I really enjoy running; so much that I ran 1.5 miles three weeks after giving birth to my second child. This was a terrible idea, by the way. They tell you not to work out for six weeks after baby for a reason.
After having a baby I want my body back as soon as possible, but I have also found that if I want to breastfeed successfully I need to take it slowly.
There are many benefits of moderate exercise for mom; these include: higher level of cardiovascular fitness; improved blood lipid profiles and insulin response; improved energy; reduced stress; enhanced maternal-infant relationship and alleviation of depression symptoms in those with major depressive disorders. I truly see these benefits when I make time to exercise; not only am I a happier/better mom but I am also a better wife.
I breastfed my first for 18.5 months and my second is now 16 months old and still going strong. With both kids, I made breastfeeding a priority over working out for their first year. I still work out, just not as much as I may like. I have to be very careful with my calories while breastfeeding or my supply will tank. I eat lactation cookies anytime I feel my supply dropping. I also make sure I am consuming enough calories and drink enough fluids once I add exercise.
One other challenge I encounter is comfort–I am rather large while nursing and must find a supportive sports bra for any type of exercise. I have found I need a maximum support sports bra for comfort as well as confidence.
Once my kids hit a year old, I give myself a green light to exercise more without stressing about my milk supply. With both kids I began working out harder at this time and did not see much of a drop in supply; although I do keep my calorie intake high to insure that they still have milk. I treasure being pregnant and nursing, but after four years straight of being pregnant and/or nursing I am excited to work out without worrying about either.
Kristen Beggs is an active mom of a 3 year old and 16 month old. On nice days she enjoys taking her kids out for a run in the double stroller.