Exercise Advice for Breastfeeding Mothers

Exercise and its effects on breastfeeding is one of those topics shrouded in myths and with so much conflicting information online, it’ s no wonder that many find it tricky to know what the ‘rules’ are in regards to breastfeeding and exercise. However, if you’re a breastfeeding mother, take heart in knowing that to date there has been no scientific evidence to suggest that breastmilk supply is negatively impacted by engaging in exercise.

Some research does suggest that the content of a mothers milk may be altered slightly, however, this is largely short term. There are no known harmful effects on the baby.

IMG_1204.jpg

How is breastmilk affected?

In 1997 a Study by Gregory et al, found that IgA levels (an anti-body playing a role in mucosal immunity) were decreased in breastmilk for approximately 10-30 minutes after strenuous exercise. However, levels returned to normal within an hour.

While decreased IgA levels for one feed a day is unlikely to have a significant effect on your baby’s long term health. For mothers concerned about this, it’s worth noting you can decide to express your milk or feed prior to exercise.

The only other known effect of exercise on breastmilk is an increase in Lactic Acid build up, which may occur after high-intensity exercise. This increase may be present for up to 90 minutes however as with a decrease in IgA, this also has no proven harmful effects for the baby.

Will your baby reject breastmilk after exercise?

Some mothers may be concerned that baby will reject breastmilk after exercise, however, research again shows this is unlikely.

A 1992 study did cause quite a stir after researchers found that infants acceptance of breast milk prior to and post-high-intensity exercise differed. However, after further research results were called in to question as babies were fed the milk by dropper (unfamiliar for the babies), and the mothers reported there had been no problems with nursing post exercise in the past.

A more recent study published in 2002 by the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that moderate or high-intensity exercise does not impede infant acceptance of breast milk consumed one-hour article exercise, regardless of intensity.

Should your baby object to breastmilk after strenuous exercise, bare in mind it may have nothing to do with the taste or content of the milk and rather the salty taste of sweat on the skin. So, remember to wipe down or shower (if you can find the time) before a feed.

From personal experience, both my children were happy to feed after and even, occasionally, during a workout regardless of intensity or wipe down!

IMG_2800.JPG

Top tips for exercising whilst breastfeeding

Wait until your 6-week check

I always recommend waiting until your 6 week GP check before starting any post-natal exercise. However, pelvic floor exercises can be started straight away. Remember, pregnancy and labour put a lot of pressure on your body and there is no rush to get started on a high-intensity exercise straight away. Consuming a well-rounded nutritional diet is a great way to start your healthy lifestyle in those early weeks.

Know your options

Although exercise has no known negative effects on breastmilk supply and content, if you are still concerned you may wish to express prior to exercise or work out after a feed. Other options include waiting half an hour post-workout for the Lactic Acid levels to subside before feeding again. Also remember to wipe down the breasts as sweat may cling to your skin, making the taste unknown to your baby.

Invest in a top quality support bra

I know this only too well from personal experience. If you’re serious about exercise, now is the time to invest in a good supportive workout bra, especially for high-intensity exercises such as jumping and jogging.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated during exercise is very important. It’s not necessary to ‘over-drink’ or force fluids, however always make sure you carry water with you. Sip it often throughout the day especially when exercising.

Enjoy your workout time

Finally, ENJOY your time. If you’re working out alone embrace these rare moments to focus on you, and should your workouts take place at home with your little one have fun with it. Exercise doesn’t have to be too serious or too strict. Find the fun in feeling healthy and encouraging your little one to grow up with positive energy in a healthy environment.

IMG_2853.JPG

How to balance fitness with family life 

How to balance fitness with family life 

Believe it or not, balancing a healthy lifestyle with family life is relatively easy, once you get into the swing of it. I have first hand experience there! The hardest part is certainly getting started. We seem to live in a time, where people find themselves caught up in cycles of unhealthy habits, which can be tough to break. But keeping active and remaining an active member of your family is doable!

Breastfeeding: The Beautiful, The Bad and The Balance

Breastfeeding: The Beautiful, The Bad and The Balance

I’LL BE HONEST, I’VE ALWAYS CONSIDERED MYSELF ONE OF THOSE MUMS THAT DOESN’T ENJOY BREASTFEEDING. I’VE BEEN FAIRLY OUTSPOKEN IN THE PAST ABOUT HOW EXHAUSTING I FIND BOTH THE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL DEMANDS, HOWEVER I RECENTLY WENT THROUGH A WEEK WHERE MY MILK SUPPLY REDUCED CONSIDERABLY AND AT ONLY 7 WEEKS POSTPARTUM WITH MY SECOND CHILD, I REALISED HOW MUCH I WOULD MISS IT IF I WASN'T ABLE TO CONTINUE. HAVE I BEEN TAKING IT ALL FOR GRANTED? OR IS BREASTFEEDING REALLY JUST OUTDATED AND OVER-RATED?


Pregnancy Self-Defence

Pregnancy Self-Defence

Prenatal women are being encouraged to love their bodies and celebrate it's incredible strength and natural ability during the trimesters. Staying active during this time is being embraced, with many women approaching labour feeling confident and strong. However, as much as being pregnant certainly does NOT mean being powerless, it's important to remember that when it comes to being a target of assault, a pregnant woman could still be considered 'vulnerable'. 

StrongLikeMum teamed up with the incredible Eve Torres-Gracie, Head Instructor at Gracie Women Empowered self-defense program, 3x WWE Divas Champion, actress, wife and mother! 

Prenatal Smoothie Ingredients

Prenatal Smoothie Ingredients

Getting a healthy balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals is always important especially during pregnancy. Smoothies are brilliant as they can be adapted to meet all increased fluid and nutrient needs, prevent any unwanted symptoms and cure a sweet craving all at the same time! 

But not just any ingredients will do the trick and what you put into your smoothie to get the correct balance is so important!

Running During Pregnancy

Running During Pregnancy

If you’re active pre-pregnancy, chances are you’ll be hoping to continue an active lifestyle during the three trimesters. Once the morning sickness wears off ( woooohoooo)! you may find you have enough energy to lace up rather the rest up. But how to adapt your training during this time? 

Here’s a few things you can expect from running when you’re expecting. 

Running on empty? Here's 5 Energy Boosting Tips!

Running on empty? Here's 5 Energy Boosting Tips!

Ever feel like you’re running on empty? I certainly have days like that... where you wake up and from the minute your feet touch the floor you feel like you’re chasing your tail. There just aren’t enough hours to get everything done, but in the same moment time drags and you feel exhausted and slow? 

Well, I’ve had enough of those days and earlier this year made it my focus to find 5 ‘set me free’ tricks to combat this! 

I hope they help you like they have me!! 

5 tips to Pre-Race Prep

I’m running 10km tomorrow. That’s the longest I’ve ever run in my life. People usually stare at me in disbelief when I say this as I'm generally considered a 'runner', but running events aren't all the same... and I promise, I am NOT a natural long distance runner. 

In my opinion, long distance runners are a little crazy. Why draw out the uncomfortable ache of running for hours when you could be done in seconds? 

Anyway, somehow I find myself on the eve of what I consider to be a marathon. 

Now, I can't say how real long distance athlete's prepare but here are my five MUST DO activities before race day! 

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 22.24.32.png

1. Mentally Prepare

As a sprinter, many people think you're lazy. While long distance runners can be seen going endlessly round the track, you’ll often find sprint groups huddled indoors resting for 10-15 minutes after a quick 300 sprint. 

But this ‘lazy’ nature is not why I put 'mentally prepare' at the top of the list. Ok ok, I’ll admit it, physically preparing for a 10km scares me and although serious endurance athletes will of course train for an event I decided to skip that stage this time and just ‘wing it’… ( tune in tomorrow to see how that goes)! 

Anyway, mentally preparing for a race is so important! Getting yourself in a positive mindset. Replace nerves with anticipation and excitement! Enjoy the thrill of testing your physical abilities. Know that you’ll give it the best you’ve got and that’s the perfect amount! 

RELAXED RUNNING is hammered in to you as a sprinter and I plan to adopt that mindset for tomorrows adventure too! 

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 07.34.47.png

2. Muscular Prep

I’ve talked about foam rolling before on this blog and that is key before race day. To put it plainly tight muscles won’t perform efficiently so get out your foam roller! For more reason’s on why and HOW check out my previous post here

My second tip for physical prep is all about Human Tecar. This is my go-to pre-race treatment. They have a great sports massage cream but if that’s not for you then grab a bottle of Arnica oil ( oil, not cream) and gently massage those tights spots in your quads or calves! 

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 07.33.47.png

3. Actually Prepare

.

The ‘boring’ bit as far as I’m concerned! But honestly nothing kills race-day like panicking about a lost train ticket or missing sports kit! Get it all laid out the day before. I write list's of all the food I’ll need to take and prep everything in the fridge. Remember to pack your race kit and water bottle, as well as planning out your travel journey and give yourself plenty of time!

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 07.33.32.png

4. Nutrition Tips

 

 

Carb loading. You’ll here marathn runners talking about this and as it feels like that distance to me I’ll be doing the same. Carbohydrates are crucial for long lasting energy so make sure to maintain a healthy diet pre-race day! Similarly, lean protein and healthy fibre is also key!

In addition, don’t forget to HYDRATE! Dry mouth is a bugger for 400 meters let alone 10km!

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 07.34.22.png

5. A Proper playlist

 

.

Now some people choose not to run to music but I generally don’t associate with them. They’re crazy. For me Music is a motivator so spend some time planning out a killer playlist for the event. And if music isn't your thing maybe download a good podcast ( or perhaps a Harry Potter audio tape… which is definitely not on my playlist… ahem….. I wonder what happens after Dolorous Umbrage ban's Potter from quidditch)…..

 

Well that's it, my 5 top tips for pre-race prep. Let me caviet this all by reiterating that I've never actually run a 10km before, so follow this advice at your own risk. 😂😳

I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes. 

Skip Ropes | Not Breakfast

Skip Ropes | Not Breakfast

We’ve all had those mornings where we’ve been sooooooo rushed off our feet that the idea of sitting down for a bowl of cereal is far from our minds. It’s 2017 and that means everything is  ‘on demand’ or ‘instant’ and breakfast just doesn’t seem to fit the mould!

People seem eager to slim down but amongst the diets fads and protein shakes no one seems to be stating the obvious; Eat well and exercise more. 

Family Fun

Family Fun

‘Playing’ is a word often associated with kids but did you know that according to leading psychiatrists, Playtime is just as crucial for adults as it is for children! Dr Stuart Brown is quoted as saying ‘Nothing light’s up the brain like play’! and it seem’s he’s not alone. Einstein in his own words stated that ‘Play is the highest form of research’ and, if historical theory’s are correct, there's a reason that Archimedes shouted ‘Eureka’ in his bath, not the laboratory!