Exercises, diets and breast milk

When they start exercising again, several women wonder if being active can affect or even ruin their milk production.

First of all, breastfeeding should not stop you from being active, on the contrary. Breastfeeding can even make your life easier because you can bring your baby with you everywhere without having to carry bottles!

When practiced at moderate intensity or briefly and intensely (in lapses for example), physical exercise does not affect the quantity or composition of your milk, nor the growth of your child. The frequency and intensity of these exercises should not interfere with your capacity to breastfeed. Although exercising in itself doesn’t interfere with the production and composition of milk, studies have shown that there is more lactic acid in the milk of women who train intensely, but not in those who train moderately.

Whether or not an increase of lactic acid makes breast milk less enjoyable for baby is currently debated. If you notice that your baby is not eating as well after your exercises, moderate or intense, try to feed your baby before exercising. You can also wait for an hour after exercising or extract milk before exercising to use it later.

At any rate, if you practice cardio-stroller twice a week or aerobics three times a week, your milk production should not be affected. The most important thing to do is to drink water before, during and after exercising.

What about diets and breast milk?

If moderate exercising does not affect your milk production, a diet will. Therefore, it is not a good time for strict dieting. Energy restrictions of less than 1,500 calories per day can decrease the quantity of milk that you can produce and can potentially slow the growth of your child. Caloric restriction gets accumulated fat and toxins back into the bloodstream. Furthermore, you could lack essential nutrients by eliminated certain foods. For example, if you reduce cereals, you will lack vitamins of the B group, fibres, iron and carbohydrates. Be patient, most women regain their pre-pregnancy figure in the year that follows birth. Prioritize nutrients, rest and physical activity based on how in shape you are. These first weeks must be used to regain your strength and your reserves of essential nutrients, not to mention that breastfeeding and your new life as a mother require an adaptation, which also means time and energy.

Elise Hofer

Mother of two, Elise Hofer is an accomplished sportswoman in alpine skiing, cycling and running. She holds a Bachelor of Management Degree and promotes an active lifestyle by getting involved with top athletes in the organization of corporate hiking and in various foundations.

Mélanie Olivier

Sports dietician-nutritionist, Melanie Olivier is a former elite skier. Her work with many athletes led her to accompany the Canadian delegation at the Olympic games in 2006, 2008 an 2010. In addition to leading her own nutrition team of experts, Melanie is an experienced lecturer and trainer as well as an appreciated media collaborator.

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