Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Breast-feeding and Exercise

Each mother may vary in the responses with exercising in the breast-feeding period. Health and fitness levels prior and during pregnancy can effect how your body reacts in the post-partum period. Lower intensity exercise helps aid the postpartum healing process mentally and physically. It is fantastic  for improving bone density, weight management and mental health of mother.

Research shows that moderate exercise doesn't affect the milk supply, milk composition, or baby's growth. Lactic acid levels have been shown to increase somewhat when a mother exercises to maximum intensity but there are no known harmful effects to the baby. If baby does find the taste less appealing then leaving it 30 mins to 1 hour after exercise should be sufficient for acid levels to reduce back to normal. . Breast-feeding before exercise will satisfy baby whilst mother is away and empty the breasts make exercise more comfortable. Some babies may object to being breast fed after mum has been exercising due to sweating leaving the taste of salt on the skin. Ensure you drink plenty of water to keep hydration levels up before and after exercise.

Relaxin hormone may still be present throughout the duration of breast feeding, ligaments may not be as strong leading to instability of the joints. When exercising keep plyometric work low impact and avoid too much high impact exercise. For example exercises high impact exercises can be when both feet leave the ground at the same time such as skipping, running, jumping jacks, squat jumps and split squat jumps.

Prone lying exercises will be uncomfortable for a breast-feeding mother. Also vigorous/ repetitive arm work including lifting weights which may stimulate breast-milk or cause plugged ducts. Ensure a good supportive sports bra is worn to protect overstretching during exercise.

Our bodies and metabolism may change with pregnancy, childbirth and lactation. Go slow and listen to your body and ease into a healthy program.

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