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.