HOW TO EAT HEALTHY AND EXERCISE WHILE BREASTFEEDING WITHOUT HURTING YOUR MILK SUPPLY
Whether you are trying to get back in shape after baby or simply aiming to stay in line with your active and healthy lifestyle, it is completely possible to exercise and eat healthy while breastfeeding, without losing your milk supply.
In general, there are four common reasons why a women’s milk may dry up or have a dip.
- Not staying hydrated
- Not consuming enough calories
- Not pumping or feeding enough
- Having too much stress
With that being said, let’s dig into how you can eat healthy and exercise while taking the proper precautions to ensure you keep up a high milk supply.
HEALTHY FOODS TO INCREASE YOUR MILK SUPPLY
There are some foods that can help promote a healthy milk supply naturally:
- Almonds – raw to be exact are great for increasing your milk supply. TIP: – keep a handful in your purse and by your nightstand for quick snacking options. Blue Diamond Almonds are delish and come in snack sizes.
- Dark Beer – TIP: Make sure your beer of choice is dark and hoppy. Guinness beer is always a solid choice!
- Alfalfa Sprouts – a great salad or sandwich topping that most of us forget as an option.
- Fennel – actually an herb which makes it harder to eat, but easy to throw into foods. I recommend just getting it from the Mother’s Milk Tea instead.
- Fenugreek – is an herbal supplement that can be taken in a capsulated form. Also found in the Mother’s Milk Tea, but better to take in addition as a stand-alone. New moms need approximately 3500 mg to get its best effects.
- Oatmeal – a great way to increase milk supply and get a healthy meal or snack for that matter. Don’t get the instant oatmeal though, get the good Steel Cut Oats.
HOW TO “DIET” EFFECTIVELY WHILE BREASTFEEDING
I don’t like the word diet because it makes people believe they must restrict foods and that couldn’t be further from the truth. The point of eating is to fuel your body with nutrient rich foods to give yourself energy. When breastfeeding, moms need approximately 500 more calories than they normally would. Because you are breastfeeding 24/7, you need to be eating more often as well. To keep up your supply, it is important to keep the fuel coming. This is why I mentioned keeping a supply of food by your nightstand because it is important to have healthy options ready at all hours of day. Start with a great caddy and fill it up with everything you will need; diapers, wipes, diaper cream, nipple cream, water, healthy snacks, gum, Chapstick, etc. TIP: – these also make great baby shower gifts.
Being a new mom is hard enough, don’t let food be an added stress. There is no need to do a huge meal prep each week, just simple have healthy options on hand for when it’s time to eat. See a sample eating plan below to gauge how much food you will truly need, customize where needed.
Breakfast Option 1 – Coffee (Decaf, or only 1 cup if Caffeinated). Oatmeal with Banana, Strawberries, and Almond Milk on Top.
Breakfast option 2 – 2 Eggs, Whole Wheat Toast and ½ Serving of Oatmeal. Fruit of Choice.
Snack – Apple with Cheese. Handful of Oatmeal Square Cereal.
Lunch Option 1 – Large Salad with Spinach, Grilled Chicken, Dried Cherries, Whole Wheat Croutons and Yogurt Dressing or Vinaigrette of Choice (low-fat option).
Lunch Option 2 – Chicken Salad Sandwich. Try using Avocado instead of Mayo. Throw in Celery and Grapes for texture. I like the Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins or a Spinach Wrap instead of traditional bread.
Snack – 12 Almonds or a Protein Bar
Dinner Option 1 – Grilled or Roasted Chicken with Herbs, Sweet Potato and a Large Serving of Green Beans.
Dinner Option 2 – Large Salad (if I choose a sandwich for lunch, I typically do a salad for dinner) with Spinach, Lean Steak or Fish, Feta Cheese, Tomatoes, Avocado and Balsamic Dressing.
Snacks (this includes a snack during the night while breastfeeding too) – Protein Bar, Protein Shake or Trail Mix.
Delivering a baby takes a lot out of a new mom so the two most important things to focus on (besides taking care of baby) are to eat healthy and to get as much sleep as possible (this may seem like a joke, but it’s not). After those two things are adequately being taken care of, it is important to incorporate exercise back into your daily routine. YES I did say DAILY. Exercise is so important for a new mama’s mental well-being as well as their body. Start out with 10-minute mini-sessions and work your way up from there.
WALKING – When I first started exercising the week after both of my kids were born, I simply started with walking outside. This gave me and my babies a chance to get outside and out of the house which is good for all involved. If you ran before, chances are you can run fairly quickly after. Another low-impact option is an elliptical.
10-MINUTE WORKOUTS – there are so many great FREE workouts on YouTube you can find just by searching. However, because there are some not-so good ones too, I recommend getting a monthly membership to Beachbody, giving you hundreds of options to choose from each day. Beachbody even has a 14-Day Free Trial to see if you like what it has to offer. Try it out! Incorporate these 10-Minute Workouts into your day; maybe after you first lay your baby down for a nap or during tummy time, etc. It’s only 10 minutes so you can fit it in. Trust me, it is very doable.
The number one reason for low milk production is typically because the new mama isn’t hydrating enough. Breastfeeding moms, on average, need to drink an extra 32 ounces of water each day. If you are working out, or drinking coffee, you’ll need to add even more to replenish what you are losing. Roughly a breastfeeding mom should be drinking around 100 ounces per day or ¾ of a gallon. I know it seems like a lot, and is why so many mamas struggle with it. TIP: – add cucumber and lemon to your water to add flavor and added detoxifying benefits.
RELAX AND ENJOY
Having a new baby can be stressful, don’t let breastfeeding be another struggle. Do your best and most of all enjoy your new baby! If your milk supply doesn’t come in after exhausting all options, give yourself a break and move forward. The most important thing is that you and your baby is healthy, loved and happy.
Meet the Author:
Hello, I’m Tara! I live in Traverse City, Michigan with my husband and 2 children. I also have 2 step-children who are adults and out in the world. I have a background in Marketing & Advertising, but currently staying at home with my littles. I am passionate about being a mom, wife, and fitness enthusiast. I believe in living a well-balanced, healthy and organized life. I enjoy helping, motivating and encouraging others to do the same. You can find my more from me on my blog Mom Wife Fitness Life.