Breastfeeding and scared to exercise? Don’t be! You’re not the only one thanks to several exercise myths that have been floating around. Don’t be discouraged about exercising while you are breastfeeding. Here’s a critical look at some of the negative talk you might hear:
Exercise Myth 1: You shouldn’t exercise when you are breastfeeding.
Don’t believe this one. Years ago there was a report of high levels of lactic acid in breastmilk after moms had exercised to exhaustion. Not only were the methods in that study criticized, but the results have never been duplicated.
Regular exercise is good for all of us, nursing or not. In addition to getting your body back to normal, regular exercise is good for your state of mind. Even better if you can exercise with someone else…social contact can also helps with feelings of isolation that can creep up with a new little one. Try pulling out the stroller and get a friend to walk with you. Or check this out: Fit4Mom.
Exercise Myth 2: You can’t exercise when you are breastfeeding because it can cause plugged ducts.
This myth is a “probably not, but maybe.” Weight lifting or other strenuous upper body exercise may tend to trigger a clogged duct. Start slowly and work up in intensity. Another trigger can be compression sports bras. This is probably the type of sports bras you are most familiar with, you know, the kind you pull over your head that smooshes your breasts against your chest. All that smooshing can be hard on your breasts, particularly when they’re trying to make milk.
To avoid the possibility of a sport bra related plugged duct, be sure your have a supportive encapsulation bra. An encapsulation bra, like our store favorite the Anita Momentum, has built in cups to surround and support your entire breast tissue. That means no smooshin and much lower chance to trigger clogged ducts. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy into the idea of wearing a sport bra that is one size too small. Buying an encapsulation bra will not help prevent clogged ducts unless it is properly fitted.
Exercise Myth 3: You shouldn’t swim while breastfeeding because you might leak in the pool.
Forget this one too.
The amount you might leak while swimming would be very small and you will be wet anyway, so it won’t show. If you are very concerned, consider using LilyPadz. These are silicone bra pads that lightly stick to your breast to stop leaking and work great for swimming (some moms use these all the time instead of regular pads.) As far as baby is concerned, you might want to wash your breast before feeding, but baby probably won’t mind either way. The amount of chlorine the baby would get is inconsequential.
Exercise Myth 4: Your breasts will be too heavy for you to return to running while you are breastfeeding.
If you are a runner, breastfeeding shouldn’t limit your ability to return to your routine. Once you get your doctor’s okay after delivery, just try to pump or feed right before your run to lighten the load. A good, supportive encapsulation bra like the Cake Zest Nursing Sports Bra can do wonders for support and bouncing. Here are a couple of first hand accounts of running mamas: Salty Running and NYCRunning Mama
- Make sure you stay hydrated before and after you work out. Don’t be crazy about it, but your need for fluid is higher while breastfeeding.
- Try to do something every day, even for a few minutes.
- Do something you enjoy, it will be easier to sustain the routine.
- Pump or feed just before you exercise. This will leave your breasts a little lighter and make you more comfortable.
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