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Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Morning Q & A

Just as when I was pregnant and running, I am receiving lots of questions via your comments and email about now when I am breastfeeding and running, so I felt I should address some of these thoughts and questions. Apologies to the male readers if this has no appeal to you. However, it does involve the talk of "boobs," so maybe you do want to stick around.

Does running with nursing boobs hurt? Do you wear a special nursing sports bra?
I imagine it would hurt within the first week or two of breastfeeding, when the boobs get engorged and the nipples are sore, but I wasn't running then, so I can't comment on that. I began running again at 5 weeks post partum and by then, my breasts and nipples were used to the feeding, so I have never experienced any pain by running and continuing to breastfeed.

But, I do always pump beforehand, or if I run later in the day, I try to time the run right after Norah has fed, so that either way, I don't have full breasts when I set out for a run.

I do not use a special nursing sports bra. I wear my regular sports bras and they seem to work just fine, but there are special ones out there, and some doctors even advise women to double up on sports bras (I find this latter advice a little out-dated, but whatever works). I think the sports bra you choose would be partially dependent on your bra needs to begin with; the logic is simple: If you have especially large sweater bunnies to begin with, nursing is only gonna make 'em bigger, so keep that in mind.

How much do you eat and drink?
Personally, I have never been a calorie counter, so I can't say with any accuracy how many calories I consume a day, but it's probably a lot. Most literature advises breastfeeding moms to continue to eat as though they are pregnant since the extra calories are needed for milk production. Add to that the calories you expend during exercise, and a breastfeeding woman who is exercising probably needs at least 500-600 extra calories a day. But that's just a guess, and calorie needs would be dependent on how much/how far you're running, and to what extent your infant's needs are for breastmilk.

As far as drinking, basically the same prinicple as eating applies: You need a lot of fluid to produce milk; plus, you need additional fluids to replace those you sweat out. So, to be simple: Drink a lot of water. I drink about 100 oz of water a day. Plus, I have two cups of coffee in the morning, a glass or two of milk a day, and sometimes the occassional diet Sprite (oh, and the occassional beer -- you can have one drink and it won't affect your milk). My advice? Have a bottle of water on hand at all times and sip all day long. Just like any athlete thould do -- drink ahead of your thirst.

You're breastfeeding and running, you must be back to your pre-preggo weight already!
Nope. I'm not. I have about 4 lbs left to lose.

Despite the fact that I'm burning lots of calories with both breastfeeding and running, I am also consuming a lot. Many of you have probably trained for a marathon and gained weight, right? So you know that simply exercising is only one part of weight loss. But, I'm not particularly concerned with losing the remaining 4 lbs; I know it will happen gradually and I'm not in a hurry. My biggest concern is making sure I remain healthy and that my body has enough energy and calories to continue to produce milk, so if I hang onto a few extra pounds for awhile, it's okay.

Doesn't exercising while breastfeeding make your milk "sour"?
Nonsense. There have been lots of studies on this and the scientific conclusion is that ideas such as that one are hooey.

Any advice for a mom who is breastfeeding and thinking of returning to running?
I am no expert, and can only speak from personal experience, but I would say that my advice would be the same as anyone beginning to run: Eat plenty, hydrate, and get plenty of sleep. The last is probably most often overlooked by new mothers, but it is probably one of the biggest things for me. I need my Zzzzzzs. And, I'm lucky because for the past 3 weeks or so, Norah has been sleeping from about 7 pm to 7 am, so I can ensure that I get my full 8 hours a night by going to bed around 8:30 or 9 if I get up and run at 5 am. And truthfully, even on the days when I don't run, I allow myself to sleep until she wakes up around 7, so there are some nights when I too get about 10-11 hours of sleep. And trust me, I need it!

I know there are other breastfeeding, running moms who read this blog, or those who may not presently be doing this, but have done so in the past, so feel free to add to these comments and/or questions!


B.o.B. said...

Hm. So many answers to questions that I may need some day. Here's hoping I find someone to produce a baby with. LOL!

Marlene said...

Despite not being a Mom or breastfeeding, I have definitely wondered about a few of these questions. Interesting.

keep it up, Momma!

TNTcoach Ken said...

LMAO! You had me with the boobs comment but then lost me after the first question.

Stephanie said...

These are great!

I'm not even half way through my pregnancy yet, but I'm going to try and be like you :)

Casey said...

Thanks for the tips! Ms. Violet is due "any minute" this week, so your blog post is well-timed!

Heather said...

Those are all great tips! I had to wear a larger sports bra while I was breastfeeding, my pre-preggo one was just too tight.

LeahC said...

perfect timing as I was just about to google "breastfeeding and running"


lifestudent said...

I went up a size in my sports bra too (like Heather). As for the extra 4lbs...your body usually holds onto a few lbs until you stop nursing. They'll fall off and you wont even notice it ;)

shellyrm said...

Great info!
Women need to know that there are lots of mommys out there who still run through pregnancy and while nursing and they are all the healthier for having done it! Best advice, listen to your body.

Krissy said...

Very nicely done! I agree with everything, my only issue is that right now I am trying to sort through my b.feeding oversupply issues and working out with partially full boobies is the worst! In about a week I should be back on track where I can start pumping again, just in time for when I return to work!

Tanya said...

I'll add my comments because I am in the same boat as Jess--I am nursing and running as well.

I was just wearing my preggo sports bra but that seemed to not provide a lot of support with the increased ta tas (I HATE any bounce) so I have doubled up on sports bras. I hate doubled up sports bras as well, so I ordered an Enell sports bra and am waiting on that to arrive. I'm only running 2-3 mi 3x/week (9 wks post partum), but I hope to increase my mileage when my ligament issues decrease somewhat. The ligaments that were bugging me and actually caused me to stop running at 33 wks still bug me unfortunately, so I am working on core strength and stretching to take care of that issue.

I too feed the big guy and then pump out the rest in the morning before a run. I can't wait too long because running with milky ta-ta's is uncomfy...I won't get into the details. He has no problem nursing after a run, but I make sure I wash off before I nurse so he doesn't have to work with salty skin.

Eating/drinking-I am still 8 lbs over pre-preggo weight so I started watching what I ate last week--I want all my clothes to fit again!! I eat more because I am nursing and working out, but I am careful. I am a lifetime WW member, so I eat 30-32 pts/day while b.f. if that means anything to anyone.

Listen to your body and don't go out too quickly. You need to recover from pregnancy. The risk of injury due to the hormones and your body getting back to normal is higher than it was pre-preggo. The last thing you want to do is add an injury to preggo recovery.

Happy running preggos and nursers!

teacherwoman said...

All very interesting!

BTW, nice job on the 6 miler yesterday!

MCM Mama said...

Having done the nursing and running thing with two kids, I have to agree with all of your answers. Glad it's still working well for you.

Carolina John said...

i think breastfeeding is the best pure calorie burner i have ever seen. kelley started weight watchers while still nursing and it really made a huge difference. those last 4 lbs will come off of you in no time and with no effort, i promise.

RazZDoodle said...

you wrote "boobs". *snicker*

Razz = 6 years old

kelsalynn said...

I love you! You're so stinkin' funny! YOu crack me up!

Funny, but quite informative!

I have to tell you in response to your comment that I have to CLIMB THE PULL-UP BAR at our gym. I can't even jump up to reach it. I have to climb the sides then scootch over to where the bar is and then grab onto it. I look foolish but I don't care. It's the only way I can get up there!

Amanda said...

Awesome informative post. I have a feeling I'll be back to review this one in 8 months or so.

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

is it WRONG to HATE you for getting 10-11 hours of sleep a night with such a younging? My kids are 3 and 1 and I STILL haven't gotten a full nights sleep, EVER ! LOL!

ok here's my two cents to add!

1) When you aren't running, TAKE OF THE SPORTS BRAS!! I got mastitis a handful of times before i realized it was because I was wearing the super tight sports bras more often than necessary. And believe me , mastitis is miserable :(

2) while your milk doesnt "sour" , some babies tummies are sensitive to the lactate build up in the milk post LONG run (my kids were, they spit up everytime)But it does pass naturally after a few hours, so I had to plan feedings accordingly.

Great blog Jess! This will certainly help other new moms!

inmytummy said...

I'm not a mother, but find these questions and answers really interesting.

Nikki said...

Great info Jess! Maybe if I ever am allowed to run again, it will be helpful for me! Ha ha. Norah's lucky to have such a fit mom!