent Fasting is a good fit for you and your goals.
If you do choose to use Intermittent Fasting, it's VERY important to make sure you use it properly! Learn the details of eating until satiated, how to pick your window, utilizing proper Nutrient Timing and more before you dive in. Head over HERE to get the science-y deets on how you can get started.
Autumn Elle Nutrition
*Disclaimer: The author is not a doctor. The advice the author provides herein is based on years of practical application, experimenting with her own health and physique as well as the clinical needs of others. Any recommendations the author may make to you regarding diet, including supplements and herbal or nutritional treatments must be discussed between you and your doctor(s) to ensure protection for reader and author.