Exercise and breastfeeding; Can you? Should you? Experts agree that gentle exercise can be hugely beneficial for mothers, especially those recovering from birth and getting to grips with #mumlife.
Many breastfeeding mums may worry about their milk supply and the impact of working out. The Australian Breastfeeding Association states that mild to moderate exercise does not affect:
The thing is, thinking about exercise and actually managing to do some exercise however are two very different things, and adding breastfeeding into the equation can make things a bit daunting, especially in the early days.
Here, Personal Trainer, pre and postnatal exercise expert and founder of Miracle Months Libby Nuttall shares her tips and advice on how to safely and successfully return to exercise while breastfeeding.
All mamas should wait for their 6 week postnatal check up and speak to their Doctor or Obstetrician regarding any concerns, especially after a complicated delivery.
Don't rush back into high intensity exercise, allow your body to ease back into everything. You need to discover what works for you, but easing into exercise is advisable for everyone, even if you exercised right through your pregnancy. If you find noticeable changes in your milk supply or baby when introducing exercise, cut back and return gradually.
As a new mum, you may be sleep deprived and lethargic. You are also using more energy each day just by breastfeeding. Don’t forget, your supply can be affected by your lethargy, so don’t push it. It’s crucial that you are providing your body with the nourishment it needs, that is, good quality food and snacks (Lactation Cookies can be an excellent option to have in the pantry), sleep and water, so you have the energy to exercise as well as produce milk.
In the early months, I find two to three days of exercise followed by a rest day is a good way to maintain and refill those energy stores.
Invest in a really supportive sports bra. Whether it be a breastfeeding bra or not, it needs to support your breasts so you can run with ease. Many women say their biggest challenge to overcome when it comes to exercise after baby is figuring out how to manage their breasts, so it’s invaluable to invest well and most of all, make sure it is correctly fitted.
Try to feed your baby before you exercise. This will not only mean your baby isn't subjected to a sweaty, salty nipple, but will mean you're not as full while you're working out. It can also alleviate any concerns about lactic acid build up.
Before you leave for your session, insert fresh nursing pads into your bra to prevent a mid-workout leak!
Libby Nuttall is a women’s personal trainer in the Macedon Ranges. When she’s not hanging with her two sons, husband and Weimaraner (a.k.a; the boys), she is running high intensity fitness classes, volunteering as the President of the local playgroup, or working on her range of online, pre and post natal wellness programs, Miracle Months.
Find Libby at the Miracle Months website
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