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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Is it Safe to Diet and Exercise while Breastfeeding?

Is it Safe to Diet and Exercise while Breastfeeding? #diet #exercise #breastfeedingHaving a baby changes so many things! Not only does it change your way of life, but your body changes also. If you are a new mother you may be wondering when you can start dieting and exercising again, so you can shed those extra pounds that you gained during your pregnancy. You may also be wondering is it safe to diet and exercise while breastfeeding. Below are some guidelines and tips for safely dieting and exercising while continuing to breastfeed.

Guidelines for Dieting While Breastfeeding

One very important guideline to remember is not to start dieting until after you’ve been nursing your baby for at least two months. Those first few months are crucial for creating a good supply and breastfeeding relationship. Even after the first two months you need to eat at least between 1500 and 1800 calories per day. Nursing your baby burns between 200 and 500 calories per day alone so you need to make sure you are getting enough calories to nourish yourself and keep your milk supply up. Any amount of calories below that range could put your milk supply at risk.

The best “diet” you can do for yourself and your baby is a healthy one. Don’t try quick fix diet plans or the latest trending diet that everyone is raving about. Instead eat healthy. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Make sure you are getting the correct servings of protein you need each day. Replace sweets and junk foods with healthier alternatives. Changing your eating habits and what you eat is not only much safer for you and your baby but will have long term effects instead of short term-like the latest diet fad.

Guidelines for Exercising While Breastfeeding

Moderate exercise while breastfeeding should not have any negative effects on the mother or the baby. Exercise is good for everyone! It strengthens you, gives you energy, and makes you feel good about yourself, so if you want to exercise you should do so! Some key guidelines to exercising while breastfeeding are to:

  • make sure you just don’t push yourself too far or overexert yourself and
  • remember to stay hydrated.

As long as you stick with those guidelines, you should be perfectly ok to exercise while breastfeeding.

Some good ways to get started exercising while breastfeeding is to start out slow. Push your baby in the stroller a few times a week on a nice walk outside. Then maybe go to a class at your local gym or do a workout DVD at home. Work your way up to pushing yourself a little bit, but remember not to overexert yourself and stay hydrated!  Do something that you enjoy! Exercise is a great stress reliever!

If you notice that your baby is fussy at the breast after you have exercised, it is probably just because she tastes the sweat on your body. You may need to shower or wash off your breasts after you exercise so baby doesn’t get that taste and not want to nurse.  Some babies won’t have any issues with this, but others might. If your baby does get fussy because of sweat you may just want to nurse her before you exercise so she will be happy and content until after you’ve exercised and showered.

If you follow these guidelines, and most importantly follow your body, you should be on your way to a healthier you!

What do you think about diet and exercise while breastfeeding?

photo credit: Andrew R. Whalley via photopin cc

Michelle is the mommy behind the blog The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a Second Time Mom! She is a stay-at-home mom to two small boys, ages 3 and 1. She loves to write about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and her crazy life as a mommy of two! 


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