Are you a breast feeding mom? Do you want to work out, but are a little stressed about it?
Trust me, I know how it feels.
My baby boy is 5 months right now. And I’m getting over Mastisis, a bacterial breast infection caused by bacteria entering the breast and or due to clogged milk ducts, for the 2nd time around. I’m just getting over a bout because I was over feeding on once side in the wee hours. I did not realize because at night I nurse half-asleep, or while asleep, trying to catch some zzz… Oh the joys of motherhood! 🙂
You can get clogged milk ducts or the infection any number of ways. Tight bras or clothing, over-nursing on one side, skipped feedings without pumping, not enough pumping (especially for working moms). And the list can go on.
The more friends I reach out to about this, the more I realize this is more common than I’d researched online. 🙁
And as a mom who works out, I make sure that my workouts don’t interfere with my nursing or developing Mastisis again. So here are some tips if you’re looking to incorporating working out post-baby and avoiding developing this mess.
Preparing for the Gym as a Breastfeeding Mom
Anytime I need to go to the gym, there are a few things I need to do to prepare to make sure that I’m timing it right. For one, I make sure that I feed the baby before I go. I then recruit my daughter or husband to help watch the baby. You may have an older son or daughter who can take care of the baby while you’re at the gym. Another option is have a neighbor watch the baby.
It’s easier to workout at night for me. If this is the case for you, time your gym trip when the baby goes down for the first time, maybe like 8:00 PM after you’re done with dinner.
Typically, once I’m done with feeding, I will leave the house no later than 45 minutes after that last feeding, and then I’m at the gym no more than 45 minutes. With travel time, I’m gone about 50 minutes to an hour, so that gives me a little 15 minute buffer to get ready for the next feeding since my son eats every two hours. Yours may be a little longer. Yours may be two and a half or three hours. If so, bless you! 🙂
But if you are like me, and the baby eats every two hours, you will want to time it as best as possible. So when you’re at the gym, spend no more than 45 minutes there.
Pumping Milk Before Pumping Iron!
If you’re a mom who solely pumps, then you also want to make sure that you pump well in advance before you plan your trip to the gym. If you’re typically the one who feeds the baby, try and get someone else to. Make sure that when you go the gym, you use your nursing bra. You really can use that as a sports bra. That’s probably the best support you’re going to get.
Your regular sports bra will be too tight on you (unless you’ve purchased bigger ones – and I don’t recommend wasting your money). If you use your old sports bras, you are going to increase the risk of getting Mastisis from that tight bra constricting your milk flow. Use disposable nursing pads to avoid any possible leakage, especially if you’re cutting it close on time. If you’re worried about the bra showing through, wear two t-shirts or a light hoodie over your t-shirt or sports attire.
Have a Workout Plan: What are you going to be working on?
When you get to the gym, know what you’re going to do. Are you going to be working on legs? Are you going to do a total body circuit work out? Are you going to do upper body? Make sure you plan ahead what you’re going to do because if you’re not sure what you’re going to do, then you’re going to burn some time trying to figure out what your workout is going to be. It’s going to drive you insane. If you’re just doing cardio, then do cardio. But have a plan.
Try an at Home Workout
Another thing is if you’re short on time and you know the baby sleeps for about 30 minutes, you don’t even to leave the house to get a good workout in. You can try a lower body or upper body or a total body body weight circuit. You don’t even need weights. Try this short circuit.
Supermom body weight workout. Do this 3x:
Do as many of each of these exercises in 30 seconds and then take a 30 second rest (or march it out) in between each one.
Plank up downs
Reverse Lunges with Kicks
I hope that helps you with your scheduling. Being a nursing mom is tough, but with a little planning in advance, you can get a good workout in, get your “me time,” and regain your sanity! Win, win, win. 🙂
Resources for Nursing Moms:
Dali Burgado is an Amazon #1 Best-selling Author of “Defeat It! A Woman’s Guide To Crushing Life’s Challenges And Finally Living The Fit Life”, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Weight Management Specialist, and Certified Group Fitness Instructor based in Stafford, VA. She does online and in-home personal training in Northern Virginia.