I am a HUGE breastfeeding advocate and have breastfed all 4 of my children until around age 2 (when they naturally weaned themselves). Fitness is and has always been a HUGE part of my life and that didn’t change while I was pregnant or after. I get a lot of questions about breastfeeding and exercise so I am going to answer these here for you! My answers are researched backed and from my own personal experience!
Q:Can I do moderate to intense exercise while breastfeeding?
A:Yes you can! A few tips to keep in mind are that you don’t need to rush yourself. Early on focus on your baby and establishing a good breastfeeding routine and supply. After a while work on trying to piece together some sleep ( learning to nurse lying down with baby helps!). When these 2 feel well and in sync thats usually when I thought about getting back to the gym.
Q:Will HIIT (high intensity interval training) effect my milk supply?
A: NO, not at all! Be sure you are hydrating well with FILTERED WATER before, during, and after exercise. Its best to be somewhat aware of your caloric expenditure during you workout and make that up through your day with clean , balanced nutrient dense meals. Try not to focus on major weight loss but more of the health benefits for you of exercise and the weight slowly coming off!
Q: Will exercising while breastfeeding make my milk taste different to baby?
A: No , research suggests exercise does not change or effect the taste of breastmilk.
Q: Can lactic acid increase in milk after intense exercise?
A: Research suggests yes it can but regardless there is NO evidence to support that breastmilk with increased lactic acid levels harms a baby in any way.
Q: Will moderate to intense exercise decrease the quality of breastmilk?
A: No , breastmilk quality does NOT change after exercise and important immune factors, major minerals, and major nutrients in breastmilk (fat, protein) remain the same.
Q: What if my breasts leak during a workout?
A: This is a possibility but timing is everything. Feed your little one right before you go to workout that way you have emptied your breasts and the possibility for major leaks is slim. A wonderful Sports Bra I highly recommend is the SheFit sports bra. It is breastfeeding friendly (zipper down the front), has major support, and will hold nursing pads in place if needed!
Q: Will my breasts ache or feel different while performing mild to intense workouts?
A: No not at all! Breastfeed prior to your workout and wear a supportive bra and you won’t notice any difference!
Q: Do I have to time out feedings a certain time before or after workouts?
A; NOPE! Just feed when you need to (but feeding right before a workout can lessen the chance of leaks). For me early on I would nurse before my exercise class at 8am. Class went from 8:30-9:30 then I would nurse when I got home usually around 10.
Thats all for now! Do you have a burning question I didn’t cover?
Just email me at SusieR@realfoodrealfitness.com or post it in the comments below!
Susie R 🙂
Lovelady C 2011, Balancing exercise and food intake with lactation to promote post-partum weight loss (Review). Proc Nutr Soc 70(2):181–4.