I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby. While I was pregnant I spent time educating myself on all things surrounding this topic to ensure I gave myself and my baby the best chance at feeding.
I just want to point out that this post is not about shaming non-breastfeeding mothers! For me, this is what I wanted and if this is something you want for you and your baby also, but have concerns about exercise and breastfeeding and how it might impact this relationship then please keep reading!
Have you ever heard or been told that exercising can impact the quality and quantity of your breast milk?
I had actually heard this from a trainer at the gym before I was pregnant and remember thinking oh my gosh really, I don’t want that! Its something that really stuck with me and it wasn’t until I started studying exercise and sport science and did my own research that I found this in most cases to be completely untrue.
The current evidence shows a weak link between exercise and breastfeeding. Guidelines suggest that moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity and sports will NOT negatively affect your breast milk volume, composition or affect infant growth AS LONG as you have:
- Adequate nutritional intake ( Not eating in a large calorie deficit)
- Adequate fluid intake
However, this doesn’t mean that there is no relationship between exercise and breastfeeding. Have you ever noticed that your baby or toddler seems a little unsettled to breastfeed after exercising? If so it might be worth trying:
- showering to remove any sweat that may be on the skin
- Feeding before exercising
- Waiting an hour after exercising to feed (if possible)
- Give expressed milk after exercising
If you find it uncomfortable to exercise when the breasts are full of milk, feeding or expressing before may help. Also wearing a comfortable and supportive sports bra can help to reduce discomfort.
If you’re looking for great resources to help on your journey please check out the Australian breastfeeding association and The milk meg – Australian lactation consultant (her content is literally gold). The Australian breastfeeding association also have a FREE helpline where you can call and speak with a trained volunteer counsellor to give support and advice on breastfeeding (I will post links below).