Sam Faiers dieting while breastfeeding: Is that safe?

Sam Faiers has kicked off a debate online about whether it is safe to diet while breastfeeding [Photo: Instagram/samanthafaiers]
Sam Faiers has kicked off a debate online about whether it is safe to diet while breastfeeding [Photo: Instagram/samanthafaiers]

Sam Faiers has kickstarted a parenting debate about whether or not it is safe to diet while breastfeeding.

Taking to Instagram, the reality TV star uploaded a picture of a healthy green juice, and revealed her plans to try the 5:2 diet.

“I know I’m a bit late on the detoxing/fitness/diet craze,”she wrote. “But I’m starting today after second baby it seems to be harder to shift the excess weight.”

“To be fair I have been eating what I want & only minimal exercise,” the mum-of-two, who gave birth to her second baby, Rosie, two months ago, continued.

“I am going to try a 5:2 diet I have heard really good things about it. And it’s totally healthy for us breastfeeding mums.”

The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for five days, while only consuming around 500 for the other two.

Despite doing her best to reassure her followers that her plans were healthy, Sam received some negative comments with many raising concerns that the part-fasting diet isn’t safe for breastfeeding mothers.

“Would that be a healthy diet while breastfeeding?” one user asked.

“I follow 5:2 on FB and they are very clear that it’s not recommended to follow when breastfeeding,” another user commented.

Others pointed out that dieting or restricting calories could affect milk supply

“My milk supply really takes a big dip, if I don’t consume enough calories a day!” one user wrote.

My beautiful family. Our first holiday as a family of 4 ❤️

A post shared by Samantha Faiers (@samanthafaiers) on Jan 28, 2018 at 6:00am PST

So what’s the truth? Is it safe to diet while breastfeeding?

According to Linda Bryceland, Head of Midwifery at Private Midwives all mothers should be conscious of dieting whilst nursing their baby.

“New mums should wait at least 2 months after birth and ensure breastfeeding and milk supply are well established before attempting to diet,” she advises.

“This is due to the fact that their baby is relying on their breastmilk to receive all the nutrients and vitamins that are needed for a healthy growth.”

Linda says it is recommended that a mother should aim to consume 2,300 calories a day, which allows 500 calories for breast milk and 1,700 calories for the mother.

“Restricting nutrients may reduce quality of milk whilst restricting calories may reduce quantity of milk. So it is important mums who are breastfeeding consult either their GP or midwife before altering their calorie intake.”

Sioned Hilton, Medela UK’s in-house Lactation Consultant and Education Manager agrees that breastfeeding mums avoid crash dieting and restricted trend diets, such as low calorie diets as this can impact upon milk supply, well-being and energy levels.

“There are slimming organisations that do have plans for breastfeeding mothers so chat with the group leader to tailor a plan with increased activity and sensible healthy eating that you can sustain, resulting in you gently shifting the baby weight, whilst supporting breastfeeding,” she says.

“Alongside a healthy, nutritious diet including lots of vegetables, protein, fortified cereals/breads, it’s also advisable to have 2 omega rich foods, such as oily fish, a week. A fun fact to remember; You only need an extra 2 digestive biscuits a day in terms of additional calories.”

Its 2 degrees outside ❄️ we aren’t going anywhere ‍‍

A post shared by Samantha Faiers (@samanthafaiers) on Nov 30, 2017 at 8:12am PST

When it comes to exercising while breastfeeding, Sioned says gentle exercise such as long walks and swimming is the best kind of fitness.

“Be sure to breastfeed before any exercise to minimise milk leakage and wear a comfortable, supportive bra; not a sports bra as this could compress delicate breast tissue,” she explains.

“If recovering from a caesarean, it is important you wait until your review with your GP before undertaking any physical activity. Take care of your ligaments with a gentle warm up.”

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