Exercising once baby has arrived is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It improves your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen and tone abdominal muscles, promote weight loss, and help you sleep better. It can even boost your energy level, relieve stress and decrease your risk of postpartum depression -- three particularly important aspects for new moms. But exercise while breastfeeding is easier said than done.
If you've been cleared for exercising, now is the time to get your groove back, and in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we decided to help you ease back into a comfortable workout routine and feel like "yourself" again. Here are 6 tips to get back into the swing of exercising while nursing.
1. Find a supportive nursing sports bra. The constant nursing sessions don’t make wearing a fitted or tighter sports bra enjoyable. However, brands have launched maternity and nursing underwear for the active mother. Boob Design is not only comfortable, it also provides you with just the support you need for your yoga and spinning classes or if you want to take a long walk with your pram. Plus, the nursing clip allows for easing access to your baby-feeding boobs.
2. Hydrate before, during and after. Nursing your little one requires adequate hydration throughout the day. But with added exercise, you’ll need to drink even more in order to sustain your milk supply. Investing in a reusable sports bottle, such as a 24oz OXO strive propel bottle or a Camelbak water bottle, is an excellent way to keep track of your water intake.
3. Pump or nurse at the right time. The best way to avoid discomfort from your milk-making breasts is to pump or nurse at least 30 to 45 minutes prior to working out. This way, you’ll have enough time to exercise and even shower before your breasts start getting from milk build-up and you have to nurse your little one again. This is especially helpful if you are planning on any kind of bouncing activity, like jump rope, high-intensity cardio or kick-boxing.
4. Plan your meals. In addition to drinking more water, you also need to eat more. If you are exercising and breastfeeding, your body is likely in weight loss mode. So you want to ensure that you’ve got nutritious and wholesome snacks for constant nourishment. Instead of noshing on high-calorie and processed foods, such as pizza or chips, why not use your need for more calories to eat healthy? Some suggested pantry or kitchen staples include: cottage cheese, hard- and soft-boiled eggs, nut butters, avocados, bananas, hummus, yogurt and string cheese
5. Get a weekly massage. If you know someone who can massage your feet once a week for at least 10 minutes a day, the circulation and increased blood flow will make your feet feel better from all the pressure you’re likely adding to it between standing and exercising. Not only will it relieve tension, but massages can also prime your bodies for continued growth in muscle development and strength. For extra relief, Mama Mio’s Cooling gel can soothe tired legs and swollen feet.
6. Take it slow. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just getting started, it’s preferable to ease into it with low-impact activities. Walking, swimming and yoga are all excellent ways to prime the body into more rigorous and higher-intensity sports. Also, you don't need to add pressure to your everyday life, and you want to be happy about being active. So find a routine that works for you and your little one so that you don't stress about exercising.
Incorporating exercise into your routine is a personal decision. Should you decide to start working out sooner than later, we hope this post helps you fit exercise into your new mom lifestyle. Happy Breastfeeding week!
Photo courtesy of boob. Check out the Fast Food Nursing Sports Bra here.