Exercising While Breastfeeding – Is It Safe?
Right after delivering your baby, you may be dying to get back to your pre-pregnancy fitness routine to lose all the extra weight you’ve put on in the last nine months and get back your toned look. However, you’re also breastfeeding your little one, and you might have doubts about what effects exercise can have on your milk supply or breastfeeding routine.
Can You Work Out While Breastfeeding?
The answer to ‘Can I exercise while breastfeeding’ is quite simply – yes. Exercise is something which is necessary to maintain your good health, and you should certainly keep fit when you are breastfeeding. What you can keep a check on is the intensity of your workouts. Since your bone density might change during pregnancy, weight exercises will help you build that up and maintain it again.
Benefits of Exercising While Nursing
Moderate to light exercise will do wonders for a new mother’s health and emotional well-being. There are many benefits of exercising during the months you are breastfeeding your baby. Some of them are:
- A feeling of health and lightness from more energy and less stress
- Better insulin response and blood lipid profiles
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Reduced symptoms of depression in case of disorders like post-natal depression
Does Exercising During Breastfeeding Affect the Milk Supply?
The answer is no. Working out will not affect your milk supply if you are breastfeeding your baby. As exercise affects lactic acid levels in breast milk according to some studies, the taste of your milk may slightly change if you work out intensively. So it is always better to stick to a moderate level of exercise. Also, babies of mothers who exercise regularly grow the same as babies of mothers who do not, so it is safe to say that breast milk is healthy regardless of whether or not you work out.
Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers While Performing Exercises
To go about exercising and getting back into a workout plan post your pregnancy, here are a few tips on workouts for breastfeeding moms:
1. Get At Least 1800 Calories Per Day
You can lose weight while you’re breastfeeding, but it has to be accompanied by a nutritious and safe diet. You need to consume 1800 calories per day for that. Not getting that many calories will make you rapidly lose weight leading to less milk supply, vitamins, and nutrients in your system.
2. Begin with Low-Intensity Workouts
In the first few weeks post-delivery, spend all your time caring for your baby, getting sleep in between and drinking lots of water. Once you have set a rhythm and have recovered sufficiently (after two months), you can talk to your doctor and start with a moderate exercise regime, gradually increasing the intensity each week.
3. Keep Away from Rapid Weight Loss
If you end up burning fat too rapidly, then this can cause the fat-soluble toxins present in your body to enter your breast milk, which is harmful to your baby. Avoid losing weight quickly with a diet which is high in calories and nutrients.
4. Drink Water
If you are exercising while breastfeeding, don’t forget to drink lots of water before and after your workouts to stay hydrated.
5. Breastfeed or Pump Your Breast Milk Pre-workout
You might find exercising uncomfortable if your breasts are full of milk. Try breastfeeding your baby or pumping your milk before you exercise.
6. Wear a High-Impact, Supportive Bra
Since pregnancy and breastfeeding cause your breasts to grow bigger and change physically, your old exercise bras may not be suitable for you anymore. Try getting a nursing sports bra with flaps that can open when you need to breastfeed your baby or a high-impact bra with adjustable straps that can help you get maximum movement while keeping heed of your breast size.
7. Always Take Your Bra Off Post-workout
Tight fitting bras can negatively affect your breasts if they are filled with milk and can sometimes lead to mastitis.
8. Don’t Worry About More Exercise
Vigorous exercise does increase lactic acid in your breast milk, altering the taste but it disappears very quickly and does not make breast milk unhealthy in any way.
9. Take a Shower
After you exercise, always take a shower before breastfeeding as your sweat will bother your baby.
10. Don’t Overdo Weights
Lifting weights regularly or doing exercises which involve constant arm movement might lead to plugging of ducts in your breast. If that happens, stop working out and resume slowly at a later time.
Exercise for nursing mothers is perfectly alright as long as you follow the above tips and never overstrain your body. Your little one’s health is far more important!
Also Read: Feeling Tired While Breastfeeding