Is it safe? Will it speed up in shedding the baby weight?
It’s not easy to lose weight after getting pregnant. Although you may have heard about how breastfeeding can help in shedding the extra pounds after giving birth, you may not have experienced it yet and you wish to try eating one meal a day or intermittent fasting. But is it safe to do OMAD while breastfeeding?
There’s not much research about the safety of OMAD while breastfeeding. To be on the safe side, you must avoid intermittent fasting and OMAD when nursing your baby, without first talking to your doctor.
What is OMAD?
OMAD or one meal a day is a severe form of intermittent fasting. You will only eat one meal a day. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
It’s not a new concept though. The Buddha advised eating one meal a day for good health. One must eat all the food at once and exercise. This OMAD program places less burden to people who will provide food for one meal, rather than preparing many meals. It allows more time to be spent on the teaching of Dhamma.
Some studies also showed that cells can resist disease if they are not under stress from eating. Other studies also suggested that fasting could reduce body inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
As regards to losing weight, OMAD has a lot of studies to support it.
Why Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight?
When you don’t consume food, your body uses fat stores to give you energy. But it’s not the only benefit of OMAD or intermittent fasting. If you don’t eat for longer periods, it lowers your overall calorie consumption.
The result? Weight loss.
In a study, participants who fast every other day had lost 8 percent of their body weight within 8 weeks.
OMAD and Breastfeeding
Some women do fast as part of Ramadan. They consume food from dawn to sunset for a month. In a survey, though, women who practiced fasting while breastfeeding said that their milk supplies lowered.
Studies suggest that women who are fasting may not take enough macro and micronutrients to support the production of milk.
That’s why lactating women are excluded from fasting during Ramadan.
Nursing mothers must consume an additional 600 calories a day to produce more milk. Furthermore, it is vital to consume a variety of foods. But you must emphasize eating foods high in protein, iron, and calcium. This will help you stay healthy. Your baby will have enough milk to thrive.
Fasting may also affect fluid intake. Keep in mind that most fluid comes from the food you consume. That said, if you practice OMAD while breastfeeding, it may affect your milk production as milk is fluid.
If you want to practice OMAD while nursing, make sure to consult your physician about it. It may or may not cause harm. However, you will potentially lose your milk supply, which is not good for your baby.
Does OMAD Affect Macronutrients in the Milk?
In research, it showed that fasting doesn’t affect macronutrients found in breast filed but it does affect micronutrients.
Your milk output may stay the same before or during fasting. However, the amount of potassium and lactose might reduce.
If you really want to do fasting, make sure to work closely with your doctor.
Keep in mind that every person is different. Fasting may not affect your breast milk production. However, if you don’t want to risk your milk supply, then you must wait a while before you can start fasting.
Can You Try Other Fasting Methods?
Before you change your diet, make sure that you talk to your doctor. Your physician might suggest something that is tailored to your needs.
Some doctors might agree with their patients to fast while breastfeeding. However, they might recommend a shorter fasting period. Because there’s not enough research about OMAD or fasting while breastfeeding, there are no specific rules for you to follow.
However, shorter fast may offer benefits. For instance, you may fast for 12 hours. That is, your last meal is at 6 pm. You won’t eat for 12 hours. Your first meal will be at 6 am. It’s still intermittent fasting.
The most important thing is that you are meeting your nutritional needs and your baby’s.
You may read the Incremental Mama about her experience on intermittent fasting and breastfeeding. Her doctor said that it was safe for her to try intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. IF was perfect for her, although she didn’t lose a lot of weight. You may read her blog post here. (This is not a sponsored link. Don’t worry.)
If you wish to try OMAD while breastfeeding, there are some things to keep in mind.
You must drink a lot of fluids throughout the day. Drinking water won’t break your fast.
You may try coffee. But drink it without sugar or milk. If you do, then you will surely break your fast.
How about bulletproof coffee? This type of coffee is just coffee with healthy fats. But don’t try it out without first consulting your doctor.
But to err on the side of caution, just drink water. However, don’t drink too much at one time. If you do, then you may be intoxicated with water.
Consume a Variety
During your eating window, make sure that you provide your body with the nourishment that it needs. You must eat nutritious food to compensate for the effects of fasting.
Eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, lean protein, and whole grains.
You can try Chicken Barley Soup. Well, it’s chicken soup. It’s comfort food that is high in protein. Plus, it includes barley. It is known to be beneficial when breastfeeding as it can improve lactation and help you hydrated all day.
For your snacks, you can try Oatmeal Lactation Cookies. Oats can help in boosting your milk production. It has a flaxseed meal and brewer’s yeast. The cookies are not only suitable for nursing mothers but also pregnant women.
Another recipe you can try involves spinach and potatoes, plus poppy seeds. It’s a breastfeeding recipe from India. This is the recipe you would want to try if you want to boost your iron and calcium intake from food. Since it’s an Indian recipe, expect it to have turmeric.
If your only goal to practice OMAD while breastfeeding is for weight loss, then you can try other ways to lose weight.
If it’s time for you to eat, make sure that you follow portion size. Don’t go overboard. Instead, you must eat mindfully so your body will know that you have enough food to digest.
Listen to your body so you can distinguish whether or not you’re just thirsty or really hungry. With portion size, you’re putting less stress on your body than when you eat a huge amount of food at one time.
If you wish to feel satiated after eating, make sure to consume lean protein. On the other hand, if your doctor gives you a go signal to follow OMAD, you might want to focus on eating healthy fats.
Healthy fats are a great addition to your meal because they allow you to feel satiated for longer hours. One of the complaints of breastfeeding mothers is that they feel hungry all the time because of the caloric demands.
With healthy fats, like avocados and nuts, you can maintain a feeling of fullness. Furthermore, healthy fats are great for your heart.
Plan Your Meals
When you plan your meals, you’re not only saving time but it’s also great for your health. As you plan your meals ahead of time, you won’t be tempted to consume more calories than you have.
You can follow portion control seriously.
You also don’t have to worry about eating unhealthy foods that are quick to prepare because you just don’t have time to cook.
Your meal is already ready for you to grab. Because you prepare your meal ahead of time, you are likely to eat healthier choices.
Controlling your diet isn’t the only way for you to lose weight. It’s just half the battle.
If you wish to lose weight while breastfeeding, you must do exercise. Even if you follow OMAD while breastfeeding, you still need to work out. But don’t overdo it though.
Before you can start a serious exercise regimen though, you must wait for 8 weeks. Extreme exercise can affect your ability to produce a healthy amount of milk.
You should ask your doctor about the kind of exercise you wish to incorporate in your regimen. But there are two categories that you should consider. These would include weight-bearing and cardio.
Each type of exercise has its own benefits. You can do cardio for 20 minutes. It’s great for your circulation.
Weight-bearing is also ideal to strengthen your bones and muscles.
If you follow OMAD, you must choose the right exercise. Keep in mind that strenuous exercise may affect your energy level. If you’re too tired, you may want to eat outside your eating window.
The main goal of exercising is to help you avoid living a sedentary life while breast-feeding. If you’re following OMAD while breastfeeding, your regimen can be exhausting.
You can try easy walks during this period.
You can also do some stretches to keep your energy up throughout the day.
Boosting Milk Production
If you’re worried about your milk production, some tricks can help you produce more breast milk and boost its supply.
You can try lactation cookies. As mentioned earlier, these cookies can be a great treat that you can snack on. You can try the recipe mentioned above. The key here is to include brewer’s yeast, flaxseed meal, wheat germ, and whole oats as they can stimulate milk production.
The use of breast compression can help your baby to take in more milk while you breastfeed. It can remove breast milk when you use a breast pump. This is ideal if your baby or newborn isn’t a strong nurser.
You may also wish to stimulate your breasts by a hand expression technique. Do it after you have finished nursing your baby. The extra stimulation will trick your body into thinking that you need more milk.
Many mothers want hand expression rather than the use of a breast pump because it’s more natural. Furthermore, they don’t have to purchase anything.
How to Make OMAD EaSier While Nursing?
Assuming your doctor has permitted you to do OMAD while breastfeeding, you need to follow a healthy diet.
You must get enough nutrition for you and your growing baby.
You must eat protein-rich food and healthy fats before your fast and after your fast. Then, during the fasting state, make sure that you drink a lot of water.
There’s a type of OMAD that prohibits the drinking of water. This is an extreme form of OMAD and your doctor will not approve of it.
Dehydration can affect you and your growing baby. For that reason, you need to keep yourself hydrated while you fast.
But you must not drink more water than your body needs. You must only drink enough water. You can try other fluids, too.
Get Enough Sleep
Even if you don’t follow OMAD, you need to get enough rest while breastfeeding.
You must not exert yourself when you fast as it can cause your energy to go down. It will make you feel lethargic. As much as you can, you must rest so your energy is fully stored.
When to Fast?
It depends on your schedule. You can experiment a bit before you can find a routine that fits you well.
Keep in mind that every person is different. What feels best for one person doesn’t mean that it’s also best for you.
Generally, though, it’s best to just eat your meal around 6 pm. In that way, you won’t feel hungry while you sleep.
You should talk to your doctor or a dietitian to get specific recommendations on how to do OMAD while breastfeeding.
“Can I do OMAD while breastfeeding?” It’s safe for some but it may not be safe for you. Talk to your doctor about it before you even try eating one meal a day. You must listen to your body.