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Myths about breastfeeding and exercising

Let’s be honest, after having kids, finding time to exercise is a challenge. From my own experiences, sometimes I manage an hour long work out and other days it's a quick 20 minute walk with bub in the stroller or simply chasing my toddler around the park.  Whatever it is, I aim to get my body moving and releasing those feel good endorphins!

There are many women out there (my own Mum included) who are cautious about exercising while breastfeeding. They especially worry that exercise will adversely affect their milk supply.  To help you separate fact from fiction we reached out to the experts for their opinion.

Dr Hong Tran is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Grow Obstetrics in East Melbourne, Australia and we love that the group she works with are all mothers helping mothers!  An experienced doctor (and a mum to two young boys herself), Dr Hong is here to bust some myths about breastfeeding and exercising!

Exercising will reduce your milk supply

Mums who exercise to moderate levels of exertion will not have a change in breast milk quantity. Remember, there are lots of benefits exercise can have on mums:

  • Improve health and general fitness
  • Improve mental wellbeing and energy levels
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Help with weight control
  • Improve bone strength

It is recommended to do 30 minutes per session and at least 150 minutes per week.

The quality of your milk with alter if you exercise

Research has looked at the level of lactic acid (a by-product of high intensity exercise) in mother’s milk after exercise. Lactic acid can increase in breastmilk after extreme exercise intensity. For most mums, this does not apply as they are only aiming for moderate exercise. Additionally, increased lactic acid levels does not harm your baby but can change the taste. To overcome this potential problem, it is best to breastfeed before exercising and will avoid the discomfort of engorged breasts while exercising.

If you exercise while breastfeeding, you will get mastitis

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast due to blocked milk ducts. This can be due to a number of causes such as baby not completely emptying the breast, a tight bra, or even over vigorous exercise of the upper arm and chest. Exercise in general though, does not cause mastitis.

Bub will refuse to breastfeed after you exercise

Studies have not shown a change in baby’s acceptance of mum’s milk an hour after exercise. If baby seems to object, keep in mind it might be due to other factors such as the salty taste of sweat on your breast. If this consistently happens, try:

  • Rinsing your breast or shower before breastfeeding
  • Expressing a little milk and smearing on your nipples before breastfeeding
  • Waiting at least 30 minutes after exercising before feeding        

Exercise will affect baby’s growth

Research suggests that mums can exercise without affecting the growth of their babies.

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There you have it ladies - myths busted! So get out there and you GLO mama! xx