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Tips for Exercising and Breastfeeding

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Exercising and breastfeeding: what you need to know


Want to learn more about exercise for breastfeeding moms? You’ve come to the right place!

So, you’ve reached your 6-8 week postpartum appointment and you are cleared to workout!  But, now you have a lot of questions…

Will breastfeeding help me lose weight?

Will exercise affect my milk supply?

Do I need to eat more calories if I increase my workouts?

We are here to tell you that exercising while nursing is a great way to feel your best while feeding your little one.   Read on for our best tips and guidelines to help you enjoy exercise postpartum.

Do most women naturally lose weight while breastfeeding?

Technically, you do burn about 300-500 calories per day while breastfeeding.  But, that doesn’t guarantee that you will lose weight.  Calorie burn and calorie intake are only a part of the equation.  There are several other factors that you must take into consideration; stress, sleep, body type, hormone changes, eating habits and number of previous pregnancies.

Some women also like to treat breastfeeding like a no-effort diet.  They think they can eat whatever they want because the “extra calorie burn” should counteract their food consumption.  We are here to tell you that this is false information!  

Bottom line, breastfeeding can potentially help you lose weight, but it should not be the focus or the reason for doing so.

Can you workout while breastfeeding your child?

Yes! Yes! And did we mention yes?!   As moms, functional fitness is a huge part of our daily lives.  We are constantly picking up, putting down, pushing strollers, carrying babies, etc. That means that we must train for it and the only way to do so is to get back into a fitness routine. 

We know that there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about breastfeeding and exercise and we do not want to let it deter you from starting! 

Keep reading for more tips on how to make breastfeeding and fitness work for you!

Breastfeeding & Calorie Consumption

As we mentioned above, you do need to consume more calories while nursing. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that you consume an extra 450-500 calories/day while breastfeeding.  So, definitely keep that in mind when working out.  This number varies from mama-to-mama of course, but serves as a good reason to make up those extra calories with healthy snacks in general.  Looking for healthy snack ideas and nutrition guidelines postpartum?  Check out our Postpartum Course!

In addition to paying attention to your caloric intake, don’t forget to stay HYDRATED!  As a busy mom it is easy to forget about drinking water and hydration is key for keeping your energy levels high and milk supply up.

The do’s and dont’s for fitness while nursing

Okay, so you now know that it is not only okay to workout while nursing, but extremely beneficial.  You are probably trying to think through the ins and outs of how to make it work with your schedule..and very full breasts 🙂   Check out our Top 4 Do’s and Dont’s for fitness while nursing.

  • Do start with low impact exercises.  Your breasts and your pelvic floor will thank you.  Looking for a workout program designed just for postpartum mamas?  Check out our program full of low-impact workouts!
  • Don’t skimp on calories. Make sure you make up those extra calories with a healthy post-workout snack or meal.
  • Do plan out your workouts! Working out is a lot more enjoyable when your baby is fed and your breasts are empty.  You may want to time your workout for right after a nursing or pumping session
  • Don’t forget about hydration.

Best forms of exercise for breastfeeding moms

Whether you are 6 weeks or 1 year postpartum, strength based workouts should be your concentration.  As a mom, your day is packed full of physically demanding tasks that you must train for to ensure you are not only capable of doing, but also strong enough to do them.  Women tend to focus on exercise programs that help their bodies “bounce back” but instead should find a program that focuses on recovery first and then progresses to strength and endurance.  Learn more about that HERE!

Breastfeeding is hard! Here are some more self-care tips for breastfeeding moms

Breastfeeding mothers tend to forget about the fact that they need to take care of themselves as well as the baby.  While your newborn is your #1 priority, you also must remember that your baby is relying on you for the vital nutrients he or she needs.

  • Make sure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Consume an extra 450-500 calories/day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Continue to take your prenatal vitamin

And most importantly, don’t forget about your mental health!  Breastfeeding is rewarding but it can also be full of challenges and setbacks.  Make sure you have a support system that you can turn to for helpful advice and support.

Ready to fast track your postpartum recovery?

Check out our course designed to help you recover, rebuild and get back to doing the things you love!