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Inside: If you just had a baby, you might be wondering about working out and if it’s ok or not. Here are 10 Things You Need to Know About Breastfeeding and Exercising.
If you’re looking for breastfeeding support, they you’ll find lots of help here!
10 Things You Need to Know About Breastfeeding and Exercise
If you just had a baby, I’m sure you’re excited and eager to get back into your old clothes.
You might be feeling like you can’t wait to exercise and feel like yourself again. There’s nothing wrong with that!
As long as you’ve gotten the all clear from your health care provider, then there’s no reason you can’t enjoy breastfeeding and exercise.
However, there are a few things to consider before getting started. Let’s take a look at how breastfeeding and exercise can both be done successfully and answer any questions you have in the meantime.
Does Exercising Affect the Baby?
The good news is, exercising while breastfeeding does not affect the baby.
Actually, since exercising contributes to your overall health, you’ll feel better and you’ll be much more fit for taking care of your baby.
If your baby is content, and seems fine, then don’t worry about breastfeeding and exercise at all. The truth is, your baby is the best gauge for whether or not what you’re doing is affecting him.
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Breastfeeding and Menstruation
Related: Have You Heard of the Breastfeeding Bracelet?
Does Exercising Affect the Milk?
There’s really no evidence that exercising while breastfeeding affects your milk. In fact, some studies even hint that your breastmilk supply increases slightly after exercising.
Nothing significant changes in the makeup of the breast milk after exercising. There was an an old study published in 1997, suggesting that high amounts of lactic acid were found in breast milk after exercising and that the baby might find the flavor of breastmilk unappealing. But later research suggests that that’s not true.
So, it’s ok to assume that exercising doesn’t affect your breastmilk.
Make Sure to Get Enough Calories
When a woman is breastfeeding she needs to consume extra calories.
When adding the extra stress of exercising to the body, it’s very important to add more calories in addition to those a woman already needs due to breastfeeding.
Have an extra healthy snack at some point during the day to make up for the burned energy. Make sure to listen to any questions your body gives you regarding calorie intake.
Basically, when boiled down:
If you’re hungry, eat!
Drink Enough Water
Of course exercise will deplete your water reserves, so in order to not become dehydrated while breastfeeding and exercising you’ll need to make sure you drink enough water.
Water will help keep your breast milk supply up.
If your body uses up your water reserves, you might not have enough to make a sufficient amount of breast-milk.
When you’re nursing, making sure to drink enough water is a good idea anyway, whether or not you’re exercising.
- Drink two to three extra glasses of water to make sure you don’t become dehydrated while breastfeeding and working out.
Work Out After Nursing
There are various reasons why it’s good to workout after nursing, but the biggest reason is because empty breasts don’t weigh as much! (Simple enough, right??!)
Try to plan your workout simultaneously with breastfeeding.
If you can nurse your baby and then lay him down for a nap, you might find exercise more enjoyable.
Be sure to wear a supportive sports bra.
Take it Easy
Don’t feel like you have to force yourself to extreme limits when you exercise.
Your postpartum body might not work the same as it did before having a baby. (With the proper exercise routine, you will get there, it just might take a while!)
If you’re exercising regularly, you’ll regain your strength, but for now don’t push yourself.
Do a little at a time and expect interruptions as well.
Having a baby makes everything just a little bit more difficult, so if you take it easy while you exercise, you are less likely to get discouraged.
And be patient with your baby! He might have a different schedule in mind! I’ve had many times where I’ve planned to workout during a nap and the baby thinks it would be more fun to play with me instead! 🙂
Related: Which Breastfeeding Support Pillow is Best for You?
Related: Top Breastfeeding Coverups You’ll Want to Have
Consider Low Impact Workouts
If you find breastfeeding and exercise to be too difficult, then consider doing something easy like walking.
You can always put your baby in the stroller and take a brisk walk around the neighborhood or your local mall.
Exercise doesn’t have to be high impact to be effective. And besides, just getting out to see something other than your own four walls is sometimes enough to make you feel like you worked out!
Your Baby Might Not Like the Taste
Your baby might be resistant to nurse after you exercise but it might not be the milk flavor he’s protesting.
Now don’t be offended, but I’m just gonna say it straight:
Take a shower before you nurse!
The salty taste of sweat might be turning him off. Hop in the shower quickly before breastfeeding and your baby will thank you!
Wear Your Baby
Consider wearing your baby while you exercise.
A breastfed baby doesn’t usually like to be too far from his mommy, anyway, so wearing him will provide extra comfort while you work out.
Additionally, the extra weight of the baby will help make your work out a little bit more productive.
This is my all-time favorite baby carrier.
Make Sure You Have the Right Goal
As nice as it is to drop all of your baby weight as quickly as possible, that should not be your goal.
Your goal really needs to be:
To be in shape and feel good no matter what your weight or figure look like.
Don’t pressure yourself into feeling like you need to get down to a certain weight as fast as you can.
You have time!
There’s no reason why breastfeeding and exercise can’t go hand-in-hand.
As long as you’re healthy and have had an all clear from your healthcare provider, there’s no reason not to work out just because you’re breastfeeding.
Of course, if you have any questions talk to your doctor or midwife about a plan that is best for you.
Side Note: If you decide that breastfeeding and exercise are not for you, just remember that your postpartum body is beautiful as it is. Don’t worry about fitting into a pair of skinny jeans. Just remember the wonderful blessing of your baby and the amazing work your body just did to get him into this world!
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