Working out while nursing can be challenging, but it’s also extremely rewarding. Some days, the challenge of pumping or expressing milk to feed your baby is enough to make you want to give up. But working out while nursing can be very beneficial for both you and your baby. In fact, regularly exercising while breastfeeding has been shown to provide many long-term benefits. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of working out while breastfeeding and specific tips that may help you exercise comfortably while nursing.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding While Working Out
Regardless of how you decide to express your milk, there are numerous benefits to regularly working out while breastfeeding. One of the most exciting is that working out while breastfeeding may help boost your baby’s immunity. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your child build immunity against infections. So, if you regularly exercise while breastfeeding, it can help your baby develop immunity against certain illnesses. And, if you’re an endurance-type exerciser, working out while nursing can help you burn extra calories, build muscle, and increase your metabolic rate. All these things can help you stay fit and healthy for years.
Tips for Working Out While Nursing
- Find a form of exercise you enjoy – While working out may seem like a chore, it can become a source of great satisfaction. So, if you enjoy working out, you’re more likely to continue exercising while breastfeeding.
- Start slow and gradually increase your intensity – Building a breastfeeding exercise routine takes time. So, don’t expect to suddenly be able to run a marathon while nursing. Start with easy exercises, gradually increase your intensity, and always be mindful of your baby’s needs.
- Encourage your partner or family members to see the benefits of working out. At the same time, nursing – Many women find it hard to make time for themselves, let alone incorporate breastfeeding into their daily schedule. So, don’t feel like working out while nursing is a “big deal” that requires special attention.
- Don’t compare your body to other mothers – Everyone is unique, and you shouldn’t feel pressure to look like someone else while nursing. Instead, work towards feeling healthy, confident, and comfortable with yourself.
Take Breaks When Exercising While Nursing
Breastfeeding is a continuous process, not a one-time event. The same goes for working out while nursing. It’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Your body is an elaborate machine and, as such, needs fuel to function optimally. When working out while nursing, fuel it with nutritious food and adequate water to hydrate your muscles.
So, before you start a new exercise routine, eat a nutritious meal and drink a glass of water. Doing so will ensure your body has enough water to function optimally. Breastfeeding mothers can lose up to 1 liter of water within an hour of starting to exercise. By taking frequent breaks, you can track how much water you’ve lost and make adjustments as necessary.
Be careful when using machines.
When working out while nursing, don’t forget to be cautious when using machines. Many of these machines have buttons that are very close to your breast. This can be uncomfortable, especially if your baby is latched on. Also, the movement of the machine can cause your baby to lose their latch and/or become uncomfortable. Suppose you must use a machine while nursing; be mindful of your baby’s needs. Choose a machine that allows you to adjust the movement, so your baby is comfortable. Also, if possible, work out with your baby in a sling or carrier so that you can be aware of him/her at all times.
Don’t forget the pumping schedule.
Pump beforehand to ensure you get enough nutrition and water while working out. Your body needs time to process the food and water you’ve consumed, and pumping allows this time. So, pump frequently while you’re working out while breastfeeding. For example, if you’re eating a meal, pump for 30 minutes before beginning to work out. Doing so will keep your body hydrated and ensure you get the nutrients you need to perform optimally.
When working out while breastfeeding, remember to stay relaxed and focused. If you feel stressed, your body will divert energy away from breastfeeding. And, if you feel a latch pain, be sure to take a break and relax before continuing your exercise routine. Working out while breastfeeding can be beneficial for both you and your child. And, while it takes a little extra effort, the benefits are well worth it. So, get out there and work it!