Exercise and breastfeeding

Before I started exercising, and when I mean exercising I mean high intensity exercising (like running and crossfit), I did a lot of reading into the possible side effects it could have on the production of my breast milk. I’m aiming to breastfeed my baby until she is 1 (currently 8 months) so the last thing I want is problems with my supply.  

After reading a number of articles, and forums from other mums, it looks like it is generally accepted that most mums can exercise without any adverse effect on their breast milk. However, when reading through some of the forums I found a number of mums had supply issues, but there was also a number of mums who’s supply was unaltered following exercise. The only difference I found was that the mums that had no change in their supply drank between 2-3L of water per day. Personally, I have found no difference in my supply following high intensity exercise, but I too also drink between 2-3L of water per day.

The other interesting fact is that high intensity exercise can alter the taste of the breast milk due to the build up of lactic acid. The presence of lactic acid does not harm your baby but it can stay in your breast milk for up to two hours after exercising. I feed my daughter within 30min of a crossfit session and she has never shown any signs of disliking the taste of my breast milk. But every baby is different so this maybe something to look out for.

Some mums also like to know the energy requirements for breastfeeding mothers. On average, breastfeeding mothers require an extra 2,000kJ or 445 Cal than an average woman. This can be hard to judge if you are not familiar with kilojoules and calories so I have just taken to the rule “eat until you’re full”. The other important thing is to make sure you eat plenty of good quality foods such as your vegies, fruits, cereals (breads, pastas etc) and protein (meat, fish). Remember all the goodness you consume will go into your breast milk and if you haven’t eaten enough of one particular nutrient such as iron or zinc it is the mother who will miss out not the baby. You need to look after yourself in order to care for your bub so make sure you eat right!