4 Myths About Breastfeeding and Exercise
Whilst the benefits of Postnatal exercise are widely discussed when it’s comes to breastfeeding and exercise there are lots myths as to why you shouldn’t exercise and feed. Below are some of the myths and the actual facts behind them. Breast milk supply will decrease. This is the most common myth surrounding breastfeeding and exercise and like many old wives tales it simply isn’t true. The reason for this particular piece of dodgy advice is usually attributed to the risk of dehydration which can have a significant impact on milk supply and some cases stop milk altogether. This is in very severe and prolonged cases where the mother has been most likely been unwell and not down to exercise. It is important as with any time that you exercise that you keep hydrated and replace any water that you may lose via perspiration. A good rule is to drink an extra litre of water for any hour of exercise that you do as well as drinking a litre during the session. As long as you continue to take on water during and after exercise you are not at any greater risk of dehydration and your milk supply will be completely unaffected. Exercise changes the taste of breast milk. We often hear mums say that after their workout their baby is a bit of a pain to latch on and seems reluctant to feed. This is absolutely nothing to do with your breast milk changing but something has changed in taste. Your boob! Whilst you are exercising you will sweat and of course those m glands are not exempt from perspiration so if you try to feed your little one straight after your session it’s likely they will be greeted with what we call ‘salty boob’. The quickest way to remedy this is to give your breast a quick wipe before you offer it to your little one and they will be none the wiser.
Exercise reduces the nutritional value of your breast milk.
Nope, not true either! There have been several studies that show exclusively breastfed babies with exercising mothers grow up just as healthy as those with mums that don't. Another recent study showed that women who exercised three times per week had the exact same levels of immune boosting compounds in their milk as mums that were sedentary. The best thing to come out of that study was that not only did baby continue to thrive but the mums had a much more effective cardiovascular system too, meaning healthy mum and healthy baby.
Exercise can cause mastitis or pain in the breasts.
There are a few things that you can do to make sure that exercise whilst breastfeeding is totally pain free and the first thing is timing. Try to time you workout so that you feed right before you workout meaning that you wont be running around with full jugs. Its no secret that a full breast is a tender one so of course any movement including moderate exercise will be uncomfortable. Feeding before exercise will also ensure that you don't get any plugged ducts which can lead mastitis. The second thing you need to do is invest in a really good sports bra that is suitable for breastfeeding. Ensuring your breasts have adequate support will alleviate any pain as a result of impact. We recommend BoobyDo for a wide range of maternity sports bras.
Exercise certainly won't have a negative impact on your breastfeeding journey but it could make a huge difference your own physical and mental well being and we know that was is good for mum is good for baby. If you would like any more information on breastfeeding or need support on your journey you can locate your local NHS breastfeeding support team.