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What You Should Know About Exercising While Breastfeeding

Moms who breastfeed worry about everything they do and put into their bodies. They worry about eating fish or drinking wine and what it will do to their breastmilk.

Many new moms are not worried about working out for the first few months, so the subject usually doesn’t come up for several months after the baby is born, but it does eventually come up. Breastfeeding helps mom lose weight and get back down to their prepregnancy weight, but it doesn’t help tighten things up.

The good news is there is no reason you cannot workout while you are still breastfeeding. The benefits are the same as for anyone working out meaning you will be healthier and feel better.

What you need to know about exercising while breastfeeding

Does exercising while breastfeeding affect my milk?

There have been no studies that show exercising while breastfeeding will affect your milk. You can exercise while breastfeeding with no changes in nutrient composition or your baby’s weight gain, but there has been some evidence that exercising while breastfeeding can slightly increase your milk supply. There may be an increase in lactic acid, but there are no harmful effects to the baby. Also, there have not been any studies that show any significant changes in immunologic factors of breast milk in mothers who exercise versus those who do not.

You baby shouldn’t notice a difference in your breast milk after exercising and there have not been any studies that show babies refuse to nurse after mom has exercised. However, if you have been exercising, you have been sweating and this may cause your skin to taste salty and some babies do not like this.

Tips for exercising while breastfeeding

You should always check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine, but assuming you get the all clear from your doctor, there are no special restrictions just because you are breastfeeding, unlike when you were pregnant. There are somethings you may want to consider if you are planning on exercising while breastfeeding.

  • You may want to breastfeed or pump right before working out for your own comfort.
  • Make sure you are wearing a supportive bra, especially if you are doing strenuous exercises such as running and jumping.
  • Wear your baby while working out if you can. If you are just walking or doing exercises such as squats wearing your baby can help gradually increase the intensity as your baby gains weight.
  • Some babies do not like the salty taste left on the skin after a workout. You may wish to shower or at least wipe off before attempting to breastfeed.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated.
  • If you lift weights or do exercises with repetitive arm movements you may develop a plugged duct. If this happens, take a break and start back slowly once the plugged duct has resolved.
  • Make sure you are still eating enough calories to keep your milk supply up. If you drastically lose weight your milk supply can decrease causing your baby to want to nurse more frequently. This isn’t too common, but you should aim to lose no more than a pound or two a week total.

Did you exercise while you were breastfeeding? Do you have any additional tips for exercising while breastfeeding?

Thanks for reading, Cassie

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