Healthy Habits

Running and Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding Facts

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’ve stopped using the term “Breast is best” and now rather refer to “ Fed is best”

The reason for this is because I am grateful to be able to breastfeed my Baby as there are mothers out there that don’t have the opportunity to do the same for whatever reason. It can turn out to be a big disappointment for a mother when she is not able to breastfeed. Just know that you don’t have to feel like a failure because you have to supplement your babies feeds or move over to formula. As long as your baby is healthy and fed, that is the best!

Breastfeeding is a challenge and takes allot from a mother. It’s one if our most basic instincts, its a gift we give our children to be healthy and to thrive.

Here are a few facts about Breastfeeding and Breastmilk:

Mother’s milk is hypoallergenic, meaning it is rare for a baby to be allergic to breastmilk.

Breast milk naturally contains nutrients (called DHA and ARA) known to stimulate brain and vision development. Interestingly, boys who have nursed for at least six months score higher on standardized tests!

Breastfeeding has even more advantages for moms! It may lower a woman’s risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. You can lower your risk of many of these disorders by nursing for at least a year of your life (not necessarily with just one baby). You can lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke after menopause by 10% if you nurse for at least 1 month.

Exercise won’t hurt your milk supply. As long as you maintain a healthy diet, your milk supply should not be affected by exercise. Your body burns about 500 calories per day to produce the milk your baby needs. If you are exercising a lot, you have to make up for the extra calories expended.

Exercise won’t ‘dilute’ your milk. Studies show that exclusively breastfed babies of moms who exercise regularly grow just as robustly as those whose moms are sedentary. Those bonus immune-boosters in breast milk aren’t altered with moderate exercise. Other studies shows that women who performed moderate exercise for 30 minutes 3-4 times per week had the same levels of the immune-boosting compounds in their breast milk as those who didn’t exercise.

You may have heard that bone density decreases during breastfeeding. The good news is that, like bone lost during pregnancy, bone lost during breastfeeding is usually recovered within 6 months after breastfeeding ends.

Fresh breast milk is always better for the baby than frozen. Freezing/warming destroys certain properties in your milk, such as some vitamins and antibodies. So, while this thawed breast milk is still better for your baby than formula, it is better to pump for the next day’s supply and only have an emergency stash of frozen milk in the freezer. If you are going to be away from your baby for a few days, then stockpiling in the freezer is the way to go!

You can store breast milk at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours, as long as the room is no warmer than 77F or 25C. You can store it in the fridge for 5 days. And in the freezer for 3 to 6 months as long as it is kept that 0F or -17C. You should store the milk towards the back of the freezer and not the door.

When pumping out Milk: 1.) Make sure to begin with clean hands and a clean breast pump. 2.) Use sterilized opaque plastic bottles (polypropylene) or polyethylene disposable bags to collect your milk. 3.) Start with 90ml servings of milk to freeze. When your baby is 3 months old, you can start storing 120-180ml servings. (Leave extra room in the container because fluids expand when frozen). Remember to put a collection date on the bottles or bags, and use the oldest milk first. See picture below:

It’s normal if your baby prefers one of your breasts! One of your breasts may produce more milk than the other, flow differently or be easier to latch onto. And your baby will figure that out and may develop a preference for the better-producing breast. Some babies will even refuse the breast that has slower flow or less volume.

Your breasts might feel empty after a few months, and this is not because your supply is getting less but a sign that your body is getting accustomed to the amount of breast milk needed. This happened to me and I got sooo worried, but there is no need to worry. Everything should still be working perfectly – your baby will let you know when there is no more milk.

The percentage of fat, protein, and sugar in breast milk not only varies from the beginning let-down (foremilk) to the latter part (hindmilk) of the nursing session, but also in the time of day. If you notice your baby seems more satisfied with your evening nursing sessions more than morning ones, it may be because your breast milk has more fat in it during that time of day.

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



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.