Breastfeeding and Exercise - Will it Affect my Milk Supply?

Breastfeeding and Exercise - Will it Affect my Milk Supply?

From trying to lose the so-called “baby weight” to controlling stress, exercise plays a key role in the life of a healthy new mum. What some worry about is whether or not exercises like running, weight-lifting and swimming will have a negative effect on their milk supply.

Some mums have heard that exercise can change the taste of her milk, making it unpalatable to their new bub, while others have been told that exercise can reduce their supply. But is there any truth in these rumors?

Exercise and Its Affect on Your Breast milk

According to research, it’s the level of exercise that a breastfeeding mum engages in that can possibly have an affect on the taste of her breast milk and its supply. Some studies have looked at the level of lactic acid, a chemical known to change the flavor of a mum’s milk, in a mother’s breast milk after exercise, and found the following:

  • Intense exercise, particularly for a lengthy period of time, can cause an increase of lactic acid in a mum’s breast milk.

  • Mild to moderate exercise should have no effect on the taste of a mums breast milk.

In addition to lactic acid, mild to moderate exercise does not:

  • Negatively impact the immune factors of a mum’s breast milk (such as lactoferrin and SIgA)

  • Negatively affect the nutrients in breast milk, such as fat and protein, of its energy density

  • Negatively impact the major minerals in a mum’s breast milk, such as calcium, magnesium and sodium                                                                                                                                                                               

Workout Tips for Breastfeeding Mums

Studies have shown that there can be many health benefits that come from moderate postpartum exercise, and mums who are looking to shed some excess weight can usually safely do so with a weight loss goal 0.5 kg a week without it affecting her baby’s growth. There are a few things that mums should keep in mind though in order to ensure that her supply stays at optimal levels and that she doesn’t suffer from injury:

  • Loose Ligaments:  Mums will have loose ligaments for weeks if not even months after the birth of her baby. Most health professionals recommend mums give themselves 4 to 6 weeks after the birth of her bub before getting involved in any moderate exercise activity, and to only then do so after the clearance and guidance of her doctor or midwife.

  • Breastfeed Prior to Exercising:  This will keep you comfortable while working out.

  • Wear a Supportive Bra:  Try to avoid under-wire if possible and stick to a standard sports bra.

  • Drink Water:  New breastfeeding mums need to drink even more water during and after a workout session than a non-breastfeeding mum in order to maintain her supply.

  • After exercise, being able to slip into comfortable breastfeeding-friendly clothes will help you to feed more easily – and this is where we here at Peachymama, have you covered.

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