Breastfeeding and exercise? Can you do it? Heck ya!
From some moms I talk to, there seems to be some misconceptions out there about breastfeeding and exercise. Here are some of the most common questions I have been getting around this topic!
4 Breastfeeding And Exercise Myths Debunked
1. Does Exercise Decrease My Milk Supply?
No! A lot of women start exercising again at the same time a lot of other changes are happening, such as returning to work, resuming birth control, not drinking enough water, and other new mom stresses like lack of sleep, etc. These other changes can be big stresses that impact your milk supply.
When beginning to exercise, or starting a new exercise regime as a nursing mom, you want to make sure you already have established your milk supply, that you are staying very properly hydrated and are eating enough “healthy” calories.
Sometimes moms are doing a lot of upper body exercises and may pinch a milk duct close to their arm, so if you notice this, take a break from strength training and resume cautiously.
2. Is The Lactic Acid In My Milk Going To Make My Baby Not Want To Nurse Or Cause Harm?
No! After “strenuous” (like 100% exertion), some moms may have lactic acid in their milk, which some babies may be turned off by the taste. However, at moderate exercise (50-75% exertion) there is no increase in lactic acid in your milk. Most moms are not (hopefully!) returning to strenuous exercise right away anyways.
If your baby is turned off after you have worked out, make sure to wash off your breasts, armpits, change your bra, and change clothes or shower.
Try to nurse right before you exercise, so you have a little bit of time afterwards to clean up.
3. Are There Workouts I Can Not Do Because I Am Breastfeeding?
No! There is no reason, once you are ready to resume exercising postpartum, that you can not do any exercise you want to do.
Just remember it will take some time to build up your strength and endurance you had before you got pregnant, so be patient with yourself and your body.
4. Do You Have To Wait 6 Weeks To Resume Exercise? When Did You Start Exercising Again?
No! I personally began exercising around 3 weeks.
I had a natural, vaginal delivery with no complications and felt ready to get back at my workouts quickly. I was active throughout my whole pregnancy and began resuming workouts around 3 weeks. Do not get me wrong, it was “hard”, but it felt right for me.
If you have had a c-section or had heavy ripping, you definitely want to talk to your doctor before beginning to do anything more than going for light walks and stretching. For some moms this is 6-8 weeks postpartum, even longer for some.
However, if you had a uncomplicated vaginal delivery and you are comfortable with listening to your body and knowing your body’s needs, there is no evidence that says you cannot start exercising sooner.
If your bleeding has stopped and you are ready to workout, do so cautiously. If you begin bleeding again, take a break until bleeding stops again. Again, remember to take it lightly in the beginning.
So before you blame your workouts on your milk supply dropping, or before you decide you are not going to exercise while nursing, remember there are a lot of other factors that go into your milk supply.
Really make sure you are staying plenty hydrated and eating adequate healthy calories. This is “so” important!
There are a lot of benefits to you as a new mom to begin exercising again!