Breastfeeding and Exercise: What You Need to Know
When you’re a new mom, getting back into (or starting) an exercising groove, delivers a whole bunch of benefits: it can help you shed pregnancy pounds; it can build the strength and stamina you need to carry your babe around; it can boost your mood and elevate your energy levels.
Of course it’s important to get the green light from your doc before you start—and listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, back off. And exercising as a breastfeeding mama means thinking about a few extra things. So whether you’re reluctantly dragging yourself off the couch knowing “what’s good for you,” or itching to log some miles stat, we’ve got some tips for you.
Walk with the baby.
Walking with with your babe, in a carrier, or a stroller, is a great way to get moving again and something you can do right away. (Pro tip: It’s also a good way to lull your baby to sleep.) When it’s time to eat, you can just pull over to nurse. (If it’s cold outside or inclement weather forces you to circle somewhere indoors like a mall, plan out where you'll breastfeed.) Once your baby is able to hold head up their head, jogging/running with a stroller specifically designed for this purpose is another option.
Do downward facing tot.
A postnatal yoga class can be a great way to move your body—a bit!—while you bond with your baby and connect with other mamas. These gatherings are made for nursing, so bring what you need to feel comfortable and you’re good to go.
Carve out time for your favorite forms of fitness.
Love to run? Hit the road. Get back to barre or hop on the bike (but lower your expectations at first—and remember that you just created a human being. You’re already a superhero.) Who might like some quality time with your baby when you want to get out for a run or a class? Your partner? Family? Friends? If necessary, consider a sitter. Investing in self-care is good for your body, your mind, and your baby. Lose the guilt and go, mama!
Invest in great nursing sports bras.
You’ll need them when you’re exercising with baby during feeding times, but even when you’re going out for some solo exercise time. Voracious little babes need to eat every few hours, so your baby may want to nurse as soon as you walk back through the door. (We like Ollie & Gray and Sweat & Milk nursing sports bras).
Breastfeed or pump before you go.
You’ll feel more comfortable if you empty your breasts. Some research suggestion that a very high-intensity workout may increase lactic acid in breast milk, which could turn baby off to its taste—but if your child is refusing the breast post-workout, more likely it’s salt on your skin (use baby wipes to refresh your sweaty skin) or straight-up distraction at play.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
You need fluids to make that milk, mama, and exercise increases your needs, so drink up!