Breastfeeding and exercise

If you have been used to exercising a lot before you had your baby, you may wonder whether breastfeeding is compatible with exercise. Is it possible to start exercising again, or will it affect your milk supply?

Studies have shown that exercise has tremendous benefits for both your emotional and your physical well-being as well as reducing stress and helping with weight loss.

Research has also shown that moderate exercise does not affect the composition of your milk or your milk supply. However, some studies show that strenuous exercise may temporarily increase the lactic acid content of your breast milk.

Breastfeeding and exercise. Woman exercising

Years ago, people thought this would cause babies to reject the milk. However, later studies have shown that even after breastfeeding mothers have done strenuous exercise, babies still accept the breast, and it doesn’t appear to have any detrimental effect.

It is important, however, before you embark on exercising after you’ve given birth to your baby, to wait for about six weeks. Have your six-week medical check with your family doctor and discuss your desire to exercise.

Start gently with brisk walking or mild aerobics, nothing too strenuous at first, and gradually build up the exercise according to your limits.

It can also be useful to feed your baby before exercising and wear a supportive bra. Rinse your breasts after exercising and before feeding your baby. 

During exercise, keep yourself well hydrated, and most of all, enjoy it!

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

Version 1.1 published in March 2019. Next review date: Jan 2022

References

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