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.
I 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!