Is It OK to Exercise While Breastfeeding?

The common topics women share at a kitty party or post a gym session mostly are related contraception, pregnancy, labour stories, feeding patterns etc. Being a senior mother of 3 child births, I am usually the center point for many questions related to these topics. One such a question in the post gym session was, “Is it OK to exercise while breastfeeding?” If we have a rational thought process with a reality check, we have more than half of the answers in front of us. If we have to understand about the merits and demerits of exercising, let us think rationally!!

For this, we need to think how nature has incorporated a woman’s life post childbirth? After a brief initial rest if you deliver normally, doctors make you walk around. Once you are home, you have the additional responsibility at home towards the newborn child and the possibility is higher that you move around. The extra activity may be implicitly termed as an exercise but may be a little unsystematic one. This makes us understand the basics that women can exercise post childbirth or while breastfeeding to that matter.

In fact, the exercise adds to your health and works positively for breast feeding women. You may be surprised to know that even rigorous workouts keep the volumes of milk produced in your body unaffected. There is a social stigma that the baby will reject your milk if you exercise while breastfeeding and it is absolutely incorrect. You can even breastfeed the baby shortly after an exercise session. However, this may be different in a cesarean section case as they are not permitted to exercise immediately post childbirth and the duration is little longer.

There is an article in 1992 after a study that mother’s milk is found to have lactic acid in higher proportions immediately after an exercise and babies turn repellent as the milk is not as tasty as it used to be. These studies based on the 1992 findings are now highly in debate as the current researchers are skeptical with them for multiple reasons. As the babies were fed milk using a dropper although they are not habituated to drink milk this way, the studies are not being considered.

Let us keep the findings apart as the debate is still on. As long as the baby seems satisfied with your milk, you can absolutely go ahead and nurse them after an exercise session. However, you may feel more comfortable to nurse before you exercise as you have a sense of relieving after you feed and exercising with milk on may be little heavy. But if you can carry a workout session before feeding a baby as long as your baby is happy with the milk, go ahead and have a supportive bra to get into the exercise routine.

If you gave birth through a cesarean section, your healthcare provider would be able to recommend the right workout regime for you as it may not be correct for you to get into the normal routine. Be wary while making a decision and it is your health which is important than staying fit.

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