Before I got pregnant with my daughter, I was working out harder than I had ever worked out in my life. While have always maintained a healthy body weight, I wanted to get my body in shape to run a marathon for the first time. I became pregnant before I could enter into the marathon. Now that I have had my daughter I wanted to get back on track and start my marathon training again. As I started getting back into my old routine I started to become concerned about the amount of fuel my body was burning to keep me going was taking away from what I needed for proper milk production. After getting online, I found that there are several other women who also have this concern.
Several medical studies have shown that there is no difference in the amount of milk a woman produces when she is exercising and when she is not. After learning this, my next question was whether or not exercise had an effect on the quality of the milk I am producing. My first thought was whether exercise affected the immunologic effects of my milk. The information I found stated that exercise neither boosts nor decreases the effect on breast milk. I was very relieved to learn this.
An issue I was dealing with for a while when I first started my exercise routine almost caused me to stop. The problem I was having was that my baby was latching on when I tried to feed her right after I had exercised. This behavior was not consistent and I was baffled since the only times she did this was after I had exercised. I knew this issue had to be connected to my exercising habits since she was hungry. What I found was that she was refusing to latch on when I had not showered after working out. She did not like the salty taste which was created by my sweat during my workouts. To eliminate this issue I just made sure I had pumped enough milk to give her after my workouts in case I did not have time to shower before I fed her again.
There other things I have learned while navigating my journey as a breast feeding mom who works out. First, is that it is important to invest in a supportive and well-fitting exercise bra. I also found it helps for me to pump milk before I work out. This decreased the weight of my breast and makes for a more comfortable workout in general.
Staying hydrated is more important than ever when you are breast feeding. Our bodies need so much water to help produce milk. When you exercise you have to drink enough to properly produce milk and replenish the fluids you lose when working out.
I also found out that when I am lifting weights that I need to go easy on the repetitive movements. This is because repetitive arm movements were causing me to have plugged ducts. Varying my movements and going slower while doing them has helped me to eliminate this problem.