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Breastfeeding Mom’s Guide to Postpartum Fitness

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Breastfeeding Fitness

Breastfeeding Mom’s Guide to Postpartum Fitness

Looking to start working out again after having a baby? Wondering what you need to do differently now that you’re breastfeeding? Look no further! This guide to postpartum fitness for breastfeeding moms will help you get back into a fitness routine while keeping up your milk supply!

Exercise is so important for everyone, but you do have to tackle it a little differently while breastfeeding. ACOG recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise while breastfeeding. Starting with low impact workouts like walking in the early postpartum days and working up the duration and difficulty as your body heals and stamina increases.

I want to share with you my tips and tricks to getting back to fitness postpartum while breastfeeding! I’ve done it twice now and will do it again in early 2021. Both times have been different and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Having a mother as a lactation consultant helps a lot and I’ll be sure to share some of her advice with you!

Postpartum Fitness Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Looking to get back into fitness after having a baby, but have questions about breastfeeding and supply? Look no further! Here's the breastfeeding mom's guide to postpartum fitness. #breastfeedingfitness #postpartumjourney #postpartumandbreastfeeding

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Talk to your doctor before you begin.

The number one piece of advice I can give you is to always wait to be cleared by your doctor postpartum before starting a fitness routine. Even as much as walking should be run by your doctor. Every woman is different and birth is traumatising on the body no matter what type of birth you have. It’s important to give your body that time to rest and heal before beginning.

The Start to my Postpartum Fitness Journeys

With my first child, I went back to work at a gym as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at 8 weeks postpartum. I started trying to do small workouts at 6 weeks postpartum when I was cleared by my doctor. For some reason, I felt this pressure to get back to myself quickly though I believe I was putting the pressure on myself. Looking back, I wish I would have waited a few more weeks! It was a lot on my body.

This guide to postpartum fitness for breastfeeding moms is designed to help moms ease back into a fitness routine while maintaining her milk supply!

Fast forward a few years to the postpartum period with my son. I was blessed with 8 weeks of paternity leave for my husband and I chose to become a full time stay at home mom. I soaked up those 8 weeks he was with me to rest as much as possible to let my body heal. We went on some casual walks after I was cleared by my doctor, but I didn’t start trying to do more until closer to 9-10 weeks postpartum. I feel like my body healed so much better that time even though I was older and it was my second baby!

Start slow & listen to your body.

Don’t rush into things and listen to how your body feels. You don’t need to pressure yourself to “get your body back” because you are feeding your baby! Plus your old body will never be back. Cherish your new one for all it’s done for you and your baby.

Find a program or workouts that allow you to start easy and work your way up. If you’re looking for some great workouts to start with, here are 5 prenatal workouts that are also perfect for postpartum and breastfeeding moms as well. They’re low impact, so less jumping and easy on the core! There are even videos included!

Related Post: Getting Back to Running Postpartum

Set reasonable goals.

Just like I said above, don’t set your goal to get your body back. Because you’re breastfeeding, you’re body isn’t in a normal state. You’re creating milk for your baby which will require some extra fat stores on you.

Instead of creating weight loss goals, ditch the scale and create strength and feel good goals! Start out with modifications of traditional exercises especially in the core and cardio department. You’ll need to rebuild your core strength and stamina after giving birth.

Make your goals to be able to do the next level. Most exercise programs will give you various intensity options, so start small and work your way up.

Drink tons of water.

I cannot emphasize this more. You need to drink so much water while breastfeeding and even more if you’re working out to keep up your milk production. So if you think you’ve had enough water, think again and drink more.

I recommend getting a large water bottle and keeping track of how many times you refill it throughout the day. It’s recommended that breastfeeding women drink 128 ounces of water a day! If that number seems daunting and unreachable, start by attempting to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you’re 160 lbs, try to drink 80oz of water! Once that number feels normal, continue to up your water intake.

Related Post: Mom’s Fitness Must Haves to Get in the Zone

Don’t expect to jump back into your pre-pregnancy routine.

This ties into setting reasonable goals above! Don’t be discouraged when you can’t run at the same pace you could before having a baby or you’re exhausted halfway through a workout that did pre-pregnancy.

Your body has gone through a lot and it needs time to rest, recover and slowly work its way back. Be proud of where you are and that you’ve started on a healthy journey!

Fuel your body. Don’t starve yourself.

You’re making milk momma! Breastfeeding mothers need an extra 300-500 calories while breastfeeding to keep up milk supply. Consuming less than 1500-1800 calories a day is not recommended. In fact, roughly 1800-2200 calories should be the lower end of your caloric intake. Obviously every mom is different based on bodyweight, activity level and milk production.

This isn’t the time to diet, but it isn’t the time to overindulge either. You have the chance to consume more, so make sure you’re fueling your body with healthy options. Be sure to eat a good balance of fats, carbs and proteins.

If you’re concerned about how much you should be eating, talk to your doctor, dietician or lactation consultant to have a better understanding of your personal circumstance.

Related Post: Must Haves for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey

Fit your workouts in around nursing and napping.

You’ll want to do your workout when your breasts are empty, so you’ll need to plan out when you’re going to workout.

This gets a bit easier once you have a solid schedule. Before starting pay attention and see when might be the most convenient to squeeze in a workout.

After I had my son, I would workout after his morning nursing session when he went back to sleep. My breasts weren’t quite as full making it so much easier. Plus I could be productive while he was napping.

Find the right pump.

You’ll likely need to empty without baby at some point!

While training for my half marathon while breastfeeding, I had to take a different approach. My runs had to happen very early in the morning before little man woke up, so I set my alarm 20 minutes earlier to pump before I set out. I would usually pump to comfort instead of fully emptying my breasts. Then I put the milk in the fridge for my husband to feed him if he woke up!

Here are my two favorite pumps for quick pumping on the go. If you want a manual one, the Medela Harmony Manual Pump is my go to. Better yet is that it’s under $30 and can go with you anywhere!

This guide to postpartum fitness for breastfeeding moms is designed to help moms ease back into a fitness routine while maintaining her milk supply!

My other favorite is the Motif Duo which is a portable double electric pump. It uses a rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to be plugging into the wall while using it. If I was driving somewhere else to run, I could hook it up and pump while driving! It’s a little more expensive, but still only $159 on Amazon. You can also see if you can get it free through insurance!

This guide to postpartum fitness for breastfeeding moms is designed to help moms ease back into a fitness routine while maintaining her milk supply!

Get a good, supportive sports bra!

Momma, I have no other way to put it, you’re boobs are bigger. If you were smaller chested before, you’re in for a rude awakening. This was my circumstance going from a barely B to a DD cup size. I wasn’t used to working out or running with that type of weight on my chest. I invested in several great sports bras that I highly recommend. These are my favorites and better yet, they’ll reasonably priced.

SYROKAN High Impact Sports Bra

This is my go to and I have it in two different colors! The support is amazing and you can adjust how tight the cups are based on how full your breasts are using the velcro tab shown above!

300

Yvette Zip Front High Impact Sports Bra

I got this one later in my breastfeeding journey, but loved the support it gave me. It’s also so easy to get on and off with that zip front!

Kindred Bravely Low Impact Nursing Sports Bra

If you’re looking for a lower impact option that you can also wear around all day, this is the one for you! I highly recommend looking at other Kindred Bravely items as they are a maternity and breastfeeding company!

Related Post: 5 Total Body Prenatal and Postpartum Workouts

Overall, be kind to your body.

Remember that this breastfeeding and postpartum journey is just that, a journey. You put weight on slowly over 9 months and it will take time to start feeling more normal again. Likely even longer because you’re breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding mothers tend to lose weight faster, but your body isn’t yours again until baby is done weaning. For me that took 18 months. I may have been back at my pre-pregnancy weight by 9 months postpartum, but it was another 9 months before my body was my own. No matter what, I would do it over and over again to feed my babies and feel that amazing bond.

I hope this postpartum fitness for breastfeeding moms guide has answered some of your questions! Feel free to reach out by dropping a comment or emailing me at amygblog@gmail.com. If I don’t know the answer to your question, I’ll happily ask my mom who’s a lactation consultant!

These 8 tips and tricks will help you get back to fitness postpartum while maintaining your milk supply! Don't fret breastfeeding mamas, you can workout too! #breastfeedingmom #postpartumfitness #postpartumworkout

What are your top tips for starting a fitness routine while breastfeeding?

Were you able to workout and maintain a milk supply?

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(9) Comments

  1. I love your point that it is so important to be kind to our bodies. Losing baby weight while postpartum should be a slow, healthy process instead of an unhealthy sprint full of expectations.

    1. Yes! There is so much pressure put on postpartum moms, and we don’t need any extra pressure to lose weight. It can be hard to give yourself grace, but it’s so worth it in the end.

  2. I love that this is all a positive way to look at our bodies and work with our bodies. its empowering.

  3. I have definitely made the mistake of jumping into a pretty rigorous routine post pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It never ended well! I always wanted to just “snap back” to the way that I looked pre-pregnancy without accepting that is took 9 months to grow a person in my body. Definitely smart to take it slow, get into a routine, and workout more to relieve stress and get moving vs. trying to drop the pounds right away. These are great tips for moms who may be brand new to this walk of life or may feel too excited to jump back in.

  4. These are great tips for getting back into shape while breastfeeding. My breastfeeding did not last as long as I would have liked but it’s definitely important to take care of yourself and work at your own pace. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is something I wish I could’ve seen during the postpartum days! Great post. Thanks!

  6. I love that you stress being kind to yourself and taking your time. It’s a lot easier to stick with your routine if you don’t totally wear yourself out. Congratulations on your 3rd pregnancy!

  7. I love this post! It’s difficult to get back in the swing of things while nursing but it made me feel so much better!

  8. Awesome fitness tips for postpartum mamas (even if you aren’t breastfeeding these are great!). This really resonates. I totally agree, be kind to your body and be patient. It’s gone through a lot. I wish someone had told me this the first time around. I don’t know why I felt this immense pressure to get back to my pre-baby weight right away. There’s so much adjusting and learning going on, you have to give yourself some grace.

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