Working Out and Breastfeeding

Working out and BreastfeedingI 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.

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One Response to “Working Out and Breastfeeding”

  1. JenE says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I too have struggled with finding a balance between running and being pregnant/breastfeeding. I am currently pregnant with #2. As the days warm up here in the midwest, I struggle when I see people out and about running. I know what I’m doing is important and the right thing to do for my family and my own health, but I still struggle with the want. I’d love to start up again once baby is born, but that feeling of being full limits my time to run to just after feedings, and when that baby is snuggled into you, sound asleep, it seems just easier to sleep with them, rather than going for a run.
    Thank you for helping me realize I’m not alone with my challenges. I will also be monitoring my calories much closer, as I feel this may have been an issue around month 9 of #1. For some reason, that never crossed my mind.
    Happy Running!