The breastfeeding runner


The words ‘breastfeeding runner’ are for most of us, an oxymoron…

While there are a few privileged mamas whose milk is not affected by exercise, research shows that around 80% of women will not be able to practice vigorous (if any) exercise and continue to produce adequate breast milk for their babe.

I learnt the hard way.

After falling preggers just 1 month after running my first silver {sub 1:30 half marathon) in the 2 Oceans in 2015 and then not being allowed to run my entire pregnancy, you can imagine my desire to get out onto the road as soon as possible post-partum. And so…I attempted running at 6 weeks post-partum. And in me-style, I didn’t attempt one run and see how it went feeding the next day; no, I decided to run 3 days in a row, pushing Se in her pram. But after 2 nights of hell, this determined-mama quickly learnt that it was absolutely off the cards if I wanted to breastfeed. Often my boobs would still look full but Sarah would fuss and I would eventually realize that my milk supply was low.

What I did instead of run

After my horrid few nights of no milk, I made a decision not to run until Se was on solids. Now, this decision wasn’t made easily as I love exercise, and especially my running. And so I decided to add in 1 formula bottle a day (just before Se went to bed) to allow me the leeway to fit in either a light workout at gym where I’d walk on the treadmill uphill and then do some planking, etc or I’d use the ‘7-minute- app’ and do a workout at home. This helped me to feel fit and strong even though my workouts were very limited.

Body love post-partum

I know it’s so tough to love your body in the shape it is postpartum but just knowing that you are giving your babe the best nutrients it can get made it so worth it for me. I also found the initial weight came off quickly (due to breastfeeding) and I then sat at a weight about 5kg’s over my ‘normal’ for a good couple months. Your weight distribution is different past-partum too and that too is something to come to grips with. One thing I started to do everyday, post-baby, was to put cream on my body after my daily bath/shower. This is beautiful self-respect practice that encourages your brain to focus on caring for your body. It has definitely had a positive effect on my love for my ‘new’ body.

So when can you start running again?

My husband and I decided to start Se on solids at 4 months (I realize this is different for everyone) but one benefit for me apart from the fact that Se loved her additional nutrients was that I gradually started running again. My milk was still affected immediately so I stuck to one or two 3km runs a week. Gradual, as I said, but I loved getting back into it and now 8months post-partum I can comfortably run 7km’s at my sub 5min-km pace.

Final thoughts…

Not everyone is affected in this way so I’d advise going for a run and seeing how your babe copes – maybe you’re one of the lucky ones.

It’s such a personal choice though. Feel free to message me, if you have any questions or comment below with your experience.


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