The Truth About Exercising Whilst Breastfeeding

exercising while breast feeding

Pregnancy is an experience many women love, and others hate.

From gaining weight to being uncomfortable and suffering from side effects and complications, pregnancy really is like Marmite.

One of the biggest complaints from pregnant women is the amount of weight they gain. Not only from growing a baby inside of you for 9 months but also from eating for two and experiencing some wild and wonderful cravings.

During this time, most doctors will advise you that gaining weight is completely normal and tell you that this is all part of the natural process. Ensuring that your baby is a healthy one is one of the most important things and your weight should only be contemplated after you’ve given birth.

After birth, many new mums are eager to lose the weight which they have gained and want to do so as quickly as possible. As with all weight-loss techniques, the best solution is exercising and eating well but does this change for women who are exercising whilst breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding naturally burns around 300-400 calories a day, because your body is constantly working hard to produce milk for your little one. However, breastfeeding won’t rid of the weight all by itself and you may need to partake in some exercise and alter your diet to shift the baby weight.

But this raises many questions about what’s safe for new mums and how this will affect their milk supply.

Not only can moderate exercise improve a mother’s health, but it also has a positive effect on their emotional well-being, giving them some quality time to be alone and get some much needed ‘me’ time.

At Boobuddy we reviewed the effects and safeness of exercising whilst breastfeeding and answered some questions that may be on your mind.

Is Exercising whilst Breastfeeding Safe?

exercising while breast feeding

The biggest question women ask when thinking about exercising when breastfeeding is, is it safe? And the answer is yes.

There is no evidence that moderate exercise is anything but beneficial for nursing mothers, so rest assured that all is OK.

It Won’t Affect Your Milk Supply

Exercising does a lot to your body but one thing it does not affect is the milk supply you naturally produce.

The amount of milk you produce and the quality of this milk will not be affected by exercise, no matter how much you exercise.  

Exercising Won’t Affect the Taste of Your Milk

exercising while breast feeding

Another myth is that exercising affects the taste of your milk which will ultimately deter your baby from feeding.

Again, this is an old wife’s tale and completely untrue. The only taste difference will come immediately after exercising and you haven’t showered yet.

The sweat will leave a naturally salty taste on the breast and surrounding skin which your baby may not like. So quickly rinse off your breasts or if you don’t have the time or have a particularly hungry baby kicking up a fuss, just give your breasts a quick wipe to remove any sweat residue.

This may only be applicable for some babies, as some might not mind the slight change in taste.

Nutritional Value Won’t Be Affected

Research has highlighted that exercise does not affect the nutritional values of a mother’s milk.

Gradual weight loss in new mothers has no adverse effect on milk volume or composition, that is providing that the mother is not undernourished and is breastfeeding her infant on demand.

This means that you can exercise with the peace of mind that your baby is getting the same great nutrients from your breast milk as they would be if you weren’t exercising.

Will Your Baby refuse the Breast after Exercise?

There have been many research projects that focus on the acceptance of the breast after mums have been exercising, including those who have been exercising at maximum intensity.

A recent study highlighted that there was no change in infants’ acceptable of their mother’s milk an hour after exercise.

If your baby is refusing the breast after exercise, it may be because they are distracted by something else, are put off by the salty taste produced by sweat as mentioned above or don’t quite like the increased lactic acid levels.

If this is the case, delay feeding for another 30 minutes until the lactic acid levels come back down and give your breasts a quick wipe or wash to remove any sweat.

Aside from this, there is no reason why your baby should refuse the breast following exercise.

Involving the Baby During Exercise

Sometimes, it can be nice to use exercising as a bit of ‘you’ time. Giving you an hour away from the baby to clear your head, do something for you and just have a break.

However, if this isn’t possible, then exercising with your baby can be a great addition to your workout and can result in some amazing bonding time for both mother and baby.  

Place your baby in a sling whilst you’re doing the housework, have a little dance or take daily walks, where you can powerwalk or even run with a pushchair.

There are furthermore a lot of great mum and baby fitness classes so have a look what’s available in your local area.

Does lactic acid increase after exercise?

exercising while breast feeding

There has been no research that shows that lactic acid increases in breastmilk of mothers who exercise at a moderate level.

Moderate exercise is considered to be between 50% & 75% intensity, however, with 100% intensity, the lactic acid in breastmilk does increase. This is called exhaustive exercise and the increase in lactic acid is present for around 90-minutes post-exercise but it will go back down again.

There are no known harmful effects for the baby after drinking breastmilk with increased lactic acid, so it is completely up to you whether you want to feed after intense exercise.

Many mums like to pump their milk before exercising or feed before they head out to work out, but it is completely up to you and will not affect your baby.

Exercise Guidelines for New Mums

exercising while breast feeding

We know that many new mums will want to return to their pre-baby weight postpartum but the most important thing to consider is your health and making exercise work for you.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and go at your own pace, fitting workouts around your busy lifestyle.

It is further advised to exercise after nursing, so your breasts won’t be full and uncomfortable.

Supporting your breasts during exercise is very important as the added weight of the milk along with the natural weight gained during pregnancy can affect the elasticity of the breasts.

If you’re exercising during breastfeeding or exercising as a new mum, you should wear a sports bra to support your breasts during any kind of exercise. This will reduce excessive movement and bouncing that is so common for women with larger breasts.

The Boobuddy is a wearable band that offers additional support, comfort, and confidence when exercising. By securing the breasts in place, Boobuddy works to reduce the onset of sagging breasts by protecting the Coopers ligaments from permanent stretching.

Discover more about the Boobuddy by clicking here.

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