Sara Haley is one of our favorite pre- and post-natal exercise specialists around here. She shares awesome, fun workouts with us and great fitness tips, too. Sara has a miles-long fitness resume, including being a Reebok Global Master Trainer for the past five years and choreographing and starring in more than 10 fitness DVDs. She’s a certified trainer and certified Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist, and she’s also got real-mom experience, having had her son in 2011. Today she shares tips on postpartum fitness and how to keep up that milk supply when you’re wanting to get back into shape! —Erin
“I want to lose the baby weight, but I’m afraid I’ll lose my milk supply.” As a pre- and postnatal exercise specialist, this is one of the most common concerns I hear from nursing moms. Will exercise and diet affect my milk supply? Is it possible to get my sweat on and still keep my boobs? The good news is … the answer is yes! Like all things in motherhood, it will just take some planning and prioritizing to keep you and your baby healthy and happy. Here are some of my top tips to help you stay fit, fabulous, and full of milk!
5 Tips for Postpartum Fitness When You’re Breastfeeding
1. Milk before play. The good news is that research shows that exercise does NOT directly effect milk supply. If you find that your baby is not happy feeding post-workout, it’s more likely that your baby may just not be interested in having lunch on your sweaty plate, so try to fit in a feeding before your workouts (it will make your workout more comfortable as well). If that’s not an option and you feel like your baby is resistant to feeding after your workouts, try taking a shower before you nurse.
2. Keep your workouts short but sweet. I remember that part of my challenge as a nursing mom was finding enough time and energy to work out between feedings. Although exercising does not directly correlate to a decrease in milk supply, missing feedings can definitely lead to a shortage of milk. Going to the gym can sometimes become a longer venture than intended (with a chance of missing a feeding), so as a result, I quickly became an expert at training efficiently and effectively. Because I often turned to working out at home, in order to stay on top of feedings, I did mostly workouts using my own body weight. Weight training builds muscle, which raises your metabolism and helps you burn calories throughout the day. By planning short but intense workouts, you’ll have plenty of time for nursing (or pumping). I lost most of my baby weight in four months and continued to nurse until my son was 13 months.
So, specifically, what did I do? I worked out whenever I could with whatever time I had, even if it was only for 5 minutes. My goal was usually five days a week. Because I got asked so much about what I did to lose the baby weight, I created a DVD, Sweat UNLIMITED, which offers 5-, 15-, 30- and 45-minute workouts with a variety of strength training, cardio and flexibility options. The workouts are available on DVD or as downloads.