Working Out During Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?October 8, 2011
Some nursing moms worry about too much exercise affecting the quantity or quality of their milk. But those fears are largely unfounded most of the time. In fact, numerous studies have shown no remarkable difference in the amount or composition of breastmilk between pre- and post-exercise breastmilk. The nutrient content of the breastmilk actually stays largely the same and is still the perfect nutrition for baby.
However, if mom is exercising to maximum intensity for any extended period of time, then there may be an increase in the amount of lactic acid in mother’s breastmilk. This lactic acid increase will be present for over an hour following the exercise regimen. But the good news is that babies generally do not show a strong aversion to the breast even if higher levels of lactic acid are present. The difference in taste is generally so subtle that babies will not refuse the breast. If your baby does seem to be extra sensititive to the lactic acid in your milk following exercise, you may want to try to offer the baby some previously-pumped milk if she is hungry after your workout. As babies get older and their systems mature, they may be better able to tolerate these increases in lactic acid.
For mom’s sake, it is a good idea to nurse before exercising and to wear a very supportive bra during strenuous exercise. I like the Gilligan & O’Malley bras from Target. They offer enough support for me and are available at a very reasonable price.
If you have been sweating profusely, you may want to take a shower or rinse your breasts with water before nursing. The salt on your skin may not be pleasant tasting to your little one, although my little peanut has never really minded it. She has never refused to nurse just because I was recently exercising, but I do always try to shower before breastfeeding her if I recently exercised.
Does your baby seem to be sensitive to any breastmilk changes post-workout? Share your experiences in the comments.