Sweaty Mommy Survival Guide Tip #5: How to Exercise While Breastfeeding
As a new mom, it’s already a big challenge to jump back into a fitness routine. As a nursing mom, the logistics and supply concerns can be downright intimidating! If you’re a breastfeeding mom who’s ready to get back in shape, these tips can help get you started!
Adopt a new mentality. As a newborn and nursing mom, your life has changed a lot! Your time is more limited, you’re sleep-deprived, and your body is still supporting your baby. As you build your workout plan, keep all of this in mind. You should be exercising to feel good and be healthier, not necessarily to lose weight and get your pre-baby body back. Instead of measuring your success by the scale, measure it by performance. Running for 10 minutes straight, feeling more energized, or seeing definition on your arms are excellent indicators that you’re achieving your goals!
Invest in a supportive bra. When I’m not pregnant or nursing, I barely fit an A cup. When I was nursing, I filled out a C cup! If you invest in one thing, make sure it’s a few new, supportive sports bras that fit comfortably. Wearing a too-tight sports bra can restrict milk flow and trap bacteria, potentially causing mastitis.
Don’t work out when you’re full…of milk, that is. Try to nurse or pump before you exercise. First, it will ensure you little workout buddy is happy and content, which gives you more time to exercise (and maybe even shower when you’re done)! Second, it will make you more comfortable. If your breasts are full, they can be uncomfortably heavy and may become painful. This can also cause clogged milk ducts.
Don’t cut calories – at least, not right away! Your baby needs anywhere from 40-55 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. That means your 10-pound infant is eating 400-550 calories of breast milk per day! It can be tempting to start cutting calories when you start exercising to achieve faster results. In reality, doing both at the same time could cause a substantial caloric deficit, impact your milk supply, and even cause your body to hold on to excess fat.
If you plan to drastically reduce your caloric intake, you should start 2-3 weeks before or after reintroducing exercise to your daily routine. Don’t forget to add those extra 400-550 calories into you daily goal, either! For example, if your daily goal for weight loss is 1,600 calories, you should really aim for 2,000 to 2,150 to account for milk supply.
Find workouts that fit your time and lifestyle. Having a baby changes your whole life. Give yourself some grace, and accept that some workouts you love may not be feasible your time and resources. At first, I didn’t go more than 3-4 miles on a stroller run. If I wanted to run more, I’d get a babysitter for my daughter. I also started doing home workouts with dumb bells and kettlebells in lieu of going to the gym every day. I missed my old fitness routines, but I’m grateful that I could make fitness work in my new life as a mom.
Looking for some bra options that do double duty? Check out these awesome fitness-friendly nursing bras!
You may also be interested in Love Your Running Stroller.