Is it Ok to Exercise and Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

breastfeed and exercise

It’s that time of year again—time when many of us resolve to lose weight, exercise more and take better care of ourselves. Taking care of yourself is even more important now that you have become a mother. Is it ok to exercise and lose weight while breastfeeding? Yes, yes and yes!

It is safe to exercise when you are breastfeeding (although I don’t recommend doing the 2 activities simultaneously!) Mothers are often concerned about lactic acid build- up with vigorous exercise but that is not a problem. Very strenuous exercise does create lactic acid but it does notmake the milk “bad” or significantly alter the taste of the milk.

What about weight loss? Will weight loss diminish your milk supply? Weight loss immediately after birth is normal and quite dramatic. In the weeks and months that follow, however, your “baby weight” will come off more slowly. It is generally recommended that breastfeeding mothers lose no more than 1 pound per week. Anything more than that may impact your milk production.

You probably have been more concerned about the foods you put in your body since you learned you were pregnant. It’s natural to extend that into your breastfeeding time and beyond. Your baby is learning about a varied, healthful diet every time he tastes your milk. Take advantage of this opportunity to teach your baby about all the nutritious foods you love.

Since we’re talking about diet, this is a good place to stress that there are no “forbidden foods” when you are breastfeeding. While there are babies who react negatively to certain foods, the vast majority do not. So, unless you have known allergies or food sensitivities in your family history, please enjoy eating your favorite foods.

A word of caution: Before beginning any exercise program, please check with your health care provider. Also remember you have just given birth and you’re probably sleep deprived so start slowly and listen to your body. And last, but not least, wear a very supportive bra!

Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC
Lactation Consultant
Postpartum Doula
206 356 7252
www.second9months.com

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