A common concern that new mothers have is the the fear about how exercise can affect the milk production. Hopefully, this article can help ease these fears and give new mothers the confidence they need to continue to train.
To help alleviate mothers’ concerns, we first have to highlight where these fears originated from. Certainly, a portion of the older generations believe that exercise can influence milk production, but this is now becoming an outdated view as more research is being conducted in this area. The truth is that the first study which showed a link between lowered milk production and exercise was done many years ago and the test objects were dairy cows, not humans. Dairy farmers were trying to work out how to increase milk production to increase profits, but they found that when the cows were exercising, they produced less milk. This conclusion then lead to the common misconception that the same occurs in humans. This is luckily not the case.
If mothers are breastfeeding their baby, studies have shown that exercise does not affect the volume of milk that they produce. On the contrary, some studies have suggested that women who exercised after their pregnancy tended to have a higher milk production. However, high intensity exercise might increase lactic acid in breast milk for up to 90 minutes after exercise. Lactic acid in breast milk can cause it to have a slightly bitter taste for the baby. It is therefore advisable to schedule feeding times prior to exercise or to reduce the exercise intensity whilst breastfeeding.
In conclusion, you can rest assured that those old wives’ tales are not based on facts and you can continue to exercise whilst breastfeeding without any concerns. Of course, listen to your body and if you do worry that you are not producing enough milk, there are many other factors that could be playing a part in this, malnutrition and hormones being the most obvious reasons. Despite the potential desire to fit back into your skinny jeans, now is not the time to start a weight loss diet. Your biggest priority is giving your baby enough nutrition to grow big and strong. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet and training well, you should still lose those extra kilos eventually. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to get back to your pre-baby body. Remember that it took 9 months to get here and your body is allowed to take its time to recover.