In Fitness, Mom Life on
February 26, 2015

Breastfeeding + Fitness {Helpful tips}

Okay So I get ALOT of moms who have questions about Breastfeeding while working out. As you all know I am currently doing Jamie Eason Live Fit 12 week trainer. This is my second round, but first time doing the program AFTER having my daughter. I thought I would open up a bit about my fitness and breastfeeding habits, in hopes to help other moms out there!

{Disclaimer here}.. If you have questions, you should ALWAYS talk to your Doctor first. Clear everything with them. Every mom & baby is unique, and you will want to run everything by them first!

Nursing & Exercise // Made with Love

Let me start off by telling a little about my personal experience. Annabelle is 6 months old now (February 2015) and I am exclusively breastfeeding. I pump 1-3 times a day (I work from home) and she eats solid food at least 2-3 times a day. When Annabelle was around 4 months old I noticed a BIG dip in my supply, went from being able to pump 9 oz a day down to 3-4 oz a day! I was super frustrated and couldn’t figure out why. I think it had to do with the introduction of solid foods. One of the things that helped me, was pumping MORE. For about one week, I started pumping 3 times a day EACH SIDE for about 15 minutes.Sometimes nothing would come out, BUT the constant pumping, eventually signaled to my body to produce more milk. Nursing is supply and demand, and even if I would pump & NOTHING came out, Annabelle was still able to latch on and nurse. YOUR BABY WILL ALWAYS GET MORE MILK THAN YOUR PUMP. So don’t freak out 🙂

 

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-Will exercise affect my supply?
So one of the most common questions I get asked is “Will exercise affect my supply?” Honestly for ME doing Jamie Eason’s program has NOT affected my supply at all. If anything it has helped! I am drinking A TON more water than I was AND I am eating veggies with every meal. If I notice my supply going down, I just try and pump MORE that day. I am able to get about 6-9 oz a day, depending on how often I pump.

-How many calories does breastfeeding burn?
So you will find that this answer VARIES from person to person, dr to dr, book to book. Honestly the most common answer I have found is around 300-500 calories per day (depending on your supply) What does that mean in terms of burning calories to lose weight? So a helpful tip I have used is to UP my caloric intake while nursing. I average about 2,100 calories a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I always make sure I am getting ALOT of protein, I pretty much have some form of protein with every meal, whether its a protein shake, protein bar or just egg whites. Protein is so important while breastfeeding. It doesn’t always have to come from a meat, you can get protein from greek yogurt, eggs, nuts!

How many calories should I eat, if I am trying to lose the baby weight BUT still nursing?
Okay so this is a VERY personal question. I cannot give you a magic number, because EVERYONE is so different. Your weight, your baby, your milk supply, there is no magic number, But what I can tell you is if you are working out 3-4 times a week, and still nursing you NEED to make sure your body is getting enough calories to fuel up! Exercise in general BURNS calories, especially lots of cardio, so if you are exercising AND nursing you will want to make sure you are getting ENOUGH calories for BOTH. For example before I was pregnant, I would average about 1,500 calories a day (I have never really cared about calories, only being aware of them from tracking my food using the My Fitness Pal App). Anyway, now that I am nursing AND working out I have added about 500 more calories to that number. So now I eat about 2,100 calories a day of CLEAN healthy food.

Supplements & Nursing

-What supplements are okay to take while nursing?
If I get asked one question about nursing the most, this is THE QUESTION. Again, I can only talk about my personal experience, please talk to your doctor about your specific supplements. Which I did, in fact, when I was still pregnant with my daughter I brought my “Jamie bag” of supplements in and talked to my midwife about every single capsule. I wanted to make sure my supplements weren’t going to be “bad” to take while nursing. My midwife gave me the OKAY to take ALL of the following supplements:

Daily Supplementation Schedule:
Jamie Eason Protein Powder: I drink a protein shake after my workout.
-Multivitamin: I take ONE capsule in the morning with breakfast.
-Krill oil: (or fish oil) 1 capsule daily, I take this WITH my multivitamin.
-Anti-Bloat Capsule: I take ONE capsule an hour before bed.
-BCAAs: I take ONE capsule 30 minutes BEFORE my workout.
-Amino Recovery Powder: I drink ONE scoop with 16 oz of water DURING my workout & drink ONE 8oz glass throughout the day on rest days.

 

Supplements & Nursing // Made with Love #jamieeason #nursing

 -What should I eat while nursing & working out?
This is obviously a pretty general question. What you should eat is going to depend on your lifestyle. What is HELPFUL to eat while nursing is LOTS of protein and veggies, AND carbs! Your body needs a balanced diet to keep up with your new babe. I have found that Clean Eating is the best thing that works for me and my little one. I discovered eating clean last round from doing Jamie Eason Live Fit program, and it not only kept my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) in check, helped me lose 30 lbs, helped me sleep better, more energy, you name it! Clean Eating is basically eating foods closest to their natural state, and eating 6 small meals a day. You can learn more about clean eating (HeandSheeatclean.com) HERE. He and She Eat Clean, is a great website that has a TON of resources on clean eating! You have to remember that you are NOT only eating for yourself but ALSO your little one. So you want to make sure you’re eating a balanced (protein, veggies & carb) diet.

-How do you make the time to workout while having an infant?
O man, if only there were more hours in the day, right?! My husband and I BOTH work from home, which has its challenges and blessings. We take turns watching Annabelle so we can both go to our Community gym. Its literally just 10 steps out our door, so I have no excuse not to! HA Sometimes I workout around 9am, which is usually AFTER I have pumped, and nursed Annabelle, so hopefully she will nap for David. But sometimes the day is just crazy and I don’t get to the gym till 9:00 at night. Whenever I get to the gym, its MY TIME. No interruptions, and I love it. Sure it’s hard, but that 30 minutes to an hour is my time to destress, to feel like a human again, and to focus on just me. It’s hard but I know how much making yourself a priority can really HELP your parenting not to mention ALL of your relationships. I find that when I put myself first in my health, I am less stressed out.

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-How quickly did you start working out after you had your baby?
Since I had a c-section, I didn’t start working out till I was about 10 weeks post partum. Honestly I was just too exhausted, and didn’t really want to. During my pregnancy I did yoga and tried to swim weekly. But I didn’t have a regulated workout routine.  (We really really wanted an all natural birth, we took 12 weeks of bradley method classes and 6 weeks of birthing classes.. but our birth experience is a whole other STORY, you can read more about Annabelle’s birth HERE. The c-section recovery was pretty intense, my dr cleared me to lift LIGHT weights around 8 week but I just wasn’t ready. Some women start working out again anywhere from 4-8 weeks, but PLEASE check with your doctor first. Every woman is different. And so much of it is dependent on your birth PLUS how you maintained during your pregnancy, if you kept up your gym schedule, then it prob won’t be a big deal to go back to the gym around 6-8 weeks.

In a nutshell, listen to YOUR body and YOUR baby! You will know what is working and what isn’t. Annabelle is 6 months old now and even though I haven’t had any big issues with nursing, it is still incredibly exhausting but also SO worth it! I know that my daughter is getting everything she needs from me. Some days I feel like all I do is nurse and pump and change dirty diapers 🙂 But thats okay, I try not to put pressure on myself because it will just make me more stressed out! It is easy to get discouraged when the baby weight doesn’t just FALL off. I have really tried to not worry about the scale after having Annabelle because my weight has been such a roller coaster. I gained 32 lbs during my pregnancy. At 2 weeks post partum, I was already down 20 lbs! I was NOT working out only eating 75% clean and nursing. I was pretty shocked at how quickly I lost the weight. And thought OMG this is awesome, all I have to do is nurse and I will lose the rest of the weight! YAY!

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HAHA Well then I got a big dose of reality when over the next 6 weeks literally not doing anything differently, I gained IT ALL BACK! So at 8 weeks post partum I was back up to 187lbs (I was 42 weeks pregnant when I was induced). So that was SUPER depressing! But honestly I have to say I really really enjoyed those first few newborn months of not worrying about my weight, or the gym, or meal prepping and just soaked up EVERY LITTLE baby moment! And I wouldn’t do it any differently now. The myth of: NURSING ALONE WILL MAKE YOU LOSE WEIGHT, did NOT apply to me.
I have had to work my BUTT OFF these past few months to get back down to my pre pregnancy weight. And even STILL I have a heck of ALOT MORE toning I want to do! Enjoy those first few months of newborn stage, because like everyone says, THEY GROW SO FAST!

BUT here I am at 6 months post partum with a whole lot more flabby skin and stretch marks 😉 O the joys of being a mom, but honestly I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have learned to accept my new body and work hard to balance motherhood and my health. I thank God everyday for this precious little girl that he has blessed us with. Motherhood is HARD, it’s exhausting, it’s intense, its nonstop 24/7, but it is AMAZING, it’s humbling, it’s eye opening, and it’s worth every minute 🙂

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Here’s a list of GREAT blog posts that also offer more insight on nursing & exercising.

Natalie Hodson: Is protein powder safe to take while breastfeeding?
Natalie Hodson {MRM}: Can I take Protein Powder while nursing?
Michelle Myers: Exercise while Breastfeeding
Diary of a Fit Mommy: Best Foods for nursing
Exclusive Pumping: Exercising when you’re breastfeeding
KellyMom: Exercising and Breastfeeding

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3 Comments

  • Haley

    Loved the info! I attempted to start working out at about 8 weeks pp and just was not ready. That got me pretty discouraged. I really liked your personal experience share. It makes me feel better about ‘everyone is different’. I’m 4 months pp and I think I’m ready to try again. I had hurt myself when I tried the first time. Anyone thank you for the post. I enjoyed it.
    -Haley @
    Home of Happy

    February 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm Reply
  • Christy

    What a great article! Loved it, very insightful and honest. I am a nursing momma to a 4 1/2 month old, and honestly I am losing weight so fast! I know that it is party due to my lack of awareness to how many calories I’m taking in daily, but I naturally drop weight if I’m not careful. (DON’T hate me) I started going back to the gym to try and gain muscle mass and get my thin, but flabby body back into pre-pregnancy shape. Do you have any suggestions to trying to gain muscle mass and tone without losing my milk supply? ( I also have just recently seen a big drop in my supply when I pump!)

    February 4, 2016 at 6:58 pm Reply
    • alesha_haley@yahoo.com

      I would recommend eating more protein, carbs and healthy fats.. thats going to keep your metabolism up AND keep your supply! It will help build muscle too IF you are doing any kind of workouts 🙂

      March 4, 2016 at 2:51 pm Reply

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