The most recent statistics available show that a huge 70% of women choose to breastfeed. However, whilst this number seems positively high, records show that at 6 months, only 36% of these women are still breastfeeding. As many experts suggest breastfeeding should continue up to a year, this suggests that there must be an underlying reason as to why such a high percentage of women stop breastfeeding prematurely.
A primary reason behind this often comes down to the pressure modern-day women are under to lose excess baby weight quickly. With many celebrities seeming to snap back to their pre-baby figures in record time, some new moms may prioritize exercise time over breastfeeding time. This will result in a premature stop in breastfeeding, with many new moms believing they can’t both breastfeed and lose unwanted pregnancy weight.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth! As long as you implement the right strategies and balance your time, you can stay fit and enjoy a healthy exercise routine whilst still providing nutritious breast milk at all times for your baby. Below are some simple tips to help you do this, giving you the best of both worlds.
Do your research
In addition to not finding the time, many women are afraid that exercise will compromise their breast milk, making it less nutritious and high in lactic acid. This fear can put new mothers off breastfeeding altogether, again resulting in a premature stop.
Popular opinion is that lactic acid produced during exercise is harmful and, especially when breastfeeding, this can concern a lot of moms and deter them from any exercise during the breastfeeding period. Whilst it’s true that heavy exercise can increase the body’s production of lactic acid, this will never be enough to affect your milk supply enough to harm your baby.
This means that exercise is 100% safe postpartum even when breastfeeding, and doing proper research will eliminate any worries you have about whether or not it will affect your baby.
Be realistic and start slow
If you were used to daily runs and gym visits before pregnancy, it’s time to accept that you won’t be able to jump straight back in to your usual routine after giving birth. Both natural births and caesarean sections require decent rest and recovery time, especially when breastfeeding and ensuring you’re giving all the correct care and attention to your new-born.
However, that being said, as time passes you’re more than capable of getting back into exercise as long as you’re sensible and start slowly. Begin with something simple like a gentle walk, making sure to allocate breastfeeding time along the way. If you experience no negative effects or pain, you can perhaps progress onto slightly more strenuous activities such as light running and dancing.
It’s also very important to consider your previous exercise habits beforehand. For example, if you were relatively inactive and overweight before pregnancy, it would be extremely unrealistic to expect your body to be able to withstand a sudden increase of exercise postpartum. So, if you find yourself struggling more than you’d like to lose excess weight and find a safe and enjoyable balance between exercise and breastfeeding, incorporating a workout guide will do all the hard work for you. Take a look at these popular BBG workout reviews for Kayla Istines for inspiration!
Listen to your body
Even if you’re a few months down the line, if at any point you start to feel fatigued and worn out beyond your limits, stop immediately and reduce your exercise amount. Extreme exhaustion and tiredness is likely to affect your baby more than anything else, including your breastfeeding capacity, so staying in tune with what your body is telling you will be crucial in achieving maximum success.
To reduce possible irritation and negative signs from your body, ensure to wear a support bra at all times during exercise. Allocating time to breastfeed before exercise is also likely to reduce any excess weight your breasts may be carrying.
So if you’re worrying about how to stay fit whilst successfully breastfeeding and bonding with your baby, you now know it’s 100% possible! False information regarding the effects of exercise on the quality of breast milk are everywhere online, and it’s essential to learn the facts before jumping to conclusions and ending your breastfeeding experience early.
Staying fit while breastfeeding won’t be easy. But as long as you’re realistic and do everything in your power to help the situation, you’ll be back in your old bikini in no time while still providing your baby with the most nutritious milk possible!
Samantha Miller is mom to two kids ages 3 and 5. She writes parenting articles in her free moments, usually once the kids are asleep and she can finally have some time to unwind from the stresses of the day.