National Breastfeeding Week Special
National Breastfeeding Week is here, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate the incredible journey of motherhood. For breastfeeding mums, it’s essential to prioritise both their health and their baby’s well-being. Today, we’re diving into the world of exercise and breastfeeding to debunk myths and provide you with evidence-based considerations.
Exercise Myths Debunked
Before we delve into the tips and considerations, let’s address some common misconceptions about breastfeeding and exercise:
- Myth: Exercise Reduces Milk Supply
- Fact: Moderate exercise doesn’t usually impact milk supply and can even be beneficial.
- Myth: Breastfeeding Mums Should Avoid Intense Workouts
- Fact: While moderation is key, breastfeeding mums can engage in vigorous exercise with proper precautions.
- Myth: Exercising While Breastfeeding is Harmful to the Baby
- Fact: Appropriate exercise has no adverse effects on breastfed babies.
Now, let’s explore evidence-based considerations for breastfeeding mums who want to incorporate exercise into their routine:
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay well-hydrated, especially if you’re sweating during workouts.
- Nutrient-Rich Diet: Ensure you’re eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support both you and your baby’s health.
- Proper Sports Bra: Invest in a good sports bra to provide support and comfort during workouts.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s signals. If you feel fatigued or any discomfort, it’s okay to adjust or pause your workout.
- Breastfeed Before Exercise: Nursing your baby before exercise can help prevent engorgement and make you more comfortable.
- Timing Matters: Choose your exercise times wisely. Some mums find it more convenient to work out when their baby is napping or after a feeding.
- Gradual Progress: If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase intensity.
- Consult a Professional: Consider consulting a healthcare provider or a fitness expert for personalised advice.
- Corrective Exercises for Postural Changes: Breastfeeding mums often experience changes in their posture due to (among other things) enlarged breasts. This can lead to discomfort and even pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Tailored corrective exercises that target these postural changes can offer significant benefits. By focusing on strengthening and stretching the muscles affected by breastfeeding-related posture shifts, such as the upper back and chest, mums can alleviate discomfort and enhance their overall well-being.
For those seeking more in-depth information on breastfeeding and exercise, here are some trusted scientific sources:
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period
- La Leche League International – Exercise and Breastfeeding
- British Journal of Sports Medicine – Exercise in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period
- World Health Organization – Physical Activity and Adults
Remember, the journey of motherhood is unique for everyone. It’s important to prioritise your health and well-being while making informed choices about exercise during breastfeeding. Happy National Breastfeeding Week!
Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information and should not replace personalised advice from a healthcare provider or fitness expert. Always consult a professional for specific recommendations.