How many times have you heard that “this is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding” or that “it will decrease milk production and affect the baby’s development”? Hundreds of times, right?
Most of the time, recommendations are made about certain foods and medicines. The concern is valid: there are many factors that impair lactation and can affect the child’s health. And you’ve certainly heard that exercise is one of them.
It’s almost a popular saying: exercise dries milk. The comment, always made without basis, ends up leaving the mothers afraid and unmotivated to practice some activity. After all, nobody wants to hinder their baby’s development and, without much information about the truth of the fact, women prefer not to take any chances.
The thought that exercise affects lactation is easy to understand: breastfeeding demands a lot of energy from the body, as well as the practice of physical activities. It’s easy to compare: in one day, breast milk production is responsible for a burn of approximately 500 calories – equivalent to 1 hour of race.
As the two processes require a lot of effort from the organism, it is common to think that they cannot be done together.
And then controversies begin to emerge: the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breastfeed their children until they are one year old, while the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that new mothers begin to exercise as soon as they are physically recovered from childbirth.
And now? Do I need to choose an option?
Calm down, Mom.
Thinking about the fear of mothers to harm breastfeeding and the benefits that exercise brings to women who have just had a pregnancy, studies were carried out to analyze the compatibility of the two activities and discover, once and for all all, whether it is a myth or a truth that physical activities can affect lactation.
Does exercise dry milk or not?
One of the most famous articles on the subject was written by Gale Carey and Timothy Quinn , experts in the health of the female body. They compiled a series of studies and tests on breastfeeding vs. physical exercise and concluded concisely: activities are compatible and can be done together , without fear of harming milk production or the baby’s development.
Another study, published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) , looked at the difference in the values of certain nutrients in the breast milk before and after exercise. The amounts of phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium were verified. The researchers brought good news: the nutritional value remained the same after the mothers exercised.
Research on the subject has gone even further. An analysis, also published in NCBI , compared babies’ acceptance of breast milk before and after mothers practiced physical exercise. The result, again, was positive: there was no change in interest in food.
So don’t worry, mom. Exercise does not dry the milk!
Several sources have proven that the practice of physical activities does not change the quantity, quality or nutritional value of breast milk . Studies have also shown that there was no difference in the weight and growth of children whose mothers exercised. Solving this question is simple: just increase the consumption of the liquid on the days you train.
So you can rest easy, Mom! Exercises are the easiest, fastest and safest way to lose weight after pregnancy and the habit in no way affects your baby’s health.
And for women, exercising only brings benefits: they are responsible for promoting physical fitness, improving cardiovascular capacity and decreasing anxiety symptoms and levels of postpartum depression.
In addition, mothers who have an active life after pregnancy are more likely to reverse cases of postpartum diastasis and to avoid them in future pregnancies.
But we need to be careful…
Nothing affects the woman’s body as much as a pregnancy, so care must be taken when performing physical exercises in the postpartum period. The practice, if not done with all the necessary care, can end up being harmful for moms.
The ideal is that women do specific exercises for those who have gone through a pregnancy , respecting their body and their limitations.
An online program has been the solution for thousands of mothers looking for quick and effective ways to lose weight after pregnancy. The Mummy Sarada has an exclusive exercise methodology focused on the most affected regions during pregnancy, such as the belly, lower back, legs and butt.
The training is short and extremely effective. And the best: made from mother to mother.
The program’s trainer, Gabriela Cangussú, went through two pregnancies and saw in her own body the impacts that a pregnancy brings to the woman. Like all mothers, she was also apprehensive about damaging the health of her children in the weight loss process and, for this reason, she has been helping women to eliminate their doubts and return to the body they had before pregnancy in an effective and safe way.
Check below what the trainer has to say about breastfeeding and physical exercises.
Find out more about the program by clicking here .
How long to wait to start exercising?
It depends on the type of delivery and the woman’s recovery. In normal births, it is common for mothers to be free to practice physical activities after 30 days after the baby is born. In the case of cesarean sections, the time varies between 45 and 60 days.
But beware, mom: it is essential that you have medical supervision and clearance to start activities.
How to reconcile exercise with breastfeeding?
Anyone who used to believe that exercise dries milk must have convinced themselves that everything is just a myth and that activities are compatible. But there is little care.
As mentioned above, the process of milk production and breastfeeding requires approximately 500 calories per day from the body, equivalent to an hour of running.
Physical activities also require high body energy, so women who associate breastfeeding with exercise need to add extra calories to their diet .
So no dieting to speed up weight loss, Mom.
The desire to return to having the body I had before pregnancy is great and the urgency to make it happen too. But don’t go beyond your body’s limits and don’t harm your baby’s health because of it.
Unlike exercise, your diet is directly linked to lactation and poor diet affects (and a lot!) breastmilk production and your child’s development.
If mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding recommended during the first six months postpartum, all the nutrients that babies receive come from breastfeeding and the nutritional value of the food depends exclusively on maternal nutrition . That is why it is so important that the diet is rich in vitamins and minerals.
But this is not always strictly followed. The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals showed that most women do not consume the recommended amount of calcium, zinc, vitamin B6 and folic acid in the postpartum period. As a result, their children do not receive the proper amount of nutrients.
Keep in mind, mom: milk production is linked to your diet, not the exercises you practice.
A regular exercise routine does not affect lactation and a study at the University of Oxford showed that the mother’s weight loss does not interfere with quantity or quality of breast milk, as long as the weight loss happened in a healthy way.
Ideally, moms should have a balanced diet, have regular checkups and be sure their health is up to date. Thus, the baby’s development is not hindered.