Exercise and breastfeeding

Yes, you can work out while breastfeeding and still maintain a good milk supply!! While exercise in and of itself won’t impact milk supply, going too far into calorie deficit is what can drop milk supply for some. Nurse baby or pump just before exercising to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of engorgement or fullness during your workout. Some find wearing a tight sports bra can put pressure on the breast and increase the risk of plugged ducts for some. If that’s the case for you, just make sure to shake your breasts and do a little lymphatic drainage massage immediately post work out when you take your bra off. Post-exercise, lactic acid levels in your breast milk may temporarily change. Studies have shown that lactic acid levels in breast milk are significantly elevated for up to 90 minutes after MAXIMAL or exhaustive exercise, which may change the flavor of milk (but not the nutrients). BUT research has not shown a noticeable increase in lactic acid buildup after moderate exercise (50% & 75% intensity). Most studies have found no difference in acceptance of the breast, even after maximum intensity exercise.

Struggling to make it to the gym? There is also a lot of pressure on “bouncing back” after having a baby. Take your time and don’t look at other peoples journeys. It took you 9 months to grow the baby and it can take time to feel like your new normal and get into a workout routine. In the beginning, especially when recovering from birth and caring for baby, you may have less time and stamina for working out. You’re not alone. Start with a shorter or gentler exercise and add duration/difficulty over time. Prioritize your overall well-being — including your mental health — over a societal expectation to look or be something that may not even be realistic. And remember: breastfeeding is exercise. You burn about 20 calories for every ounce of breast milk you express (either from feeding or pumping). That adds up to an average of 500 extra burned calories a day, which is equivalent to:

1 hour of rock climbing 🧗‍♂️

1 hour pedaling a bike 🚴🏻 at 13-14mph  

2 hours of water aerobics 🏊🏼‍♀️

1 hour of rowing 🚣‍♀️ at a moderate pace

30 minutes of stair climbing 🧗‍♀️

50 minutes of jumping rope 👟

1 hour of steady lap swimming 🏊🏼‍♀️

45 minutes of hiking 🥾

30 minutes of 🥋 martial arts

30 minutes of cross country ⛷ skiing

1 hour of down hill ⛷ skiing