By Guest Blogger: Sarah Palmer
Author Bio: Hi! My name is Sarah, founder of SarahsLovelyFamily. I love sharing tips and tricks I learned from raising my own family, helping parents like me raising healthy children while enjoying it. You can follow me on Twitter at @SarahsLovelyFam.
Helpful Tips for Exercising While Breastfeeding
It is a known fact that breastfeeding has a lot of merits, but it is definitely no easy feat, especially for mothers with newborns. Commercial milk is often advertised as the perfect formula for babies, claiming that each bottle of milk is jam-packed with tons of vitamins and minerals. Although that may be true, breast milk actually has the correct balance of nutrients essential for your baby’s health.
Studies show that breast milk is easier to digest compared to the commercial formula. It also includes immune system promoting antibodies which are only present in breast milk. Some professionals even claim that breastfeeding can help mothers shed some extra pounds during the process!
But despite all this, many mothers still struggle with breastfeeding their babies. A lot of mothers complain about the pain and discomfort, while others say that they become too tired after feeding their baby. And for this reason, it is extra important to take care of your body – especially while breastfeeding.
In this article, I have gathered some tips for exercising while breastfeeding. But first, let’s debunk some of the misconceptions of exercising while breastfeeding.
Myths About Exercising While Breastfeeding
Whether you are starting a healthier lifestyle for you and your baby, or simply trying to get back into fitness, exercise is crucial to your daily routine. Do not be fooled by negative perceptions about exercising while breastfeeding.
On the contrary, exercise is very beneficial for your health, no matter if you are breastfeeding or not. Here are some of the false truths people might say:
1. It Affects Your Milk Supply
Some people believe that because you lose calories while exercising, your milk supply is also being drained at the same time and you may experience a drop in milk supply. While it is true that mothers need about 500 calories a day to produce a sufficient amount of breast milk, this does not mean that mothers should skimp on their exercise.
Milk supply is actually affected by the mother’s diet, not by the amount of exercise she does during the day. By maintaining a healthy diet, rest assured your baby will be able to receive a good amount of breast milk.
2. It Alters the Taste
Has anyone told you that exercise can turn breast milk sour? Turns out this isn’t just some weird belief that was passed down from generation to generation. Studies shows that maximal exercise heightens up breast milk’ lactic acid levels for about 90 minutes, causing it to become sour in taste.
Don’t scratch off exercise from your schedule just yet, studies also shows that moderate activity does not affect lactic acid levels at all. Choosing exercise that will keep activity levels at 80% heart rate or below can solve sour breast milk problems. But of course, you may want to wipe your nipples after exercise or it may taste salty due to sweat.
3. It Loses Its Nutritional Value
For some reason, there are also mothers who believe that exercise makes their breast milk lose nutritional value. Experts say that there is no direct relationship between exercise and the amount of nutrition of a mother’s breast milk.
Simply put, an active mommy’s breast milk is just as nutrient-rich as that of a mother who are more sedentary. Babies of both mothers grow normally and healthily, no matter how often the mother exercises.
4 Exercise Tips To Keep In Mind While Breastfeeding
Now that these misconceptions are out of the way, there is no longer any excuse to avoid exercise. Being a newborn mom is definitely no excuse to skip some exercises but it is obviously not that easy either. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind that may help you out in your journey:
1. Set A Workout Schedule
Exercising while breastfeeding isn’t a one-man decision – it is teamwork between the mother and her baby. Learning your baby’s feeding schedule proves to be quite beneficial in planning your workout routine.
While jogging outdoors may sound more fun than a strength training session on the mat at home, you may have to compromise some time just for preparation. You may need some breaks for nursing which may not be a practical decision as well.
The rule of thumb is to figure out what works best for you and your baby. Choose exercise activities that don’t take up too much effort but are effective at the same time.
2. Track Your Calories
As mentioned above, maintaining a healthy diet is very important as this will determine the amount of milk supply you can produce. It also affects your body’s overall health while breastfeeding.
One great way to stay on track is to record your calorie intake. This does not mean that you need to religiously record everything down in detail, a simple food diary and nutritional value record can go a long way. Remember to also track down your exercise as well so that you can count the number of calories lost.
3. Opt for Low Impact Exercise
Now that we know how high impact exercise affects the taste of breast milk, it may be a good idea to try a lower impact form of exercise. Just because it is low impact does not necessarily mean that it is less effective. Your body can benefit from any type of exercise, no matter how simple you think it may be.
Try your hand at yoga or start attending dance class – if it is non-impact and something that you truly enjoy, you are set for exercising while breastfeeding.
4. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water is mandatory, even if you are breastfeeding or not. Not only is water necessary to keep the energy levels, dehydration can also cause mothers to produce lesser breast milk. With this in mind, it is very important for mothers to stay hydrated throughout the day – especially if they are also exercising.
If drinking water isn’t your thing, try shaking things up a bit by infusing H2O with fruits like lemon or by drinking fresh fruit juices. This should allow you to keep getting additional fluids while breastfeeding.
Exercising will always be a part of a healthy lifestyle and is proven to be very beneficial for mothers who are breast-feeding. Don’t get put off by all the myths that you hear, chances are there are quick fixes to help you ease into an active lifestyle.
Exercising while breastfeeding does not get in the way of your breast milk’s quality but instead, it promotes you and your baby’s health.