Will exercising reduce my milk supply?

In this post, I’m answering a question I get asked all the time… and it’s a common myth that women are told. Will exercising reduce my milk supply? The short answer… no. The long answer… keep reading!

And if you’d like to learn more about losing weight while breastfeeding, read this helpful post! Or this one. And if you’re looking for even more help on your weight loss & breastfeeding journey, check this out. Alright now that you have a million tabs open, let’s answer your question about exercising reducing your milk supply.

If I had a dollar for every time I get asked: “Won’t exercising reduce my milk supply?” I would be mega-rich right now!

This information is simply not true. It has sabotaged a lot of mothers’ fitness goals and journeys because they think they’re doing what’s best for their babies. But rest assured, there is no truth to this myth because that is just what it is…a myth!

Not only is it NOT harmful to your supply, but exercising in the postpartum period actually has many benefits far beyond simply getting back in shape (which is a great benefit all by itself!) You’ll have better sleep (and as moms, we all know this is probably the number one most appealing benefit!!), more energy, and a better sense of well-being. You’ll get some much-needed “me time” as well. I want you all to know that you can, and should, fit exercise into your day!

Exercise and Milk Supply

So how does this milk production thing work? The amount of milk a woman produces is, at its very basic, a matter of supply and demand. The more your baby nurses from you, the more milk you will produce. Another thing that could affect milk supply is calorie intake. If you’re not eating well and enough, your body won’t be making enough milk.

And that may be where the myth that exercising reduces milk supply comes in. Exercise burns energy/calories, of course. So while staying active, it’s important to make up for the calories you’re losing by exercising. Now that doesn’t mean to go run out and buy all the cookies and eat them all. You should try to eat well in general, but don’t be too worried about restricting calories right now. For more on this topic, see my blog post on dieting while breastfeeding. If you don’t, it could cause a reduction in milk supply, but again, this is due to not replacing the calories burned by exercise rather than the exercise itself.

What studies say about exercise and milk supply

The research is there to prove it: exercising is not an issue while breastfeeding! One study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that exercising for 45 minutes a day 5 days a week had no adverse effects on participants’ milk supply or composition compared to the control group. The study also found that the women who were exercising were consuming more calories as a result, which makes sense in light of what we talked about above. In fact, the study rightly said that far from being detrimental to breastfeeding,  I want you all to know that you can, and should, fit exercise into your day!

Tips for exercising while breastfeeding

One thing I think it is important to talk about is the importance of getting the correct type of bra for exercising! A bra that’s too tight can result in leakage or an infection(mastitis). A bra that’s too loose can leave you in pain because you’re not getting enough support.

You want to keep those ladies supported and happy! Try getting professionally fitted for a bra, since your old pre-pregnancy bra size likely no longer is correct because of breast growth. A breastfeeding bra usually won’t cut it. And a too tight or too loose bra may become an excuse to not work hard because it might leave you in pain!

So, worry no more as there is no reason to avoid exercising simply because you are breastfeeding! As long as your diet accounts for the fact that you’re supporting a whole new little life, and you drink plenty of water, you should not have any concerns!

Get out there and exercise, girl! 

In addition, you’ll have all the amazing benefits exercise has to offer in the postpartum period. If you’re looking for more help on your breastfeeding and pregnancy journey, check out this guide that I’ve created just for you. And if you have any questions about your own exercise reducing your milk supply, message me on Instagram @nathaliamelofit.

Finally, before you go, share this post to Pinterest. Help other mamas answer the question: Will exercising reduce my milk supply? And learn about this silly MYTH that we should definitely not follow. You can also follow me there @nathaliamelofit.

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