A lot of women are concerned about the effect exercising will have on their milk supply when they are breastfeeding. But here’s some great news – there’s no need to be concerned as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.
Exercise has many health benefits – whether breastfeeding or not. But especially when sleep patterns are irregular, life has you once knew it has changed forever and emotions are all over the place, exercise can be especially helpful in improving these areas while juggling life with an infant.
To clear up the first rumor, exercising does not effect milk supply or nutrient content. So there’s no cost to your baby’s health. They just get a healthier mommy!
However, there are a few tips for breastfeeding moms in general that may apply to a greater degree when you add exercise into the equation. Here are some FAQ that will help you.
Q: Do I need to drink more water?
A: YES! You need more water when you exercise, and you need more water when you exercise. So guess what? You will probably be going to the bathroom so much that you feel like you’re pregnant again. But moms who notice a derease in supply when exercising are not experiencing negative effects of exercise. More than likely, it’s mild dehydration. So drink water like it’s your job…because if you’re a nursing mom – IT IS!
Q: Do I need to eat more?
A: YES! Your best guide to make sure you are getting enough calories to support exercise and milk production is by watching your baby. If you notice increased fussiness at the breast, add an extra snack (and drink more water!) But remember, especially if you are trying to get your pre-baby body back, extra calories still need to be found from nutrient-dense foods. Instead of grabbing a Snickers bar for 200-300 calories, try veggies & hummus, fruit with almond butter, homemade trail mix with dried fruit and raw nuts, or a glass of Shakeology.
Q: But my baby refuses the breast right after I exercise. Are you sure?
A: Well, did you towel off? If you’re sweaty and immediately try to nurse, there’s a good chance your baby just doesn’t want salt with their milk.
Q: Are there ANY problems I should be aware of?
Be aware that repetitive arm movements can cause plugged ducts in some moms. So if you’re doing strength training that involves repeating movements over and over again and notice a problem, try to vary your exercises more.
Q: What tips would you give to a nursing mom who wants to start exercising?
A: Drink water. And more water. And then drink some more water. Oh, and drink water. :) For your comfort, it’s best to exercise right after a feeding so your breasts are not full of milk. That could get really uncomfortable really fast. Plus, you’ll want to invest in some high-support sports bras for maximum comfort, especially if your exercise of choice involves running or jumping. You can pay a lot of money for a super expensive one if you wish, but a $20 sports bra from Target is my personal favorite.