Breastfeeding, Exercise And Weight Loss

By Megan Adams

The female body is amazing and powerful. It provides your child with nourishing food for as long as you choose to breastfeed. Planning a nutritious menu day in and day out paired with an ample amount of water gives your body the fuel to do it all. Working out can only help a mother become strong and healthy.

Exercising with babyI happened to gain 80 lbs when I was pregnant. Prior to my pregnancy, I maintained a healthy weight by eating healthy and exercising regularly. When I looked online I found several websites claiming that once you start breastfeeding, the weight just drops off. How disappointed I was to find that this was NOT the case with me. Although I did lose about half the weight almost right after giving birth, the rest seemed stick with me. I figured that once I started to work out, the weight would begin to move. I started exercising three months after giving birth; although I was rusty and my muscles were soft, I was back in the game. I found that after a workout (as well as after breastfeeding) I was starving! After a little while, I realized that adding a little extra food in the form of healthy veggies, and drinking more water daily helped me maintain a nourishing diet. I also discovered that my baby didn’t have any reaction to my workouts. She didn’t seem to be affected by lactic acid, or a salty, sweaty Mummy. (I do live in the scalding hot desert so I’m quite sure she was exposed to the sweaty aspect pre-workouts.) I ended up breastfeeding for a year and slowly upped my workouts to five days a week (where I was pre-pregnancy).

My biggest challenge was monitoring my calorie intake.

I was constantly hungry or stuffed, not a good feeling. I began to make sure I got five servings of fruits and/or vegetables a day, which was really the key to success. Any day I skimped on that, I could feel the difference even if I hadn’t worked out. Another rule of thumb is to drink half your body’s weight in ounces of water. For example: if you weight 160 lbs, drink a MINIMUM of 80 oz a day in water.

It is important to realize that your body may hold on to some extra weight to produce healthy breast milk. Refrain from overdoing it and compromising your child’s nutrition so you can feel like your old self. Taking the healthy route has never hurt anyone, although your ego may be compromised; everyone’s body is different. Most importantly, after giving birth and relearning your body’s new functions, working out should be about making YOU a priority. You’re a new mother now, you deserve it!

Megan is mom to a beautiful one year old girl. She lives in Las Vegas where she braves the heat, exercises and enjoys blogging at Wrapstar.us. She has a BA in Philosophy and is currently in training to become a Pilates instructor (which she has been practicing for over four years). You can find Megan on twitter (@Wrapstar) and in the blogosphere at Wrapstar.us.

Another tip from the Mommy News & Views Blog is to invest in a good work-out bra! La Leche League makes a high-impact sports bra that has nursing clips – so you can exercise and take a break to feed your little one along the way. Another tip that we have is to search locally for groups that exercise with their babies – there are lots of stroller-exercises classes and many hospitals or yoga facilities will offer post-baby exercise classes as well.

As part of our World Breastfeeding Week Celebration – we’d like to encourage you to get out there and exercise with your baby! To do this, we are offering 15% off of our La Leche League High Impact Sports Bra for one week only (offer expires August 14th). Just use coupon code “EXERCISE” and you will automatically save!

Did you exercise while breastfeeding? What tips can you share with our readers? We’d love to hear your stories!

10 comments to Breastfeeding, Exercise And Weight Loss

  • i am finding that i get positively ravenous after exercising too, but i’m working really hard on starting with water, and then moving to healthy foods, since so often we interpret thirst as hunger…
    here’s to hoping that i can lose this softness that doesn’t seem to want to budge anymore!
    .-= Slee´s last blog ..World Breastfeeding Week: Even Though it Makes You Squick =-.

  • Such a good point about drinking water first. I was shocked when my trainer gave me the formula I posted above, I was drinking just barely the minimum! Drinking all that water reminded me that I was eating lots of sodium heavy foods on the go as well.
    .-= Wrapstar´s last blog ..Shopping Seasonally =-.

  • I’m one of the lucky ones who did loose a lot of weight just breastfeeding. Unfortunately I made up for it by eating a lot of being lazy. LOL I haven’t gotten back in the game yet, my youngest is barely 3 months old. But so far I’ve found that I love my baby carrier even more. I can carry her close to my chest for early morning walks, and feed her while I’m going. It’s just easier for me to walk at a decent pace with the carrier than a stroller.
    .-= Summer´s last blog ..When We’re Getting Rich On Sickness Does Anyone Ever Get Better? =-.

  • I have never managed to lose weight while breastfeeding. I think it is because I really lose interest in exercise and crave sugar to keep me going through the broken sleep. As soon as I stopped feeding my middle child the weight dropped away. As soon as I got pregnant with my 3rd, it piled back on. I know it will come off again once I stop breastfeeding and am happy to wait it out. Reading your post does make me realize that is an awful lot I could be doing about it. Maybe I should go jump on the trampoline or run the baby around the block. Thanks Megan!

  • [...] This post was Twitted by MommyNews [...]

  • Jen Dugan

    I exercised before I was pregnant and then most of my pregnancy. I breastfed for 3 years and exercised 4 to 6 days a week without any issues for baby/toddler or for me. My body did hold on to the last 10 lbs even while exercising and training for / running a half marathon while I was breastfeeding. It wasn’t until my daugher weaned that the last 10 lbs dropped off.
    .-= Jen Dugan´s last blog ..Demo: Concept Attainment Strategy =-.

  • It is so funny how everyone’s body holds the weight differently. I have been overweight and battling weight my whole life. But when I was pregnant – it was the first time in my life that I didn’t have to worry about gaining too much weight. I ate whatever I wanted (except for the first trimester when I didn’t each much at all LOL) and only gained 23 lbs. Then I had my baby, exclusively breastfed and the weight just dropped off. I lost all of my pregnancy weight by 2 weeks post-partum and another 10 lbs over the course of the next year. And I ate a TON. I could eat cake and all kinds of “not so great food” and didn’t gain an ounce – YEAH BREASTFEEDING. Then my son turned ONE…and even though he was still nursing 8-10 times per day, I started to have to watch what I was eating. When my son was 2.5, I joined Weight Watchers (more on that to come in a future post). And the weight just FELL off of me. Even though he was only nursing once or twice a day at that point, I lost weight easily – easier than ever before in my life. And I attribute it to the breastfeeding as well – even though I wasn’t nursing that often. Some women have trouble loosing while breastfeeding and some women loose more easily while breastfeeding – it is amazing how different everyone’s bodies react to similar “activities”. — Judy

  • Pantrygirl

    I had a hard time exercising in the beginning as I felt like my baby was nursing all the time. Then a fellow mom started a walking group. Between that and my ergo, I learned to nurse on the go.

    I agree with most. I get ravenous and thirsty while breastfeedig or after a long exercise routine.

    I will say walking outdoors in the sun wih my baby reenergized us. I trongly recommend it.
    .-= Pantrygirl´s last blog ..Love is Jesus Christ =-.

  • I went back to exercising as soon as my Dr. gave me the OK (around 2 weeks postpartum for me). I gained over 50lbs with my pregnancy and was eager to get started at losing it. No matter how much I worked, my body hung onto a lot of that weight until I stopped breastfeeding at 1 year (that wasn’t the reason I stopped).
    I loved breastfeeding and loved exercising- my daughter never minded my sweaty nipples and once I found the right sports bra- no complaints!
    It is pretty amazing to me how many women think they can’t exercise when breastfeeding, I see it at Stroller Strides all the time. Feed ‘em before class and if they don’t seem to like sweaty nipples- just wipe ‘em off!

  • [...] times for help and advice on breastfeeding, @MommyNews, asked if I would write a guest blog about exercise and breastfeeding for World Breastfeeding Week! Fitness and breastfeeding are two things I am very passionate about [...]

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