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  • Hi
    I’m currently breastfeeding my 7 month old baby. She is not taking as much milk now as she is having solid food as well. Is it ok to fast?

    Hello, Rox5tar – From what I can find, trawling the www, there is little scientific info on the subject but the view seems to be that dieting for GRADUAL weight loss is considered OK, as far as still being able to providing nutritional milk for the baby is concerned. (See the Abstract of an article from The Journal of Nutrition, details below**)

    However, I seem to recall reading an article that was more concerned with the effect of Intermittent Fasting on your own health, still so soon after giving birth. The fasting periods in the 5:2 system are designed to be a deliberate stress to the body and they have an impact on one’s hormones. I believe that some people hold the view that a new mother should give her body time (maybe a year?) to settle down after the perfect storm of hormonal changes involved in pregnancy, birth and breast-feeding. (I do not have sources to quote for this now, I’m afraid.)

    Having said that here’s a comment from ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’, the website of Mark Sisson, a well-known health and fitness blogger and parent, who promotes a primal diet which includes regular (and, I think, stricter) fasting:

    ‘Should pregnant or breastfeeding mothers do it?:
    Probably not. Whatever you do, listen to your hunger signaling. Don’t force yourself to adhere to an arbitrary fasting regimen just because it’s shown to confer all sorts of benefits in other, non-pregnant populations. While I wasn’t able to find any studies on breastfeeding and fasting, there are several on maternal fasting…
    ….There have been studies on calorie restriction and lactation, and it looks like mild calorie restriction (coupled with exercise) has little impact on breastfeeding. If you’re going to do this, make sure your milk quality and quantity aren’t negatively affected. Keep the fasts short (12-ish hours) and infrequent, just to be safe. And, of course, consult your doctor prior to doing it.’

    (Taken from: )

    It is your choice, of course, but perhaps you could discuss it with your own Doctor or other health professional before deciding how best to proceed? Every best wish to you and your baby.
    [**Effects of Maternal Caloric Restriction and Exercise during Lactation, by Kathryn G. Dewey (© 1998 American Society for Nutritional Services): ]

    Thank you for the information Jeanius, I found it very helpful. I decided to give it a go on Monday, just being mindful to listen to my body. I found it surprisingly easy & milk quantity was not affected. Bring on fast 2 on Thursday!

    That’s good news to hear, Rox5tar. I wish you – and your baby girl – every success ahead, in all things.

    Hi, another mum here contemplating starting the 5:2.

    My bub is now 18 months, still breastfeeding _, but down to one feed a day (except for the odd additional feed for night waking if he is sick or teething)

    I would take from the info I’ve read so far that it should be ok to start , perhaps as a 6:1 to see how the body copes..

    Hi, I currently breastfeed my 15 month old at least 3 times a day and have been on the 5:2 diet for almost 4 month now. I have lost almost 10 kilos! I have deliberately waited with the diet until my son was about a year old. I find the diet to be very easy to keep up. I do eat several small meals on a fast day. My milk supply hasn’t changed as far as I know. I have noticed that I have to drink more, especially on fast days or I will become constipated. I still have to lose at least another 10 kilos to be on a healthy weight, and hope to reach my goal before my son’s second birthday. Good luck in your endeavors, I hope it works for you as well at it has done for me.

    hi, this is an old thread but just jumping into see if anyone else is breastfeedingand doing this? I havean almost two year old and have just started. I did 600 calories and made sure I drunk lots of water. I plan on doing 5-2 and will stick to 600 on fast days for a while. There is a great article on Kellymom about religious fasting and breastfeeding. It suggests that nutritional make up of milk changes while fasting but not quantity, unless you are not drinking. Personally, I’ve only felt ready recently to do anything restrictive, as my daughter loves milk and hates sleep. Everyone is different though

    Hi Corianderdelight4, this is my first post – i just joined!

    I have a 27 month old who is still breastfeeding several times a day and night (though i’m not convinced he gets much milk i do still hear him swallowing at his 3 main first thing/nap time/last thing feeds, so there must be something there). I decided to try the 5:2 as i’m still carting about 14-20lbs of “baby weight” around (and after 27 months i think it’s MY weight now! lol) and though i’ve had success with things like low carb eating and weight watchers before i’m looking for something more sustainable.

    Anyway i did my first fast yesterday, i ate 600 too (though i’m 5’10” so that’s close to a quarter of my tdee anyway) and like you stayed well hydrated. I had a pretty good day actually, though i did finally get a headache, annoyingly when i was already in bed. My toddler seemed unaffected by it all, he nursed as usual.

    From what i’ve read previously (i looked into the 5:2 when he was smaller) the main thing i thought about is that our bodies store toxins in fat cells so if you fast that tends to break fat down faster and thus releases more toxins into our blood and therefore milk. It’s ages since i read the kellymom article so i can’t remember if they mention this or not? I decided for that reason to wait until his nursing was mainly for comfort and the vast majority of calories are from food, that way even if the toxicity of my milk slightly increases a couple of times a week, his overall intake of toxins is still small.

    Anyway i had a good day yesterday but have been REALLY hungry today! I feel like i ran a half marathon yesterday! How did you find it?


    Great that you are taking this on. I also read about the toxins getting into milk, but I also found enough evidemce that losing up to a pound a week, does not effect anything in a negative way. I have been on the 5:2 diet for a year and a half now. After losing almost 15 kilo i stopped for 3 months and regained almost half until I started with it again. The first weeks are a bit getting used to, now I don’t even feel hungry on a fast day.
    I have breastfed up to about 27 month, and stopped about four month ago. The weight loss is mech smaller since, but this is also due to my eating in tge rest of the week. I haven’t reached the weight goal yet, but I don’t mind, because I’m not gaining either, and that gives me the freedom to eat what I want on normal days. Good luck with your new life style, I hope it will work for you as well as it has for me.

    Hi, this is my first post!

    I’ve done the 5:2 before but didn’t know about this website then. I did it to lose the baby weight from my first child, which i did do, after carrying it around for 2 years!! I wished I had done it sooner! But just as I got back to my pre baby weight I fell pregnant again 🙂 so had to stop and put some back on! I’m 5’6″ and 12st 6lbs now.

    I’m desperate to start the 5:2 again because I felt so good on it. It wasn’t just about losing weight. I really felt well on it and it’s a very manageable ask for just 2 days a week once I got over the initial headaches/ portion control and general weirdness about not eating. Funnily enough hunger wasn’t much of a problem!?!

    I am only 6 weeks post partum so I know it’s too soon just yet but I wondered if anyone has read anything on how soon it’s safe to start again? How long after birth if you’re exclusively breast feeding??

    Did you find an answer Fozzybear? Very interested as I also did this pre pregnancy and am now 3 months postpartum and desperate to start again!

    My baby is 6 months and in wanting to start again but baby comes first I just don’t know enough to make an educated decision.

    And even more suggestions on breastfeeding diet for mommies:

    I assume it’s safe to start fasting when you are no longer the main source of nutrition for them? So when they are established on 3 meals and 2 snacks. Without concrete evidence that seems like the most sensible thing to do. Not what some people want to hear I know. 🙁 I didn’t lose the baby weight for whatever reason, I exclusively fed for 7 months and combined for last 2 months when I went back to work. Here I am 9 months post partum and on my second week of the fast. Anyway else just starting? I successfully lost 7 pounds on the 5:2 a couple of years ago.

    Thought I’d put my 2cents in. I am breastfeeding my 3rd child who is almost 10 months old and I started doing 5:2 about 2 weeks ago. Baby weight wasn’t coming off so I thought I’d try 5:2. Probably lost 5lbsin 2 weeks? I would think the important thing when nursing is drinking enough water. have about 35 lbs to lose. Also doing fast exercise. Looking for some inspiration and encouragement!

    Well done Lorky. 5 lbs is a lot! I don’t have a working scale at the moment! I doubt mine will be like that though coz I counted my cals on non fast days last week and I went over. So this week I hope will go better. And I need to get some scales!

    You can also get some tips & related suggestions for mommies here as well

    No I wouldn’t advise fasting AT ALL once you are still breastfeeding. Baby still needs all nutrients from your milk.

    Replying to an old thread, but I was given the green light once my baby turned 1 year old, was eating solid meals, and not relying on me as the source of all nutrition. My little one is not so little after 14 months and still breastfeeding at night and before and after daycare. I still pump once a day at work.

    What’s important is keeping your fluid levels up.

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