Can you run as a nursing mother?

Let’s face it, trying to go for a run like a breastfeeding mom is no easy feat. Although babies don’t seem to mind sweaty breasts, they do mind not having their feed while their mother is running. The inclusion of sports after childbirth is under surveillance, but can you run while breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding can be a big challenge for running moms. First, there is the gigantic sized abdomen which can make a light jog quite uncomfortable. Then there’s the baby who wants to feed and goes crazy when mom’s breast isn’t around.

Doubts about running and breastfeeding

Many women have questions about whether it is okay to run while breastfeeding. In addition to being a beneficial physical activity for health, it also has some details.

Can it harm the milk supply?

No. According to La Leche League, studies show that moderate exercise does not affect milk supply. This is because the body will supply the nutrients to its milk supply first and then to the mother.

However, it is important to consider the type of running you do when you breastfeed. Strenuous exercise has been shown in some studies to lead to increased levels of lactic acid in human milk: some mothers report that their baby is fussy some time later, but report no effect on milk supply or the your baby’s growth. If this is the case, we will wait 90 minutes for the lactic acid to leave the milk supply before nursing.

Can running cause mastitis?

No. But we must be smart about what we use. We will make sure that the sports bra is not too small or too tight to prevent it from blocking the milk ducts. It is advisable to change it soon after running.

If we develop a blocked milk duct (which will feel like a tender lump), we will reduce the exercise until it goes away. If we have mastitis, we will stop exercising immediately and get treatment.

Do you need to drink more water?

Yes, but we must not stuff ourselves with water. We’ll drink what we normally would if we weren’t nursing, and then more to get thirsty after that.

Breastfeeding increases thirst because the oxytocin released by the body during lactation triggers thirst as a way of ensuring that the body gets enough water to make breast milk. For exercise, experts recommend drinking before running and immediately after. A useful way to check if we are adequately hydrated is to examine the color of urine. It should be pale or light yellow in color. If the urine is darker or more yellow, it is a sign of dehydration.

How many extra calories are needed?

If we are not trying to lose weight (which should be done gradually 6 weeks after giving birth), we should eat a lot. Keep in mind that you burn up to 500 calories a day breastfeeding plus all the calories you burn running.

So if we run 5K a day, we’ll need to eat about 1,000 extra calories a day to maintain weight and energy levels.

Can you run a race while breastfeeding?

Yes! It is safe to train and run a race while breastfeeding. Some women have even won ultramarathons while breastfeeding. It just takes a lot of planning. Doing a test before is a good idea to make sure we have the rhythm down.

It is advisable to go to a coach or an expert who advises us during the return to running after childbirth. If we have previous experience, the return to running will be much easier.

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Tips for running and breastfeeding

Running and breastfeeding are not incompatible, you just have to take into account a series of recommendations.

Choosing the right bra

Most likely, the sports bra before giving birth will not fit us well after giving birth. We need more support and space. Experts remind us not to breastfeed in sports bras. The compression of sports bras can block your milk ducts, which can lead to mastitis.

Also, only sports bras should be worn for running. We will change and remove them quickly to avoid blockages. Also, we will make sure to lubricate with Vaseline around the neckline and armpits to avoid chafing.

eat and drink a lot

Running while nursing will not decrease milk supply, but it requires a lot from the body, so we must feed it correctly. After all, breastfeeding alone is like running 5 kilometers a day. This is what we need to eat and drink while breastfeeding:

  • Iron . New moms tend to cut calories while increasing mileage at the same time—that’s a recipe for injury. To stay healthy and full of energy, new moms need to focus on eating the right foods, like those that contain iron. In fact, one in five women is iron deficient.
  • milk . We will make sure to get enough calcium, especially those who are breastfeeding, which requires additional calcium intake. It is recommended that breastfeeding women consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.
  • protein . Breastfeeding moms also need to make sure they’re getting enough protein. After growing a baby for 9 months and then giving him protein-rich breast milk, you need to replenish yours.

Breastfeed or pump first

It is recommended to empty the breasts before going for a run. In a perfect world, we can feed the baby and have a good three-hour window to run. Maybe we’ll even have time to stretch, shower, and have a smoothie afterwards. But sometimes babies don’t follow our rule book. They don’t want to wake up for a good feed or you don’t want to wake them up because you just put them to sleep. For those times, we will express milk and have it fresh and ready for our partner to give to the baby in case he is hungry when we are away.

Many moms do a pre-run feed where they nurse their babies while they sleep.

being close to home

Some babies do not accept the bottle. For those babies, it’s better to be close so we can run back if needed.

Surely, this is not ideal. By the time we get home and do a feed, the window for running will likely be gone. When frustration mounts, we will remind ourselves that this will not be the case forever. Running will be there after the baby grows.