There's a myth floating around among moms claiming that exercising while breastfeeding is bad for your child's development. The rumor states that exercise changes the composition of breastmilk, which then negatively effects your baby's growth. We've been saying for a while that it's perfectly safe to exercise while breastfeeding, but new research further solidifies our stance. A study recently conducted by the University of Birmingham in the UK dispels the myth about exercising while breastfeeding.
The study, published in Pediatrics, sought to put an end to the confusion about breastfeeding and exercise. Exclusively breastfeeding mothers were assigned to either exercising groups or non-exercising groups, and their baby's growth was measured after 10 to 16 weeks. Researchers found that babies breastfed by exercising mothers weighed the same as babies breastfed by non-exercising mothers.
According to the Pediatrics study, there seems to be no link between a mother's exercise and her ability to breastfeed her baby. Some studies do claim that exercise increases the amount of lactic acid in breastmilk, making it more difficult for babies to digest, but the findings are still unclear. As of now, researchers and pediatricians alike seem to be endorsing exercising and breastfeeding for mothers.
I am happy to see that breastfeeding mothers have been given the go-ahead to exercise, but I also realize that this needs to be taken in moderation. Many moms feel the need to shed the baby weight as quickly as possible, but this is not necessary. What's most important is that you take the time to acclimate to your life as a mom and bond with your baby. The baby weight will disappear in time, so don't feel rushed to drop down to your pre-baby size in a week.
Also, keep in mind that if you didn't work out during your pregnancy, you'll need to gradually build up toward becoming more active. If you were an avid exerciser to start, then take these new exercise recommendations and run with them (literally), but make sure to strike a healthy balance.