It’s World Breastfeeding Week, so this week at Mom Gets Moxie, I’m going to cover how breastfeeding may impact exercising and vice versa. Breastfeeding can be a tricky thing to navigate postpartum and not all women choose to breastfeed, which is totally fine! However, whether you choose to breastfeed or not, there may still be some points here worth considering as breast size and tenderness can be a factor in your fitness routine whether breastfeeding or not.
1. It’s Safe
First and foremost, I want you to know that it is completely safe for you to exercise and breastfeed your baby. There haven’t been any studies to consistently show that milk supply decreases or that lactic acid buildup affects the overall taste of your milk to the point that baby will reject it. Even if there is a bit of lactic acid in your milk post-workout, there are no known harmful effects to the baby and if you wait about 90 minutes, most of that will be flushed out of your system.
2. Wear a Supportive Bra
This is across the board postpartum, whether breast or bottle feeding. Your boobs grow and change throughout pregnancy and postpartum and they need all the support they can get when you do exercise. It can be a little bit pricey to buy a good, supportive sports bra, but if you are exercising regularly, it’s an investment worth making! If you don’t feel like you want to invest $75 in a sports bra, try wearing two sports bras at the same time for a little bit more support. As a side note here, you may also want to consider breastfeeding before working out to lessen the discomfort of movement throughout your workout!
When both breastfeeding and exercising, you are losing a lot of fluids on a continuous basis. In order to maintain your milk supply, as well as stay hydrated yourself, you need to make sure that you are taking in enough liquid. This doesn’t always have to be water, but I do recommend that you drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day – and then, if you are exercising and breastfeeding, I’d add another 30-50 oz. per day. Feel free to drink other liquids, such as juices or protein shakes that might add some nutrients as well!
4. Clogged Ducts
Some moms may find that when they do a lot of upper body lifting or repetitive arm movements that this may contribute to clogged milk ducts, which can be very painful! If you start noticing that clogged ducts happen after certain workouts, back off on the weights and/or reps for a few days or weeks and then slowly start adding those back in.
Don’t be afraid to get back into workouts once you’ve been cleared postpartum! You can safely exercise and breastfeed. Keep an eye out this week for some great at-home workouts!