Are you a breastfeeding mum who wants to get exercising? Midwife, Bel Moore, shares some top tips to get started.
‘Although it may seem like you’ve just completed the biggest marathon of your life (birth!) and chilling out for the next year sounds amazing, there are many benefits of keeping physically active post delivery.
Increased health and wellbeing, weight loss, reduction in stress and mental health issues, improved bone strength and the opportunity to treat yourself to a coffee at the end are all great bonuses of keeping fit.
Many mums worry about the effect of exercise on breastfeeding but luckily with a few handy tips, you can continue working out and feeding your baby with little to no issues.
9 top exercise tips for breastfeeding mamas
1. Keep exercise in the moderate to mild range
Research has found that mild to moderate exercise does NOT cause lactic acid to increase in breast milk (an increase may temporarily change the taste but does not harm the baby in any way). It also has no effect on supply or nutrient composition.
2. Start slowly and gradually
If it doesn’t feel good when you’re exercising, stop. Read and listen to your body.
3. Breastfeed prior to exercise
Large and heavy breasts are not the most comfortable things to exercise with.
Emptying them may provide you more comfort, less bounce and gives you more time before baby is due for a next feed.
4. Invest in a breastfeeding friendly sport bra
You may have to find these online but they are worth every penny.
Something with no wire will assist in reducing the chance of blocked ducts, which can lead to mastitis. Ouch!
Being able to unclip the straps and feed easily are best. This enables you to pause mid exercise to feed your baby, reducing any stress or anxiety you may have about feeding in public, it makes sure baby doesn’t get too distressed waiting for a feed and you may even be able to feed and exercise at the same time (practically a super power!)
5. Drink plenty of water
Make sure you take along a drink bottle and sip throughout. Ensure you make up for any lost fluids and if you get particularly sweaty you can even try an electrolyte drink.
6. Wipe down before a feed
Some babies won’t like the salty taste of sweaty breasts- take a few wipes or a towel to wipe down prior to a feed if this is the case
7. Be wary of loose ligaments
The hormones responsible in allowing your pelvic ligaments to loosen in childbirth can be present for up to six months post birth and can cause you to be more prone to exercise related injuries.
8. Have a physio check you for any abdominal separation
Muscle separation (a.k.a Diastasis Recti) is a fairly common condition of pregnancy where the Rectus Abdominis muscle spread apart at the body’s mid line due to the force of the uterus pushing out. Postpartum a spilt of more than 2cm can be problematic and some exercises can make it worse.
9. Try activities or exercises that include your baby.
Being away from baby can cause anxiety is some and missing feeds can reduce supply. Having your baby present will mean you don’t miss any hunger cues and you can save on babysitting costs.
So, there you have it. 9 must-have exercise tips for ALL breastfeeding mamas!’