Exercising while breastfeeding is great for not only your physical health, but also for your mental health. Around 140,000 women suffer from postpartum depression a year in the UK, and exercise has been proven to significantly help decrease symptoms. Your focus is on your new bundle of joy, but make sure you're focusing on you as well.
1 | Will exercising hurt milk supply?
No, studies have found that exercise will not affect the supply of milk. On average, your body burns 500 calories producing milk, so just make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet and you’ll be fine.
2 | Does exercising change the taste of breast milk?
Studies have shown that the taste will only be altered during 90 minutes of maximal exercise – this is because the lactic acid levels in the breast milk raises. However, there is no change in lactic acid levels in moderate exercise. As long as you keep your exercise to 80% maximal heart rate, you’ll be fine. Though, might be good to wipe the seat off your nipples as they may taste salty!
3 | Does exercise affect the nutritional value of breast milk?
The nutritional value of breast milk is not altered by exercise. Studies have shown that mums breastfeeding who did 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week had the same levels of immune-boosting compounds in their breast milk as mums who didn’t exercise.
4 | Taking it slow!
Take it slow – your ligaments are lax for up to 4 months after birth and your body needs to recover. Begin with 10-15 minutes of low impact activity such as swimming, walking or the elliptical machine. Keep your heart rate at 80% or less max (220, minus your age). Incorporate 10 minutes of strength of muscle tone, which is greatly affected by pregnancy. During pregnancy, some women can experience abdominal separation and a larger arch in their back. For this reason, it’s important to focus on core strength to correct alignment and core flexibility.
Walking is the only exercise that uses the body’s 206 bones. Walk whenever you have the chance like when the baby is sleeping – gradually increases your speed and duration.
5 | Exercise and Postpartum Depression
Around 140,000 women suffer from postpartum depression every year in the UK. Symptoms can include: anxiety, fatigue, guilt, fear of harming the baby and a reluctance to breastfeed. Research has found that women who exercise – from stretching, breathing, walking, aerobics, Pilates, to yoga – compared to those who didn’t, had significantly fewer symptoms. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology recommend pregnant and postpartum women engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
Crystal Salene using the Cake Zest Maternity Sports Bra. Crystal is a N.I.P. n' SIP leader, doing her part to normalize breastfeeding as she shares photos of the places she pumps and breastfeeds.