So, your doctor has said it's fine for you to start exercising again, but you've heard that you'll either lose or sour your milk by doing so. These are just a few of the many myths that have kept women from engaging in physical activity while breastfeeding.
The truth is “Even vigorous exercise does not significantly affect the amount or composition of milk your body produces. And despite what you may have heard, it's unlikely that your baby will reject your milk even if you breastfeed shortly after exercising.” according to nurse-educator, Susan Toth.
With this peace of mind, you're now free to enjoy exercise's many health benefits (e.g. increased cardiovascular fitness, restored muscle strength, toned abdominal muscles). But wait! There are 5 workout tips for nursing mothers you should still heed.
Express Your Milk Before Exercising
Settle your baby with a full stomach by breastfeeding them before you leave to exercise. This is also beneficial to you because full or engorged breasts are uncomfortable when you're standing still. Just imagine how they'll feel during exercise! By breastfeeding before you leave you also don't need to worry about leakage. Baby is happy and now you can enjoy and really focus on your fitness instead of how full of milk your breasts are.
Support Your Breasts
It's important to support your breasts by wearing a good sports bra - one that will keep your breasts from bouncing around a lot while also reducing nipple friction. It also shouldn't make you feel squished.
The wrong bra isn't only uncomfortable, but it also can increase your risk of clogged ducts. Clogged ducts are a pain! Literally. So get in touch with the bra experts in your area so you can get your proper measurements and sizing. This is golden information that you can use in your next bra or sports bra purchase wherever that may be. Breakout Bras is one of our favorite bra experts! Sports bras without wires are the best, in our opinion, to also improve comfort and avoid clogged milk ducts.
Drink Plenty of Water
When you sweat you must replenish your body with water, especially if you're also nursing. While some doctors suggest drinking two or three extra glasses of water, others tell you not to force it, but to simply make sure you stay well-hydrated. Water is definitely your best choice here, though, unless you're engaged in something like distance running. This is because most sports drinks are full of sugar and more calories than you can burn during a workout. If you must reach for something to help you replenish your body's minerals, reach for something healthy, like a banana.
Don't like the taste of water? Consider infusing it with some fruit. Cucumbers, lemons, limes, oranges, and strawberries (all fruits with really high water content) left sitting in your water overnight make for a great, refreshing taste in the morning. Kinda like our Spa Water Recipe.
If you're still having problems adding more water to your day, carry a bottle of it around with you wherever you go or add some foods with a higher water content to your diet such as watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, and celery.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
If you're like many postpartum mothers, you're probably anxious to lose weight. However, it's important to remember you're breastfeeding. As such, now is not the time to cut down on your calories because doing so can seriously impact both your milk supply and your health.
Keep eating because you need calories, BUT calories are all made different so eat healthy, nutrient dense foods.
You can eat a big whooping plate of salad with fruit, veges, fiber, and grilled chicken. You can drink a delicious large smoothie made with organic ingredients and highly nutritious greens, fruit, and oatmeal. You can eat an entire wrap filled with veges and lean protein without all the mayo and cream sauces. It's not about the quantity. It's about the quality.
Go Slow and Have Support
It's important for you to balance your needs with your baby's needs. Sometimes your baby will fuss so much you can't leave. However, you can include your baby in your exercise regimen by working out with your baby at home instead of heading to the gym, or wearing your baby as you go for a brisk, uphill walk.
If you have local hiking areas nearby, go on a hike while baby wearing. Try stroller jogging (you will need to find the best jog stroller for you), or joining a mommy and me fitness group, especially if you can't get away from baby. Mommy fitness groups also offer ways to connect with moms that may be on the same mission as you and you can gain support from people in similar shoes.
Baby Boot Camp is awesome. If you are in Playa del Rey, Hermosa Beach, or South Bay this is the link here. They offer STROLLGA, yep that's stroller and yoga combined! Genius! Also, they have a 5K training program for moms. The group energy is your perfect lift off into your new fitness routine and they have lots of classes.
Looking for more workout choices? Here's something new - Try a baby wear dance class! These are awesomely fun. Try a GrooveaRoo dance class or mommy mingle dance classes in your area.
While there's no doubt it'll take you some time to get back your postpartum body, these tips will help you ease back into your exercise routine. After all, your main goal should be to feel better, not to look better. It really is about the inner health of your body which in turn, leads to healthy mood and energy levels. Take it day by day and be patient...you really can only safely afford to lose about a pound of fat each week without compromising your milk supply anyway. Keep going and when you look back, you will be so proud of how far you have come.
Working out and breastfeeding also entails the right clothing. Check out some of our nursing tanks and breastfeeding hoodies that can easily go with you into your fitness routine so you can nurse your baby quickly and easily, or pump right after if needed.
***Links to products and groups are NON sponsored. Just pure love for quality, good stuff we want to share with you!