Time and time again we see woman hitting the pavement with bras that offer zero support. When they start moving they are lucky that they don’t lose an eye as there is so much action going on under the top....so why do they invest in other things and not in supporting the girls when they run or even walk 🤷♀️
Unlike other muscles in the body, once the supportive tissues in the breasts stretch, they cannot revert back to their original position. However avoiding irreversible sagging is easier than it sounds.
Norris and her colleagues have found that breasts move in a figure eight pattern. Not just up and down—that vertical movement is what most runners think of—but side to side and forward and backward as well. “[Breast is] just a mass of tissue, not a muscle,” Norris says. “It is not rigid structure. It can move in all three dimensions when we run.” And it does.
When you add all that movement in three planes together, Norris says, breasts—unsupported—move about 15 centimeters during running. (Different labs report different numbers, depending on the cup size of the cohort they’re testing.) About 50 percent of the movement is in the vertical, and then 25 percent is side to side movement, and the other 25 percent is anterior-posterior motion.
Portsmouth University’s Research Group in Breast Health (RGBH) calculated that the breasts can move 15cm during a run.
“According to the NHS website, research suggests 70% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. What’s more, as the breasts are composed of fat and fibrous tissues, as you eat better and exercise more, your breasts may decrease in size, meaning your sports bra might not be supporting them as well as it once did. Your sports bra also loses it's support overtime, with experts recommending you change it after 30-40 washes.....
Comfort and support are foremost but also Is Breathability.
To keep you cool when you start sweating, most sports bras are made from blends of moisture-wicking fabrics. Materials like nylon, spandex, and polyester fare better than standard cotton, which gets heavy and takes a while to dry. Plus, many brands have even implemented ionized and UPF fabrics for odor control and UV-ray sun protection. Outside of fabrics, keep an eye out for bras with mesh panels or keyhole cutouts. These features do a great job at ventilating sweat to keep you cool and comfortable. At MUMMACTIV we get specific fabric that is moisture wicking, breathable, quick dry, 4 way stretch and is a nylon/spandex combo making them a great choice.
Did you also know that in a 2014 study showed running beats walking for breast cancer survival rates....(An interesting finding) Vigorous exercise was better than moderate exercise for the women in the study. Breastfeeding also reduces her risk of breast cancer by 4.3% for every 12 months a woman breastfed.The study compared mothers who breastfed to those who didn't. (Study conducted by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer)
All the more reason to hit the road—with a good bra, of course.
A breast pump becomes an accessory for every breastfeeding Mum. Many new Mums are often left confused/unsure as to what to look for and that is after you navigate the mindfield of terminology and gadgets. So lets break down some information relating to breast pumps to give you the best start of where to look.
Pumping can have a way of making us human mamas feel a little like milk machines.
Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed (often referred to as "EBF"), it is helpful to have a breast pump on hand. Why? It can help to increase your milk supply, especially in those early days. Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, so pumping for a few minutes after nursing or adding in a pumping session an hour or so after baby finished can up your supply. Some woman have attachment issues or their newborn has difficulty feeding, or they are placed in a neonatal unit so it becomes necessary for the Mum to pump to generate a supply.
Having some expressed breastmilk on hand can also mean that someone else can do the feed giving Mum a break through the night or alternative an escape during the day- a breast pump gives you the freedom to do so.
Of course, if you’re planning on breastfeeding after returning to work, you’ll want a breast pump so you can keep your supply up, have a stash in your home freezer and relieve engorgement when you’re at the office.
There are basically four types of breast pumps:
- Double-electric breast pumps: These powerful electric models let you pump both breasts at once, important if speed is a concern.
- Single-electric breast pumps: You’ll only be able to pump one breast at a time, which can take longer. On the plus side, these cost less than a double-electric pump.
- Battery-operated breast pumps: These can be slower and run through batteries pretty quickly. The advantage of a battery-operated pump is that they're portable and helpful if you don’t have access to an electrical outlet (such as when you’re commuting to work or traveling).
- Manual breast pumps: These are lightweight, portable and inexpensive. The downside? You'll be doing a lot of the work yourself and you may not get as much milk as a result.
So the decision then comes down to answering these questions in relation to the pump and financial outlay:
- Manual vs electric
- How many hours a week do you think you'll be pumping?
- Will you be pumping occasionally or regularly, short-term or long-term?
- Quality versus price
- Suction and speed control
- Product support and Warranties
- Nipple Size
- Ease of cleaning
Here are a few options to consider:
Best Breast Pump Overall: Medela Pump in Style Advanced
Most Efficient Breast Pump: Spectra S1 Plus Hospital Strength Breast Pump
Best Budget-Friendly Breast Pump: BellaBaby Double Electric Breast Pump
Best Breast Pump for Travel: Medela Freestyle Flex
Most Comfortable Breast Pump: Philips Avent Comfort
Best Single-Electric Breast Pump: Nuk Expressive
Best Manual Breast Pump: Lansinoh Manual
Best Hands-Free Breast Pump: Willow Wearable Breast Pump
Best Breast Pump for EBF Moms: Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump
Quietest Breast Pump: Spectra S2
For a sleep deprived mother coffee becomes life...
The caffeine helps to get through the sleep deprived days. So the question often gets asked how much coffee is too much for the breastfeeding mum.
Statistics show that nearly half (46%) of Australian’s drink coffee and that having children increased the weekly coffee consumption by 2.4 cups (7.2 v 9.6 cups per week).
Most breastfeeding mothers can consume a moderate amount of caffeine (eg a few cups of coffee or tea each day) without it affecting their babies. Caffeine does transfer to breast milk but in very low concentrations (0.06%-1.5% of 300mg of caffeine) Newborn babies however can be particularly sensitive to caffeine. This is because it can take a newborn baby a long time (ie half-life of 50–100 hours) to process caffeine. By 3–4 months, however, it takes a baby only about 3–7 hours. (According to ASN)
Caffeine content in common drinks and food1,2
Caffeine level (mg)
145 mg/50 mL shot
Formulated caffeinated drinks / ‘Energy’ Drinks
up to 80 mg/250 mL can
Instant coffee (1 teaspoon/cup)
60–80 mg/250mL cup
10–50 mg/250mL cup
up to 54 mg/375 mL cup
20 mg/100 g bar
Tips to combine breastfeeding and coffee:
- Pre term or ill infants may experience larger issues with metabolizing caffeine, you may want to limit caffeine intake during these times.
- Studies have shown that ingesting less than 300mg/day of caffeine should not cause issues for infants. Be wary of what products contain caffeine, so you can track how much you have consumed.
- If caffeine affects your sleep, try not drinking any coffee after 2pm. Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing.
- If you find caffeine intake effects your little one, but still need one, try having a coffee as soon as you breastfeed. This gives you the largest amount of time to process the caffeine before feeding again as peak levels occur about 60-120 mins after consumption.
- If caffeine does have an effect on your child, try giving it a few weeks/months and trying again. The half life (time it takes for the body to get rid of half the dose) reduces significantly with age ( eg 97.5 hours for infants- 2.6 hours at 6 + months).
So the take away is you can still enjoy a cuppa but just be mindful of how much you are ingesting.
Many woman struggle in the first few weeks/months of breastfeeding until they establish their supply and/or get the hang of it. A number of lactating woman also feel that they are not producing enough in order to meet the demands of a newborn baby. This can often be the thought due to having a screaming baby, one that keeps searching for a suck, poor weight gain etc, not thriving etc etc.
Here are a few tips to maybe get things flowing:
- Allow lots of sucking:Breastmilk is produced on demand, and the sucking stimulates your body thinking there is more demand for milk.
- Pump between feeds: This will also trigger the supply-and-demand cycle in your body to produce more milk.
- Lots of skin to skin contact: This will release a hormone called prolactin. Prolactin stimulates oxytocin (the feel good hormone). Both prolactin and oxytocin can help stimulate breast milk production.
- Drink more water: to avoid dehydration. Institute of Medicine recommends arounds 3.1 L compared to 2.2 L in non breastfeeding mothers.(This changes according to activity levels/environmental needs etc)
- Manage stress when possible: Outsource tasks if they are becoming too overwhelming. Listen to relaxing music during nursing sessions.
- Empty breasts during feeding: The more milk that is removed the more you will make.
- Consider fenugreek tea: Fenugreek is one of a few herbs that has data to support its use as a galactagogue (substance to help increase milk supply).
- Make sure you are getting the additional 500 calories (a day) to help aid the increase in nutritional demands.
For further assistance see your local Lactation consultant or call the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
Spicy food is one of those general words that gets thrown around when a Mum is breastfeeding and her baby is unsettled. Many then ask should I avoid the spice while breastfeeding? Here is what we found...
It’s fine to eat spicy food while you're breastfeeding. Traces of what you eat enter your milk, but it shouldn't unsettle your baby if you eat spicy food. In fact, it may benefit your baby. ... If your breastfed baby seems upset or irritable, you could try eating a milder diet to see if makes a difference.
Generally, the dominant flavors of your diet – whether soy sauce or chili peppers – were in your amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Fetuses swallow a fair amount of amniotic fluid before birth, so when they taste those flavors again in their mother's breast milk, they're already accustomed to them.
“Nursing moms don't need to be scared of spicy foods, says Paula Meier, Ph.D, director for clinical research and lactation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and president of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation.
By the time the baby is breastfeeding, Dr. Meier says, she is accustomed to the flavors Mom eats. "If a mother has eaten a whole array of different foods during pregnancy, that changes the taste and smell of amniotic fluid that the baby is exposed to and is smelling in utero," she says. "And, basically, the breastfeeding is the next step going from the amniotic fluid into the breast milk."
In fact, some items that mothers choose to avoid while breastfeeding, such as spices and spicy foods, are actually enticing to babies. In the early '90s, researchers Julie Mennella and Gary Beauchamp performed a study in which mothers breastfeeding their babies were given a garlic pill while others were given a placebo. The babies nursed longer, sucked harder, and drank more garlic-scented milk than those who had no garlic exposure.
Moms will restrict their diet if they suspect a correlation between something they ate and the child's behavior — gassy, cranky, etc. But while that cause-and-effect might seem enough for a mom, Dr. Meier says she would want to see more direct evidence before making any diagnosis.
"To truly say that a baby had something that was milk-related, I would want to see issues with the stools not being normal. It's very, very rare that a baby would have something that would truly be a contraindication to the mother's breastfeeding.”
Support in bras is oh so important.
Did you know:
That a pair of D-cup boobs weigh in at 7 to 10kg. “That’s more than enough to pull your trunk forward, force you into a hunched-over running posture, decrease your stride’s efficiency, and up your risk of injury,” McGhee says.
If you haven’t noticed, pretty much the only thing keeping your breasts up during a run is your bra’s shoulder straps, which take a lot of weight. When straps are thin, the pressure can be so great they not only leave dents in your shoulders but hit the brachial plexus nerve group, causing numbness in the pinky fingers.
We recommend a razor back or full back and should support for high-intensity exercise.
How much your boobs bounce depends almost entirely on breast size and elasticity of the skin covering your breasts, McGhee says. However, skin tends to lose its elasticity with age and “excessive breast bouncing.” So, the more your breasts bounce, the more they will bounce during future runs. Add in breastfeeding or post breastfeeding and your lady friends could be dragging on thin ice mid run….
How much do breasts bounce? Measuring the bounce of both bare and bra-covered breasts during treadmill workouts, McGhee found the average 38D moves about 13cm from top to bottom during running. Smaller breasts bounce about 7.5cm, which can still be uncomfortable. And breasts don't just bounce in an up and down motion; some larger breasts bounce in figure-eight shapes.
While they can’t completely eliminate bouncing, high-support sports bras can cut the range of motion in half (approximately), McGhee says. The goal is for the breasts to move in unison with your torso and not bounce independently of one another.
During pregnancy there is evermore of a concern. When you're pregnant, your body has very high levels of oestrogen and progesterone, hormones that stimulate your breasts' milk glands and milk ducts, respectively. The result of all this can be a big change in bra size, but growth usually slows or stops at the end of the first trimester. No special foods, massages, exercises, or creams affect breast growth during pregnancy, so spend your money on a good supportive bra instead.
Kirsty Palmer is a Personal Trainer and Nutrition coach. She also balances this with her beautiful 9 month old little boy.
Her passion is helping others and if you follow her on social media you will see she has quite an army of woman who are inspired by her greatness.
“Seeing the change in someone throughout their fitness journey is incredible. Not just physically, but also emotionally. They have become more confident, more optimistic, healthier and stronger in all aspects of their life.
Working with all different skill sets and fitness levels I am always working for my clients. Doing everything I can to teach them how to live and love a healthier life.
My aim is to encourage many females to love their body - feel confident in their own skin - and to enjoy the life they have by moving their body daily and feeling their body with nourishing foods!”
She is Owner and Personal Trainer of Kirsty Palmer Fitness, has coached at Team Des Fitness In Birmingham UK as well as being the author of 2 Exercise Ebooks based for gym and at home workouts.
We caught up with her recently to discuss all things pregnancy and beyond:
1.How did your exercise regime change in your pregnancy?
My weights dropped and reps increased.
I had to ensure my heart rate didn't over work through the roof like normal, so listening to my body whilst training and not pushing like crazy was a must!
I was also so tired so some days I listened to my body and had a rest day instead of working out. Don't beat yourself up, its only a season!
2.If there was a change, why? Energy, not sure about what to do etc
My energy levels were so up and down throughout my pregnancy, some days I woke up and felt like I could run a marathon and others I just wanted to sleep. Pregnancy really taught me to listen to my body and rest when I needed to.
3.What exercises did you do in your pregnancy?
Exactly what I was doing pre pregnancy as that is what my body was use to. I preferred going on the stationary bike than walking. And did mini resistance/body weighted circuits when my energy levels where high! my aim was to try move my body daily, even if it was a walk around the block, just to get outdoors and be in the fresh air!
4.Number one top training tip for mums to be?
Don't start exercising crazy and doing different movements if your body is not use to it or you have never done it before just because you want to be healthy as you have found out you are pregnant.
If you want to exercise start with walking And light cycling on the bike. Remember the stress from exercise you go through your baby does to.
5.Did you breastfeed?
Yes, and still breastfeeding - 9 months in and going strong.
6.If so, do you think your active pursuits effected your supply?
Ive never had a crazily high supply from the beginning, it's always been just enough. So I had to ease my way back into exercise and still to this day I manage 3-4 sessions per week and I am okay still to this day.
7.How did you balance feeding and exercise?? - tips
Sometimes I don't know half the things I have been able to balance out. Especially being a single mum. But for me exercise makes me feel better, and I honestly can't live without it. Its been my form of me time. I have been demand feeding from day one so once I feed Elijah I know I have a good hour to workout from home, or even when he sleeps, I do a quick workout. Every day is different. So I just go with the flow and how I am feeling!
Head to www.kirstypalmer.com to find out more about this inspiring mumma.
While you are breastfeeding you should drink extra water, but you don’t need to overdo it. Hydration while breastfeeding should follow the commonsense “in and out” principles of hydration: If you use more fluid, you must take more in.
“Lactation involves specific physiological responses of the mother and requires both an increased supply of nutrients and water (IoM, 1991).
Breast milk contains, on average, 87% water (EFSA, 2010), water content varies depending on the time of day. During a single breastfeeding episode, foremilk (the milk obtained at the beginning of breastfeeding) has higher water content and keeps the infant hydrated, whereas hindmilk (milk released near the end of breastfeeding) contains two to three times more fat than foremilk (Riordan and Wambach, 2009).
Since breast milk is produced using maternal body water, a milk volume of 750 mL/d at 87% of water equals a significant extra water loss for the mother, compared to the daily normal losses. Maintaining water balance can therefore be challenging for lactating women.”
Surprisingly enough if you consume more water your breast milk production does not necessarily increase(like my mother told me) instead the maternal health suffers and becomes at risk of dehydration.
Here’s how to get the right amount of water to maintain hydration while breastfeeding:
- Drink enough water to quench your thirst plus a bit more, since thirst is not a completely reliable indicator of fluid needs.
- Carry a water bottle with you in your diaper bag like this one from @realactivemovement
I get in the habit of drinking a glass of water every time I breastfeed, plus a couple more each day. Try to keep with the principle of when baby drinks, mother drinks. Mums who train also need more water due to replacing the extra bit from sweating it out as well!
Nearly 1 in 5 breastfeedingwomen are affected by mastitis. In these cases, it usually develops in the first three months after giving birth.
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is usually the result of a blocked milk duct that hasn't cleared. Some of the milk banked up behind the blocked duct can be forced into nearby breast tissue, causing the tissue to become inflamed. The inflammation is called mastitis. Infection may or may not be present.
If you think you have mastitis, see your medical adviser. There can be infectious and non-infectious mastitis.
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms of mastitis can make you feel as if you are getting the flu. You may begin to get shivers and aches.
Some mothers who do not have any early signs of a blocked duct get mastitis 'out of the blue'.
The breast will be sore like it is with a blocked duct, only worse. It is usually red and swollen, hot and painful. The skin may be shiny and there may be red streaks. You will feel ill. It is common for the ill feeling to come on very quickly.
- Poor attachment to the breast
- Nipple damage
- A long break between breastfeeds
- Breasts that are too full
- Blocked milk ducts
- Stopping breastfeeding too quickly
- Overly tight bra
- A baby with tongue-tie who is having problems attaching to the breast
It is important to start treatment at the first signs of mastitis.
- Continue to breastfeed or express from the affected breast.
- Place a heat pack or warm cloths on the sore area before feeding or expressing to help with your milk flow.
- Gently massage any breast lumps towards the nipple when feeding or expressing or when in the shower or bath.
- Continue to breastfeed or express your sore breast until it feels more comfortable.
- Place a cool pack, such as a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth, on the breast after feeding or expressing for a few minutes to reduce discomfort.
- You can take tablets for the pain such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. They are safe to take while breastfeeding.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day (up to 8 glasses).
- Rest as much as possible.
- If you don’t start to feel better after a few hours, you should see a doctor as soon as you can.
- If antibiotics are prescribed by your doctor, take as directed. It is safe to continue to breastfeed when taking these antibiotics.
Info from www.thewomens.org.au and ABA
Contrary to some opinions, working out as a breastfeeding mother does not affect milk supply. There are studies that show that the taste of your milk may change due to lactic acid levels in breast milk after vigorous exercise. But don’t worry – this does not make the baby unwilling to breastfeed and it’s not harmful for baby! Lactic acid disappears quickly from breast milk, even after a strenuous workout.
But, keep in mind you’re probably safest with a workout plan involving moderate activity. Research has shown that exclusively breastfed babies of mums who regularly exercise grow at the same rate as mums with a more sedentary lifestyle, which means breast milk is nutritional whether you work out or not. Remember that your body also has to work to make breast milk in the first place, which burns calories—an extra 400-500 calories a day on top of that. Making up those extra calories with healthy snacks in general, and even more so if you happen to be working out.
Studies have shown that exercise and breastfeeding can be combined without affecting milk supply. La Leche League International suggests the following when exercising while breastfeeding:
- Wait until the baby is at least six weeks old or more.
- Start the exercise slowly and gradually.
- Be sure to consume liquids to replace those lost by sweating.
- Some kinds of exercise can be done with baby.
- Walking briskly, mild aerobic exercises, and water exercises are ideal in the beginning.
- Other good exercises for later on are swimming
〰️That hydration is key when you’re exercising as a breastfeeding mum. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts.
〰️Consider getting a supportive high-impact bra as your breasts may change significantly from pregnancy to post-pregnancy and through breastfeeding and your old sports bras might not do the trick anymore. A bra with adjustable straps will help accommodate the changing size of your breasts throughout your journey. You can also try investing in one of our nursing sports bras that have easy flaps that open when you need to breastfeed or pump.
〰️Pumping or feeding before an exercise class will also help to keep the size in check.
Nursing or Breastfeeding is hard enough without having to coordinate the juggle of stripping clothes off or trying to hold up the top to access the breast. How exactly do you dress to make breastfeeding easy while still feeling confident about how you look?
Many new mums find themselves struggling to find clothes that make them look and feel good, but also allow easy access to breastfeed or pump. Luckily, nursing clothes have come a long way. That is why we put our creative juices into action so that you can find pieces you love to wear that are fully functional.
When you are sweaty from a gym class or exercising in public the last thing you want to do is try to wrestle with a normal crop whilst trying to appease the screaming/hungry baby.
The breastfeeding or nursing crops are designed for a one hand easy drop down action to allow for you to easy access the breast. The inner modesty panel allows for some coverage of the breast if feeding in public so that there is little need to cover yourself and the baby. Once the baby is attached to the breast the appearance is the same as if you are wearing a normal crop.
Our nursing crops are also designed with a larger/sturdier underband to offer more support. The engineering of a supportive crop requires anchor points as well as the straps to harness/reign in the breasts or secure them. By having a band that is just large enough to offer a decent anchor point though not too big to make it impossible to get out of is our mission. As each collection is launched we try to offer a different aspect as we know that everyone is different some people have big breasts and a small rib cage or small breasts and a large back. We also know that each woman changes during the pregnancy and postnatal period so we are endeavouring to offer a big range of choices. With the new NAUTICAL nursing crop the back adjusts up to 3 sizes and the straps also adjust allowing for changes in the body to occur without having to purchase a new crop.
The breast size also changes when you are breastfeeding. Up until about the three month mark the breasts are quite engorged whilst the milk supply is establishing itself. Also before and after a breastfeed the size of the breast; as well as the shape changes. To allow for these changes the crops come with removable breast pads. By taking them out there is more space for the breast allowing for that slight difference.
An individuals activity or exercise choice also affects their choice in what they want from a crop. For our runners they prefer the sweetheart crop which offers more support and coverage with the razor back design, our yoga/pilates and weightlifting Mummas prefer the String It nursing crop whilst the Mums who like a little bit of everything go for the Nautical.
As you can see the science to designing a fashionable and functional nursing or breastfeeding crop is not so simple. The breasts are an ever evolving part of our bodies that changes with puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding and after- MUMMACTIV’s mission has always been to provide fashionable and functional activewear to keep Mums stylishly active no matter what stage they are at.