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Does Exercise Decrease Your Breast Milk Supply?




For many postpartum mothers, returning to exercise can feel daunting, especially when balancing the demands of breastfeeding. Even after receiving clearance from your doctor or pelvic floor physical therapist, uncertainty may linger. Perhaps you're navigating


breastfeeding challenges like finding the right latch or mastering pumping techniques, and the idea of starting an exercise routine can trigger concerns about maintaining milk supply.


If you've heard rumours that exercise could diminish your milk production, let's debunk that myth together. I'm here to provide reassurance and guidance, helping you discover an exercise program that aligns with your breastfeeding journey.


While the nursing phase is undeniably rewarding, it's not without its challenges, and fluctuations in milk supply can occur. Today, let's explore how returning to exercise impacts milk production and delve into some factors that may contribute to a decrease in supply. Together, we'll navigate this journey with confidence and clarity.


does working out decrease your milk supply?


Here's the reassuring truth: exercise does not diminish your breast milk supply. You can confidently embrace strength and cardio workouts without worrying about impacting your ability to breastfeed!


Before diving in, let's take a quick look at the research.


Studies have demonstrated that moderate exercise does not affect the volume or composition of breast milk. In this context, moderate exercise refers to activities that elevate your heart rate to 60-70% above resting levels for 45 minutes per day, 5 days per week.


But who has the time to crunch those numbers? Here's a simpler approach: the "talk test."

The "talk test" means you should be able to carry on a light conversation while exercising, pausing briefly only to catch your breath.


As for more intense workouts, unfortunately, there isn't enough conclusive research available. Therefore, our recommendation is to stick to moderate exercise as your primary workout routine while breastfeeding. Consider activities like walking, strength training, incline walking, biking, jogging, barre, and similar low-impact exercises.


Workout tips for breastfeeding mamas



Now that the milk myth is busted, it’s time to get moving! If you’re jumping back into postpartum workouts, here are our top tips. 


PUMP OR NURSE BEFORE YOU START.

Trust us when we say this — full boobs are uncomfortable, especially if you’re doing an exercise with impact! Plan your workouts around a feeding or pumping schedule to minimize any potential pressure or discomfort. 


EAT AND DRINK SOMETHING.

We cannot emphasize this enough — exercise and breastfeeding both dehydrate you, so it’s important to keep the water flowing before, during, and after your workout session. Make sure you’re getting enough nutritious food to support increased movement, too. Depleted nutrients will equal a depleted milk supply. 


GRAB THE WEIGHTS.

Low-impact exercise is great for postpartum moms for a number of reasons! Skip those daily HIIT and intense cardio sessions and opt for strength training when you can. Choosing a high intensity workout every day can increase your cortisol levels, which does negatively impact your supply. But daily strength training and low-impact movement will have virtually zero negative effects for your breastfeeding days. 


PLUS, you do not realize just how much strength you need for motherhood. All of the lifting/pushing/carrying of a baby and all of their equipment takes strength and there is no better way to stay strong through motherhood than lifting weights.


Not sure where to start in returning to exercise postpartum?

Our wide variety of fitness classes both online or in-person are designed to help mothers to return to safe movement during the fourth trimester. Our experienced instructors provide support and aim to prioritise your well-being, focusing on exercises that promote healing, restore core strength, and gradually rebuild strength to help you feel your best.


Dear mama, we hope you feel ready to step back into the gym or roll out your mat at home, knowing that you can absolutely exercise and breastfeed in the same season with confidence.

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