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  • Writer's pictureJosephine

Breastfeeding and Returning to Exercise: Guidelines and Considerations

Mommy doing Exercise with her baby in their living room.
Mommy doing Exercise with her baby

When it comes to returning to exercise after giving birth while breastfeeding, there are several guidelines and considerations to keep in mind. It's important to prioritize your health and well-being while ensuring the safety and comfort of both you and your baby. Here are some guidelines and considerations to help you navigate this process:

  1. Consult with your healthcare provider: Before beginning any exercise routine, it's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider, such as your doctor or a lactation consultant. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and address any concerns you may have.

  2. Gradual return to exercise: It's recommended to start with low-impact exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time. Begin with activities like walking or gentle yoga and slowly incorporate higher-intensity workouts as your body adjusts.

  3. Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body's signals and adjust your exercise routine accordingly. If you experience pain, discomfort, or excessive fatigue, it's important to rest and modify your routine as needed. Your body is still recovering from childbirth, so be patient and give yourself time to heal.

  4. Supportive sports bra: Invest in a well-fitted, supportive sports bra that provides proper breast support during exercise. This can help prevent discomfort, pain, and potential damage to breast tissue.

  5. Timing of breastfeeding and exercise: Consider nursing or pumping before exercising to ensure your breasts are not overly full or engorged, which can be uncomfortable. Alternatively, you can breastfeed or pump immediately after exercising to help relieve any discomfort and maintain milk supply.

  6. Stay hydrated: Breastfeeding can increase your fluid requirements, especially during exercise. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts to stay hydrated and support milk production.

  7. Proper nutrition: Maintain a balanced diet that includes enough calories, nutrients, and protein to support both your exercise routine and breastfeeding. It's important to nourish your body adequately for optimal energy levels and milk production.

  8. Protect your milk supply: Be mindful that excessive or intense exercise combined with inadequate calorie intake can potentially affect your milk supply. Monitor your milk production and consult with a healthcare professional if you notice any significant changes.

  9. Breastfeeding-friendly exercises: Engage in exercises that are compatible with breastfeeding. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and postnatal-specific exercise classes are generally well-tolerated. Avoid exercises that put excessive pressure on your breasts, such as intense jumping or bouncing movements.

  10. Rest and recovery: Allow yourself enough rest and recovery time between workouts. Your body needs time to repair and regain strength, especially postpartum. Aim for quality sleep and incorporate gentle stretching and relaxation techniques into your routine.

Remember, every woman's postpartum journey is unique, so it's important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. Prioritize your health and well-being, and enjoy the process of gradually returning to exercise while breastfeeding.

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