Running while breastfeeding: when to start and what to be aware of?

Running while breastfeeding: when to start and what to be aware of?

18. 8. 2022 6 min. reading

Can I start running while breastfeeding? And does running have a negative effect on breast milk? Questions that every runner asks herself after giving birth. Read tips on how to run again safely after giving birth.

You don''t have to avoid physical activity during breastfeeding. Regular exercise keeps you fit, flushes out happy hormones and gives you energy. How to get moving safely after giving birth?

The effect of running on breast milk

Many women are concerned that running or other physical activity has a negative effect on breast milk. Specifically on its production, taste or quality. Are these reasons valid?

  • Production - Physical activity promotes milk production. A breastfeeding woman who moves may have even more milk than one who does not move.
  • Taste - There are concerns about lactic acid leaching. This is produced by the breakdown of glucose (sugar) in the muscles. Excess causes muscle pain or fatigue and is also thought to be responsible for the change in the taste of milk. There are such cases, but only in the cases of top and professional female athletes who have excessive physical stress throughout their lives. If you are still worried about taste changes, feed your baby about 1 hour before exercise.
  • Quality - Running or other activity does not affect the quality of breast milk. This can be influenced, for example, by nutrition.

It must be said that every woman is different. Breast milk can change consistency, taste or quantity during breastfeeding. If you notice any changes, look for the cause with your gynaecologist. Anyway, running and sports are not among negative factors.


How to get back in shape after giving birth?

Childbirth is a big process for the body, so allow yourself time to recover. For many women the first six weeks after childbirth are a very stressful time, physically and mentally, so intensive exercise is not recommended during this period. You are getting familiar with your baby and motherhood - and that can be very tiring on its own. If you really want to move, include stretching, yoga, swimming, pelvic floor strengthening (for safety, only women who have had a natural birth) or stroller walks. Give your body plenty of time to rest. You'll find that getting back into running shoes will be much easier afterwards!

IMPORTANT: If you're not sure how to start moving after giving birth, need advice or are planning to make major changes, consult them with your gynaecologist. He or she is an expert, knows you and will give you individual advice.

When to start running after giving birth?

In general, it is recommended to start more intensive exercise approximately 2 - 3 months after giving birth. But again we have to say one thing - everybody is different. If you don't feel like running or doing any other kind of physical activity yet, that's perfectly fine. If you do, we have tips for you to gradually start again!

  • Slow start - Start with a fast walk only, then alternate walking with running (called Indian Running) and gradually work up to continuous running. You can also run with a stroller and combine the pleasant with the useful!
  • Don't stress about performance - If you don't run your pre-pregnancy times or distances on your first run after giving birth, don't stress. The joy of running should outweigh the times and numbers. Enjoy the fact that you can run, because the movement is a privilege.
  • Adequate drinking - Hydration and fluid intake are very important when breastfeeding. Breast milk is largely made up of water. Therefore, drink at least 3 litres per day during breastfeeding. In addition to plain water, you can include herbal teas or water with lemon for refreshment.
  • Eat a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins - Even though it's challenging in the beginning of motherhood, try to find a few minutes for yourself, and eat calmly and mindfully. Include mostly unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods. They will give you energy and nourish your body from the inside, which will reflect on the outside.
  • Listen to your body - The female body is an incredible mechanism. Listen to its signals and trust them. If you don't feel like running, rest. If you can't wait to put on your running clothes and get to run, go for it. Really connecting with your body will bring you huge benefits.

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Safe and healthy weight loss while breastfeeding

If you've gained some pounds after pregnancy and want to get rid of them, we've got some tips on how to do it without putting yourself or your baby at risk.

Patience brings the pounds down

Be patient and give your body time to recover after giving birth. A six weeks period is the bare minimum. Be sure to discuss your weight loss plans with your gynaecologist, who will give you advice. Combine movement with a quality diet rich in all three macronutrients - protein, carbohydrates and fat. The pounds should come off naturally and optimal weight loss should be between 1 - 2 pounds per month. As they say - slowly but surely. And most importantly healthily!

Natural energy expenditure

Energy expenditure is not just about exercise or running. It also includes natural movement and normal activities that increase your energy expenditure without causing stress to your body - exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol in addition to endorphins. Check out the activities:

  • Breastfeeding - Yes, breastfeeding itself is energy-intensive and you burn a lot of energy.
  • Walking with a stroller - Moving in the fresh air is great not only for your physical well-being but also for your mental well-being.
  • Cleaning - Vacuuming, mopping, dusting, ironing and other household chores are also movement and can be said to be regular cardio!

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Just like you can run during pregnancy, you can do it when breastfeeding. As long as you follow the basic rules and consult with your gynaecologist, both you and your baby will feel good physically and mentally. Because a happy mom means a happy baby!