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Is It Safe to Exercise While Breastfeeding?
Both before and after you have a baby, physical exercise can help lose you any excess weight, stay healthy and feel more energetic, just to name a few potential benefits. However, a great deal of confusion exists regarding the impact of physical exercise on the supply and quality of your milk while you are breastfeeding.
Many new mothers have heard widespread rumors of a potentially harmful impact on their breast milk if they exercise regularly. Fortunately, these rumors have largely been disproven by scientific study. Of course, if you have any issues with your breast milk supply or quality, you should seek help from your doctor to determine the problem´s cause.
One of the most prevalent concerns regarding exercise and breastfeeding is that you may notice a decreased or even insufficient milk supply for your baby after you begin regular exercise. According to scientific research, however, this is simply not true. Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC -- an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant -- reports that exercise itself will not cause any decrease in milk volume, and that some limited studies have even found a connection between exercise and increased breast milk supply.
Another widespread concern regarding this topic is a potential connection between exercise and elevated levels of lactic acid in breast milk. However, moderately intense exercise has not been found to cause any significant change in lactic acid levels. Extremely intense exercise may lead to somewhat higher lactic acid levels for about 90 minutes after you finish your workout, but this has not been found to be harmful to the baby.
Finally, some mothers worry that their baby may be less willing to nurse after exercise. Like the first two issues, though, this has been found not to be a cause for concern by scientific study. As long as you shower after your workout, exercise should not be responsible for any nursing difficulties.
To ensure that your body is able to continue properly producing milk for your baby, you should be careful to drink plenty of water and to eat a healthy diet. If you notice any decrease in supply or other issues with your breast milk, you should seek help from your physician immediately.