The breastfeeding runner.. an oxymoron?!

 

The words breastfeeding runner are for many an oxymoron.

While there are a few privileged mamas whose milk is not affected by exercise, many women will not be able to practice vigorous exercise (cardio) and continue to produce adequate breast milk for their babe.

I (Kit) 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. I didn’t run far (max 5 km’s), 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 my running. While I did manage to walk on the treadmill (when I got to gym, if ever) or do some light toning exercises at home, what I struggled with the most at this point was simply the NOT KNOWING what I (postpartum) could or couldn’t do. I am now currently 32 weeks pregnant with number 2 and I honestly cannot tell you how excited I am to have access to our Early-Postpartum workout programme this time round. The programme is created to be done as a home workout, it includes a gradual increase in difficulty while totally ensuring that you’re SAFE as you recover from birthing your babe (Caesar or natural birth).

 

So when did I start running again?

Due to severe reflux, and as prompted by our paed, we had to start Se on solids at 3 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 from when Se was around 4- 5 months old. I chose, due to reasons of my own, to begin my running again very gradually. I loved getting back into it, but I chose not to compete at all in my first year postpartum apart from a fun 9km trail race that Robs (the other Ffitmoms co-founder) and I did together at 9 months postpartum – and truth be told, us supposed fit-runners, nearly died of exhaustion. And then I hit 10 months postpartum and fell preggers with baby no 2 and so I once again limited the distance and intensity of my running, and stopped completely at 12 weeks pregnant (again just my choice).

 

My 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 and can begin cardio again and still have sufficient milk to breastfeed your babe.

It’s such a personal choice though and this really is, just my story. Feel free to message me, if you have any questions or comment below with your experience.

 

 

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