Whether you are used to running marathons or want to start some gentle activities to help with your fitness and/ or weight loss goals you might be wondering if your milk supply will be affected by exercise.
It’s worth remembering that women with babies have always worked – the bottom line is that throughout history and in many cultures they couldn’t afford not to. Often this work involved fairly strenuous manual labor and we know these moms continued to breastfeed their babies without problems.
Most people feel better when they get some exercise, and this is certainly good for both mother and baby.
Research shows that moderate exercise does not affect milk supply. Strenuous exercise has been shown, in some studies, to lead to an increase in lactic acid levels in human milk – some mothers report their baby is fussy for a while afterwards but they do not report any affect on their milk supply or their baby’s growth.
Some points to bear in mind are:
- Wait until your baby is at least 6 weeks old or more.
- If you had a cesarean section you can usually start exercising 6-8 weeks after birth. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any type of exercise program.
- Start slowly and gradually.
- Be sure to consume liquids to replace those lost by sweating.
- You may wish to wear a supportive, or sports, bra for your own comfort. https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/bras/
- Some kinds of exercise, such as walking, can be done with your baby. See our post on babywearing for tips https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/baby-wearing/
- You may also find post-natal exercise classes in your area that allow you to bring your baby with you.
- Walking briskly, mild aerobic exercises and water exercises are ideal in the beginning.
- Monitor how you feel during and after exercise and let this be your guide for how much to do. Some moms find they can regain their fitness and stamina levels quickly after birth, and others take longer.