Diet and Exercise Plan for a Breastfeeding Mom

  • Tuesdays – walk only
  • Wednesdays – HIIT (12-15min), walk. Here’s a sample of a typical HIIT workout: 
    Table Start with a 5 minute warm up. I do dynamic stretching (stretching while staying moving, unlike static stretches where you hold the stretch), progressing to some jumping jacks and high knees.
    50 Jump Squats
    10 rest
    50 Clean & Press
    10 rest
    50 180-Jumps
    10 rest
    50 Renegade Push Ups/Rows
    10 rest
    Repeat this a total of 5 times for a 20 minute workout. End with a 10 minute stretching cool down. I like to stretch out my arms, then my hamstrings, my inner thighs, my quads, and then perform a few sun salutations. I also add in cat/cow to stretch out my back and hips, and end in child’s pose.
  • Thursdays – cardio (jumprope, running, trail running, kickboxing), walk
  • Fridays – HIIT (12-15min), walk
  • Saturdays – walk only
  • Sundays – track workout 20-30 min (sprints, plyometrics, hill sprints, stadium runs)

My focus is short, intense workouts because I have very limited time in between baby feedings and baby naps! I’ll also be continuing daily walks with the baby, probably more like 2 miles. It’s good for both of us to get out in the sun each day!

Note: if you are also choosing the intense, shorter workouts, make sure you’re feeding baby before your workout. A few small studies have found a buildup of lactic acid in breastmilk following high intensity (to the point of exhaustion) exercise, and also a small decrease in supply in the 90 minutes following the workout.

Troubleshooting

If milk supply begins to diminish and/or you’re losing fat too quickly (more than 1 lb per week after initial post-pregnancy weight loss):

  • increase daily calorie intake by 50-100 calories with protein and/or fat, or add in 1-2 higher calorie days per week
  • decrease intensity of workouts and focus on longer, less intense exercise
  • make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and add an extra glass before, during, and after workouts

If fat loss plateaus:

  • decrease daily calorie intake by 50-100 calories with carbohydrates (start with starches like whole grain breads, or remove a few “fun foods”)
  • increase intensity of workouts, make sure you are adequately strength training
  • add in a form of low-level activity, like walking, to increase activity level

It’s possible that your body may not want to drop fat while you are breastfeeding, no matter what you do. We all have different hormonal profiles. My body likes to store fat in my legs and rear when I’m breastfeeding (and pregnant), no matter what I’m eating or how much I’m exercising. It’s such a short and important time for my baby in the grand scheme of things, so I have to tell myself that some things will just have to wait. The number one priority for baby and for me is good health and feeling well.

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