Should you be exercising while breastfeeding?
Is it okay to exercise while breastfeeding? Better yet, will exercising affect the quality and quantity of a mother's breastmilk? Read to find out more
For many mums, the anticipation of getting back in the gym and in shape is too much to bear while pregnant. But how long should a mother wait after pregnancy before she jumps back into her regular exercise routine? And, is it safe to exercise while breastfeeding?
Well, as you can imagine, every mother is different and each faces a number of different variables that can greatly affect their ability to get back to exercising properly. Some mums find it more beneficial to ease into their previous workouts post-pregnancy. Other mums like Sharny (seen below) are able to get right back into a groove and even incorporate being a new mum into their workout routines!
I caught Sharny multitasking today. In public. #breastercising I don't get the whole breastfeeding in public problem. It's not disgusting at all. If anything it can be awkward when making eye contact. And of course We're going to look, it's a (straight) male instinct. We will try everything not to, but for a brief split second our eyes trick us and look down. I actually think we need more chest equality. If more girls got their boobs out, there would be less alcoholism and less drugs. I'm serious, why else do young men party? It's not because they love dancing. It's because they just need to see some chest equality. #genetics #exercise #breastfeeding #lunges #fitmum #2weeks #postpartum #baby6
Jen Dugard, a fitness specialist for mothers, says "Each mum is different, and what's right for one mum won't be right for another."
It's really a matter of understanding your body, and understanding your limits. Don't push yourself, and recognize what your body is telling you. Once you've learned what you're capable of, you're on the right track.
But what about breastfeeding? Does exercising affect your body's ability to produce milk properly?
Simply put: no.
Many healthcare professionals and medical communities like The Australian Breastfeeding Association suggest that there is simply nothing to support that theory. In fact, even strenuous workouts won't affect the quantity or composition of your breastmilk.
"Don't let breastfeeding deter you from exercising. Just educate yourself on what you can do and get to know the warning signs if you're pushing too hard," says Dugard.
Here are some of her helpful tips:
Be mindful of your nutrition
Dugard advises keeping track of your calorie intake. She also claims that nursing mums should "Eat an extra 200 to 300 healthy calories while breastfeeding, so make sure you're doing that when you're exercising."
Many mums unintentionally cut calories during the breastfeeding period, so you should be mindful of your boy's intake.
Read more helpful, expert recommended tips about breastfeeding and exercising by clicking next!
Adjust your workouts if needed
As stated earlier, it's not always wise to jump right back into your previous workout routines. In Dugard's professional experience, "Some women have exercised before pregnancy but find postnatal exercising quite challenging and some women are fine."
In other words, test the waters and take it one step at a time. You may want to experiment with a number of different routines before you figure out what your body can do. Either way, just take your time if needed and adjust your workouts accordingly. It's better to be safe than sorry!
Watch out for certain poses and workouts (like yoga)
"Any exercises that involve lying down on your chest (like a cobra pose) can be uncomfortable, and it's not good to compress your chest while you're breastfeeding," Dugard advises.
That means staying away from certain positions in yoga and certain stretches in general. Just be mindful of what you're doing, and avoid lying down on your chest and belly.
Sufficient bra support
Now more than ever is the time to invest in good sports bras. You'll find that you're more sensitive than ever, and if you want to maximise your workout, you can't be cheap or careless with your bra.
"If you're running with your chest bouncing up and down, it isn't good for breast tissue and it's really uncomfortable," says Dugard.
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