Healthy Habits

Running and Breastfeeding : My first run after giving birth

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, midwife or nurse. The information expressed in the series “Running and Breastfeeding – By” should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before running during postpartum.

I started running a week after I gave birth to my son Paul. I was itching to start running again and my delivery was natural with no pain relieve – that wasn’t necessarily by choice.The little man made his entrance into the world so fast that there wasn’t time for anything – We made it to the hospital just in time and he was born before the doctor even arrived. Big Healthy boy born on a very rainy morning, weighing 3.9kg, and 54cm long.

I ran throughout my whole pregnancy up until 37 Weeks when Lightning crotch and pressure got too intense, I was forced to stop. I believe that keeping fit and healthy is what helped me to deliver my son so fast, but it still hurt, no jokes its the most intense experience I’ve ever had.

It was amazing how my body did all the work, even against my better judgement and wanting to just keep everything in, haha… I was very proud when he was born, I was proud of myself for achieving something so big, and I was proud of myself for sticking to my running and exercise whilst I was pregnant, because it paid off.

After about three days my body started to feel better again – I’m saying better because my body still doesn’t feel like it is back to normal again, but I have a feeling I’m gonna have to get used to a new normal as I don’t think anything goes back to exactly the way it was.

My first run was hard – I planned on doing a normal 5km route close to my house that I ran pretty often before and during my pregnancy. I remember I was still wearing a maternity support belt nice and tight to keep all my jiggly parts from , well jiggling. I have to be honest it hurt. It took me 43min to run 4.4km it was bad.

At first my balance felt very off, and I couldn’t find a rythym. It was like my body was confused as to what it was doing. The main reason for this I thing it because my core was practically non-exsistant. During your pregnancy, no matter what size your bump gets you abdominal muscles undergo quite a stretch, and they have to be somewhat activated again before things can just go back to normal.

During the run I got a constant stitch and I think at about half way I realized that if I went any further that I would be in trouble and I would have to end up walking back whatever I couldn’t run. My pace was also not very fast, in fact I would consider it to be the same pace that I walk when I walk nice and fast, haha but it felt like I was running, just really slow.

Because my core was not responding as it normally would it was hard to keep a good running form and I would end up stumbling often because I was somewhat off balance. For nine months my center of gravity had shifted and after running for 25 weeks with a belly it felt kinda weird being so light.

“Wanting to succeed in breastfeeding was one of my main goals,and so was getting myself back to the fitness level I was before, and to be honest, I wasn’t about to compromise on either of those two.”

During this run I came to terms with the amount of work that I would have to do to get my body back to its previous running form, it felt very daunting and intimidating knowing now that I have a hard road ahead of me to get back to where I was with running pre-pregnancy.

Allot of people were surprised that I started running so quickly again, everyone kept telling me to relax, take my time, give myself a break. What they didn’t know was that ‘giving myself a break’ was actually not what I needed, and that I wanted to so badly feel like myself again and running was the only way to get back to it. I was also told by many others that running and exercising will impact my milk. Wanting to succeed in breastfeeding was one of my main goals,and so was getting myself back to the fitness level I was before, and to be honest, I wasn’t about to compromise on either of those two.

My First Trail race after baby – On Mothersday – I won the 5km in 27min, 7 weeks postpartum.

I did some research about Milk production and how everything works, and I read a very good explanation as to why exercising should not affect your milk.

It was an analogy explaining how Cats and Mice feed their young and that in order to survive both spices needed to be active – the Mouse had to run from predators in in order to survive and the cat had to run and hunt prey in order to survive. Both animals running/exercising whilst feeding their young.

I have also from personal experience noticed that my milk did not in fact get less, and my Son keeps putting on weight, and his a big boy, so he really has his fill in a feeding. I’ve also learnt a few tricks along the way from research and from other Mothers that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks, starting with a post every week, so keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for when its posted.

If your currently Pregnant and want to continue running have a look at my ‘Running Pregnant’ Series, click on the links below:

Running pregnant: first trimester

Running pregnant: second trimester

Running pregnant: third trimester

Also follow me on Pinterest for more interesting articles on Running, Running and Breastfeeding and other Health related things

Happy Running




  • Yolande Engelbrecht

    Awesome write. Looking forward to Every week’s post Jani.
    You have inspired me running throughout my pregnancy and now I Would Also like to follow your experience and tips to breatsfeeding and running. So far So good, started running this week baby is 13days today. I felt good but out of breath is my biggest struggle at the moment. Not too sure how that works I Would Have thought with Baby out and lungs having much better space to expand, but not EXPERIENCing that at all at the moment.

    • Jani du Toit

      Hi Yolande

      Thank you for the comment!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the article – well done on heading out for a run again – it feels a little daunting the first few days, and your body is quite tender after the first run but it will get better – I’m 3 months postpartum now and have to say I’m only starting to run a little more comfortably. I also felt out of breath – getting stitch the whole time, you’ll see, that will also improve with time – your body has to get used to being lighter again and all your organs have to move back to their previous state – once that happens I’m sure your breathing will become easier – We tend to try and compare our postpartum running to pre-pregnancy running, and its two completely different states. We have to learn to re adapt again.


  • Angela Shellhaas

    Hey Girl! I Relate to you To you so much except for running a week after delivery i didn’t do that but I get it! I worked out daily my entire pregnancy too not running but in my home and lifting weights, even a short 20 minute workouT the day i DELIVERED one day before my Due date and was lucky to get to the hospital in time! My daughter was born 22 minutes after we arrived at the hospital and i was sleeping two hours before that. I had no Time for drugs either but happily would have had them if there was any time! This is my third And i nursed and workEd out with my second for 18 months! This has been my easiest and quickest recovery but i havent started working out again yet, i will start Next week at 6 weeks PP. i frustrates me getting unsOlicited advice ans concern about when i should start working out again from those who know NOTHING about my story, delivery or body! Its sounds like youve EXPERIENCEd similar naysayers. Good for you for doing you! You inspire me!:)

    • Jani du Toit

      Hi Angela

      Thank you so much for the comment! Well don on the fast delivery Paul also arrived about 17 minutes after we arrived at the hospital, I expected things to take a lot longer than it did! (hahaha) But I’m happy it all worked but the way it did! I really believe that the exercise helped wit the fast delivery, otherwise we just have very impatient children! haha! You know when its the best to start exercising again so trust your gut!

      I always just smile and nod when people tell me things I don’t necessarily agree with – People always think they know best. 🙂

      Thank you so much for the compliment , I hope i can continue to inspire – Check out the next article on running and breastfeeding – let me know if you have any other questions! xx

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