By Kristen Scruggs
“Oh, the joys of working out while nursing! ‘Juggling the two’ will definitely take an adjustment period – pun intended! Your new best friends: Your breast pump and a good sports bra.”
There are three steps to efficiently working out while nursing:
1. Pump or nurse before your workout
2. Invest in a good sports bra
3. Stay hydrated
My favorite pump is the double electric breast pump by Medela – I can’t say enough good things! I went through two Ameda models before trying a Medela, all in a two week period when my daughter was a newborn. Invest in a good pump, it’s worth it. My Medela also came with a manual hand pump, which has come in handy on many occasions.
When I first began exercising after having my daughter, when she was between 2 and 5 months, we would drive to the YMCA and I would nurse her in the car in the parking lot, work out and then have to nurse her again before driving home. That was work! Now, it’s just twice per day, thank goodness! If you are working out while baby is home with dad or at daycare, bring your pump along to pump in the car. Most pumps have a car adapter available for purchase.
Now that you are set with the exercise and nursing/pumping routine, let’s talk sports bras. All sports bras are not created equal.
As the leader of a local running group for Moms, East Orlando Moms RUN This Town, the topic of sports bras for running/working out while nursing comes up frequently. Usually after your baby is 2-3 months old, your milk supply will begin to even out, but in the beginning, it’s simply all over the place. These four bras are the most-often mentioned, the ones that moms are happy using and have given great reviews. Keep in mind, everyone is different, especially based on size and how much additional support you need. So you may have to try a few before finding one that works best for you.
It isn’t recommended for nursing moms to wear a compression sports bra longer than needed since it can decrease milk supply (binding the breasts helps with weaning). Wearing a bra that is too tight can also increase the risk of getting a plugged duct.
Moderate exercise will not affect your milk supply. Remember to stay hydrated, as your body needs additional water, and if you are worried you can try adding a cup of Mother’s Milk Tea to help stimulate production.
One last thing to keep in mind – “leaky boobs.” You may need to wear nursing pads in your sports bra. You can use disposable pads, but when you sweat, the cotton will start to disintegrate. And then you’ve got a mess right after your workout when all you want to do is get the bra off to nurse your baby! My suggestion is washable bamboo nursing pads from BubuBibi. They’re soft and don’t stick to skin like cotton, and have a leak-proof outer layer.
Whatever you do, don’t let a tight nursing schedule stop you from working out. Exercise releases endorphins, making for a Happy Mama. And Happy Mama equals Happy Baby!
Kristen E. Scruggs is the Chapter Leader for the East Orlando Chapter of Moms RUN This Town, a free running club for Moms with nearly 300 members. She is training to run her first full marathon (26.2 miles) Dec. 1, the Space Coast Marathon! Kristen is married with a one-year-old daughter and wants 2-3 more children in the near future! You can see what her busy group
of running mommas is up to at www.momsrunthistown.com/EastOrlando/.