Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding: Examining the Potential Impact on Milk Production and Baby’s Health

A common dietary practice called intermittent fasting alternates between periods of eating and fasting. A increasing body of evidence points to the potential health advantages of intermittent fasting, including weight loss, increased insulin sensitivity, and a decreased risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. However, due to worries about possible consequences on their milk supply and the health of their infants, many breastfeeding mothers are hesitant to try intermittent fasting.

The potential effects on milk production when breastfeeding are one of the key issues with intermittent fasting. Both lactose and fat are components of breast milk, and the mother’s diet has an impact on these substances. Studies have demonstrated that maternal energy restriction, such as that seen during intermittent fasting, can cause a reduction in the amount of fat in the milk (1,2). As a result, the milk may contain less calories, which could prevent the baby from getting enough energy.

To fully understand the possible effects of intermittent fasting on nursing mothers, more research is required. It is crucial to keep in mind that studies on this subject have primarily been carried out on overweight or obese women and animals. Healthy lactating mothers were used in the study, and neither the volume of milk produced nor the makeup of the milk were significantly different between the two groups (3).

The potential effects on the health of the infant are another issue for nursing women who are thinking about intermittent fasting. A newborn’s growth and development depend on the nutrients found in breast milk, therefore any changes to the milk supply may have an impact on the infant’s health. However, there is now no proof that intermittent fasting is harmful to the wellbeing of infants who are breastfed.

It’s also crucial to remember that not everyone should practice intermittent fasting, especially pregnant or nursing women. Additionally, anyone with a history of disordered eating should stay away from it, as should people who are underweight.

In conclusion, there is currently no evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting is dangerous, even though additional research is required to fully understand its effects on nursing moms and their infants. However, breastfeeding women who are thinking about trying intermittent fasting should speak with their doctor to be sure it’s safe for them.


  1. Dewey, K. G., & Nommsen-Rivers, L. A. (1995). Maternal weight-loss patterns and preparation for lactation. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 62(2), 503-507.
  2. Dewey, K. G., Finley, D. A., & Lönnerdal, B. (1989). Maternal weight loss patterns and lactational failure. Pediatrics, 84(5), 944-951.
  3. Ho, S. Y., Veldhuis, J. D., Johnson, M. L., Furlanetto, R., & Evans, W. S. (1988). Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 81(4), 968-975.

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