Race Day Lactation Logistics

The big day is finally here: my half-marathon takes place this Sunday! I’m excited to announce my main problems this week are worrying about getting to the start line (most of the roads leading to/from my house are along the marathon route and will be closed) and…what the heck to do about my milk before and during the race.

My baby still nurses about every 2 hours around the clock, but if I depend on him getting up with me at 5am to get ready to run, obviously that’ll be the day he sleeps in. So then I’ll need to add time to pump into my race prep. On top of breakfast and applying body glide, thinking about pumping makes me feel flustered.

But if I don’t pump, I might not be able to nurse him until about 10:30 in the morning if my husband is able to find me at the finish line and latch my son on right away. That’s a long time to run with engorged, milk-filled breasts.

So far, I think my best option is to assume Felix will wake up at 4:48 as he usually does (like clockwork. Ugh!) and plan to nurse him good and long before I leave the house. That will still mean I’ll have 5+ hours’ worth of milk built up by the time I nurse him.

Folks have been suggesting I buy a cheapo hand pump to use while I’m waiting around the start corral, to pump and just throw the whole thing away before I start running, but really? Standing on the street pumping amongst 25,000 other runners? I’m sure my body wouldn’t let down. Someone else suggested hand expressing in the port-a-potty. This might end up happening along the route if I get uncomfortable, but it sounds like a pretty nasty way to spend five minutes during my race.

I’m hoping the adrenaline and compression sports bra will help me finish without discomfort.

Have other nursing mamas run marathons or half-marathons before? What did you do about your milk the day of the event? Leave us a comment to help us brainstorm solutions!

4 comments to Race Day Lactation Logistics

  • Krista

    I’m a runner and a mom but I’ve never been in your situation. However, it seems like waking him to nurse right before you leave would be sufficient. That being said, you may want to have some sort of pump in case something arises and you are away longer than 5 hours. You never know! That would be my biggest worry, as
    I know even traveling with my infant, he wouldn’t always want to eat so I’d be mid flight and engorged because he’s not interested. I don’t know how old your babe is but he must still be fairly new to still nurse that often? Best of luck to you! Most of all, have a great time and be confident that you’ll do the right thing and you’ll survive whatever happens. Kudos for training for half marathon with a new baby!

  • Kelly McNelis

    I’ve run a lot of half marathons while nursing (and one full marathon). When one of my daughters was a baby, I drove to the race, found a parking spot (that wouldn’t block me in until the end of the full marathon), and pumped in my car before I got out! I’ve always nursed my daughters before leaving the house before race. If they didn’t wake up on their own, I’d nurse them half-asleep. Try not to stress, everything will be fine. Have fun! Great job training with a baby!!

  • Jamie

    Hi ladies! I am just trying to get back into running, but I am so scared of my supply dropping. My daughter is 9 months old, but still receives the majority o her calories from nursing. We have had such a struggle that I have been hesitant to do anything that could jeopardize my supply, but I am so ready to run! Just did a 5k with my 6 year old yesterday and now I have the bug back :)

    Any advice?

  • Katy Rank Lev

    Hi everyone! Thanks for your ideas. I’ll do a recap blog post about what worked for me. Jamie, as for running affecting your supply, I’m not really sure that’s something to be concerned about. Exercise itself does not affect milk supply (http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/mom-exercise/), but you of course want to make sure you’re staying well-hydrated.

    For me, the bigger issue was timing the exercise with my nursling. I tried to exercise the moment he popped off from a nursing session to maximize how much time I had for my longer runs.

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