Can I exercise while breastfeeding?

Exercise has numerous benefits including weight loss, stress release, and keeping your body in shape. For healthy breastfeeding women, it’s both safe and beneficial to exercise. Those who exercise have greater cardiovascular fitness, more serotonin to prevent and relieve depression, as well as extra energy to care for themselves and others. If you have any medical concerns or conditions, check with your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program.

Finding time to exercise with a new baby at home is a challenge. Consider taking a walk or jog with her in a stroller, attending a mom and baby exercise class, or using an exercise video while she rests. While various types of exercise are safe, excessive and repetitive movements of the upper arms can restrict milk flow. To allow milk and lymph to flow freely, wear a supportive bra that fits well. It’s always a good idea to breastfeed or pump shortly before exercising. Your breasts won’t be full or uncomfortable during your workout.

One concern revolves around the buildup of lactic acid that occurs with vigorous exercise. A temporary increase in lactic acid can alter the taste of milk for a couple of hours. After an intense workout, you may notice she doesn’t take in as much milk. Unless you’re doing some serious exercise most days of the week, such as training for a marathon, this isn’t likely to be a concern. When exercising, increase the energy and fluid content of your diet. Your appetite and metabolism increase along with fluid lost through perspiration. To keep up your milk supply, stay well hydrated and eat enough protein and calories.