Many moms have questions about exercise and breastfeeding. Some moms work really hard to build and maintain their milk supply, and they understandably don’t want to do anything that might compromise their baby’s food source! Fortunately, we have answers to your questions. The bottom line? Exercise and breastfeeding can absolutely go hand in hand.
Will my milk supply be affected if I exercise?
Research shows that breastfeeding mothers can exercise without risking a dip in supply. There appears to be no significant impact on the quantity (or quality) of breastmilk that is produced during or after exercise.
Breastfeeding moms typically require more water than non-breastfeeding moms, and exercise can increase that need even more. You may find the need to prioritize water intake before and after exercise and throughout the day as you feel thirsty. Drinking to satisfy your thirst is usually sufficient for hydration and to support milk supply; more water will not necessarily help you produce more milk, so you don’t have to pack in a bunch of water if you’re not feeling thirsty.
Does working out affect the nutritional value of my milk?
There is some recent research showing that exercise can actually offer positive benefits to your baby for long-term health and weight management, similar to the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. This tells us it might be even more important to exercise while breastfeeding than we previously thought!
According to some studies, there might be a very slight increase in lactic acid levels and changes in immune cell production for the first few minutes after exercising at 100% exertion, but all levels in the milk return to normal within an hour of completing exercises. If you’re not exercising to complete exhaustion but sticking around 60-80% intensity for a moderate exercise (which most of us do most of the time anyway), your milk will not be affected. Either way, you and your baby will still receive all the positive benefits of exercise over the long term […]