As a mom who has struggled to produce enough milk, I understand being nervous about doing ANYTHING that will affect supply. The truth is that no research backs that exercise will affect your milk.
That being said, undereating or inadequate hydration WILL negatively affect your milk supply – so you need to be sure you are properly refueling after exercise.
Regarding nutrition during breastfeeding, women need to consume roughly 500 extra calories a day. And if you are starting an exercise routine, this is ESPECIALLY important.
The importance of complex carbs and healthy fats are often discussed for milk supply, but getting enough protein is just as crucial if you are nursing and exercising. Aim for at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight… meaning a 120-pound woman needs 120-125 grams of protein a day to maintain lean muscle and produce enough milk…. That’s a lot, mama.
A good rule of thumb is to eat a balanced, high, protein snack within 45 min of exercise (think a protein shake with a banana).
Hydration is even more important when getting back into a fitness routine.
Aim to consume 90 to 100% of your bodyweight in ounces of water (108 -120 ounces of water daily for a 120 lb woman).
Worried about your pelvic floor and all that water, mama? Space it out throughout the day!
Having a hard time taking care of your baby AND getting all that water? One helpful thing is a water bottle that tracks your intake. Brands like Hidrate are great for this; there are many more online!
The last helpful tip regarding fitness and breastfeeding is…timing.
Jumping into a HIIT workout (or anything with jumping) when you are full of milk can be painful. Try to block off time directly before or after your training for a nursing or pumping session.
Getting back into a routine amidst all the new life changes can feel overwhelming, but it’s SO worth it to start. Any form of healthy movement as a mom is fantastic for a mom’s mental and physical health.
Katie Breard is an online pre and postnatal fitness specialist. She coaches women all over the world to reach their health goals through all stages of motherhood.