Can I train and breastfeed? Can I breastfeed and train? I don’t remember exactly how many times I’ve been asked this question, but I can assure you that it was A LOT…
Can I have both? Is it safe to have both?
If you’ve been looking for an answer, you probably noticed that there is so much contradictory information on this subject out there, no wonder most mums feel confused.
On one hand, you want to look after yourself, lose that baby weight, feel good in your body again, but on the other hand, you don’t want to “risk” losing that milk supply or be forced to stop breastfeeding altogether. Especially, when most likely, you were struggling to be able to breastfeed in the first place.
I was confused as well…From the moment I found out that I was pregnant, I knew that I would go for breastfeeding. At the same time, I wanted to get back to my training routine as soon as possible. So, I reached out for some insights, and what I found out was different point of views, mixed opinions and contradictory advice…
I was inspired by mums who’ve done amazing things while still breastfeeding, so I decided to question that “traditional” approach of not doing exercises and check it out myself.
My training was quite demanding…before my baby turned 8 months, I completed half marathon, marathon and tough mudder, and I’ve done it all alongside breastfeeding (exclusively until he was 6 months old). I’ve been breastfeeding for almost 20 months and nothing happened…
Did my training affect my ability to breastfeed my baby? NO.
Did my even intense workout had any bad influence on my milk supply? NO.
Did my participation in all those crazy challenges decrease my ability to express milk? NO.
Did my baby ever refused my milk after exercises, as he didn’t like it? NO.
Did my training had any positive impact on me as a mother? You bet.
Some of my friends took on similar challenges while still breastfeeding without any negative effect at all.
I want to stress out here that I’m not a doctor nor a breastfeeding specialist. I only share my personal experience with you. So, if you are here, we probably have this one thing in common – you too want to be able to train and still breastfeed.
Read on and let me share with you what I feel is important if you want to be able to combine the two:
1. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
is not only HEALTHY for your BODY but your MIND as well. It reduces the chances of getting postpartum depression, it helps you as a mother, as a woman, and as a person. There is this magical endorphin release, so you feel better, you have more energy which in turn has a positive impact on your milk supply. I remember talking to my gynaecologist once. Her grandmother used to say that a long time ago when women were working in agriculture, there was no time to recover after having a baby. They needed to get back on their feet quickly and work very hard, many times in extreme weather conditions. They had 6-7 kids, and they were fine…its worth to think about it.
There is this misconception that working out can decrease your milk supply. I’ve never seen that, but I was obsessed with hydration. Even if you are not training, everyone will tell you that to produce milk; you need to be drinking a lot. 2l of water a day is the absolute minimum for anyone, but breastfeeding mums is closer to 3l, even more, when you are working out. I was drinking plenty of water and herbal teas, including special breastfeeding teas. If you are not used to drinking water, I highly encourage you to shift that. Water is one of the most crucial components that your body needs and cannot survive without. If you don’t like the taste of water, it’s even better to drink it with a slice of lemon – not only will you be properly hydrated, you will also clean your body out of toxins.
3. QUALITY OF MILK
There is this misconception that the quality of milk of training mums may be worse. Again, I didn’t notice any of that, Kuba was and still is a very healthy baby, off course he’s got some cold here and there, but it was never serious. There was some research that the number of antibodies might be lower after a very intense training; however, it doesn’t last long. If you are breastfeeding regularly, it won’t affect your baby.
4. TASTE OF MILK
Training will change the taste of milk, so your baby may not be willing to drink it. For me that’s another misconception…even if the taste of my milk was different, Kuba has never refused his favourite bubs. I know that lactic acid may influence the taste of milk, but it doesn’t last forever (max 60-90 min). So, if you really want to wait, you don’t need to feed your baby straight after your workout.
5. FEED BEFORE TRAINING
First, your baby will be full once you are out and about. Second, you will feel much lighter. When your bubs are full, they are heavy, they are painful, and it’s not comfortable for you to do your workout. If your baby is not hungry, express your milk and store in the fridge.
6. SHOWER AFTER TRAINING
Your smell may be confusing for your baby :), so I suggest you take a shower before you feed. If you can’t, at least wipe out your breasts and chest, so it’s clean and fresh.
7. PROTECT YOUR BUBS
Invest in a GOOD SPORTS BRA. Your bubs are much bigger and much heavier than they were ever before plus they are full of this gold substance that your baby loves. You need to protect them – for yourself and your baby. A good bra will support them and give you pain-free training.
8. ASK FOR HELP
If working out is important for you, you will find a way to do it. Ask your partner, friend or family member to stay with the baby when you train. Or if you are up for a run, you can take your baby with you in a jogging stroller. Once you are there together, you can do a buggy workout too.
I hope you found this helpful. Please share with me your story about training and breastfeeding. Or maybe you just had a baby, and you don’t know whether you can train? Leave a comment below.
And remember, if you are exhausted, and you don’t feel like working out at all, you don’t need to do that. It’s not the end of the world if you feel like it from time to time. It’s natural, it’s normal, all mums feel the same way.
Just relax, have some sleep, once you rest, you will see everything in a different light 🙂