Exercise-and-Breastfeeding-for-Outdoor-Enthusiasts-Mila-s-Keeper Mila's Keeper

Exercise and Breastfeeding for Outdoor Enthusiasts | Mila’s Keeper

In this article, we'll explore the many benefits of exercise and outdoor activities for breastfeeding moms and share some tips for safely and effectively incorporating them into your daily routine.

As a new mom, it can be challenging to balance the demands of caring for a newborn while also prioritizing your own health and well-being. Incorporating exercise into your routine can have real benefits for both you and your baby, especially when combined with outdoor activities like hiking and walking. So, embrace the beauty of nature and make exercise a part of your breastfeeding journey.

Exercise and Breastfeeding: A Natural Fit for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Outdoor activities and breastfeeding are a match made in heaven, especially for adventurous moms who love a good hike. The perks of getting outdoors while breastfeeding go way beyond just the fresh air. Let's dive into why hitting the trails or exploring nature with your little one can be a game-changer for both of you.

First off, outdoor exercises like hiking are fantastic for your health. They get your heart pumping, build strength, and help you maintain a healthy weight. But the benefits of outdoor activities go beyond just the physical. Being out in nature can work wonders for your mental health too. 

One study discovered that spending time in nature significantly improves new mothers’ postnatal well-being. Spending time in green spaces can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression- which is great for everyone, but even more so for breastfeeding moms. We know that when a mom is feeling stressed or anxious, it can affect the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps with milk flow during breastfeeding. So by getting outside and lowering stress levels, you could potentially boost milk production. 

Another great thing about exercising outside is that it’s something you can do with your baby, and on your own time. You don’t need to coordinate with anybody else to watch your baby while you go to a class, you can take off with your baby in tow whenever your schedule permits. 

Not only is exercising outdoors beneficial for your health, but it’s also good for your baby. Getting outside can help your baby get some vitamin D, awaken their senses, and expose them to new sights, sounds, and smells. It can also help them become better sleepers at night- maybe the biggest win of all! One study showed that babies who slept well at night were exposed to significantly more natural light than babies who weren’t. 

So, the next time you're feeling cooped up at home, grab your baby and head outside for a hike or a stroll in the park where you'll both benefit from the fresh air and exercise. 

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Best Exercise While Breastfeeding: Walking & Hiking

When it comes to exercise and breastfeeding, walking and hiking are at the top of the list. These activities offer a perfect blend of physical benefits and mental refreshments, making them ideal for new moms looking to stay active and healthy.

One of the key advantages of walking and hiking is their low-impact nature, which is gentle on the body, and especially important for women who may still be recovering from childbirth. Unlike high-impact exercises that can strain muscles and joints, walking and hiking provide a safe way to get moving without risking injury. This makes them particularly appealing for women who may be experiencing postpartum discomfort or looking to ease back into fitness after giving birth.

Walking and hiking are adaptable to your fitness level and can be done at your own pace. Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, you can tailor your outdoor activity to suit your needs.

Putting your baby in the stroller and getting out for a walk can be a good way for a little you time too. Lots of babies will fall asleep on a stroll, giving you a perfect opportunity to listen to an audiobook, some music or just enjoy the sounds outside. 

Worried about strolling around with your baby in the cooler temps? Just make sure they're properly dressed and they'll be fine. In some Nordic countries it's actually completely common to see babies sleeping in their stroller, bundled up in very cold temperatures. Plenty of people in Nordic countries think that not only do babies nap better in cooler temperatures outside, but that it's beneficial to their health. 

Overall, walking and hiking offer a host of benefits for breastfeeding moms, providing a fun, accessible way to stay active and healthy during this special time in your life.

Hiking & Running While Breastfeeding: Cardiovascular Benefits

Hiking and running are excellent cardiovascular exercises for breastfeeding moms. Running, in particular, is a high-impact activity that can help improve cardiovascular fitness and be a mood booster.

Breastfeeding moms should approach running with caution, especially if they're new to the activity or are still recovering from childbirth. Starting with a gradual jogging pace and listening to your body's cues can help prevent injury and ensure a safe workout. Also, be sure you speak with your healthcare provider and get the all-clear before you start any strenuous exercise like running while breastfeeding. 

Hiking, on the other hand, is a low-impact exercise that offers similar cardiovascular benefits without the high-intensity impact of running. Studies have shown that hiking can improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength, and enhance mental well-being. 

For breastfeeding moms, hiking can be a great way to get some fresh air and exercise while bonding with their babies. To safely enjoy hiking while breastfeeding, it's important to choose trails that are suitable for your fitness level and to wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Don't forget to pack a little bag- bringing along snacks and staying hydrated will help maintain your energy levels and milk supply.  

By balancing the intensity of running and hiking with the needs of breastfeeding, moms can enjoy the many benefits of these outdoor activities while supporting their overall health and well-being.

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Synchronizing Breastfeeding and Exercise: Timings and Practical Tips

Synchronizing breastfeeding and exercise is a common concern for new moms, but with some strategic planning, it can be effectively managed. One key strategy is to time your workouts around your breastfeeding schedule. 

Nursing just before exercising can help ensure your breasts are comfortable and not overly full, reducing the risk of discomfort (especially if you’re going for a run) or leakage during your workout.

Alternatively, you might want to keep in mind a recent study that showed increased levels of adiponectin in breast milk 1 hour after aerobic exercise. Adiponectin is a substance in breast milk that helps with how your baby's body uses sugar and fat. Adiponectin is a hormone made mostly by fat cells in the body. Low levels of adiponectin in the body are linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. 

According to the study, Aerobic exercise, either as moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), can increase circulating levels of adiponectin. The study found statistically significant increased concentrations of breast milk adiponectin 1 hour after high-intensity training (HIIT) in exclusively breastfeeding people, compared with a day with no exercise. 

It's important to listen to your body and adjust your routine as needed. Managing energy levels is key when balancing breastfeeding and exercise. Adequate rest and hydration are essential, as well as listening to your body's cues. If you feel overly fatigued, consider scaling back on your workouts or consulting with a healthcare provider. 

How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding in a Healthy, Balanced Way 

Having a newborn is stressful enough, so there's no need to add the additional pressure of fitting into your pre-baby clothes. It's important to approach post-baby exercise with a different mindset. Instead of focusing solely on losing weight and getting back to your pre-pregnancy body, consider exercise as a way to improve your mental health and overall well-being. Pregnancy changes your body, and that's okay. Use exercise as a tool to feel good about yourself and to stay healthy, rather than trying to meet unrealistic expectations.

Losing weight while breastfeeding requires a thoughtful approach that prioritizes both the mother's health and the baby's well-being. It's important to focus on gradual, sustainable weight loss rather than quick fixes, which could negatively impact milk supply and overall health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises moms to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. 

Incorporating outdoor activities into your routine a few days a week, such as walking, hiking, or gentle yoga, can be highly effective for postpartum weight loss. Not only do these activities help burn calories, but they also offer mental health benefits by reducing stress and improving mood. 

One of the key advantages of outdoor activities is their accessibility and adaptability to different fitness levels. Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll in the park with your baby or tackling a more challenging hike, you can tailor your outdoor exercise to suit your needs. 

When it comes to diet, it's important to focus on nutrient-dense foods that support both weight loss and breastfeeding. It's recommended that breastfeeding moms consume an extra 500 calories per day to support milk production and energy needs. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your meals to ensure you're getting the nutrients you need while also supporting your weight loss goals. It's also important to stay hydrated, especially if you're exercising outdoors in the heat.

Listening to your body is key when it comes to postpartum weight loss. Be mindful of how you feel during and after exercise, and don't push yourself too hard, especially in the early postpartum period. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a fitness professional can help you develop a safe and effective exercise plan that supports your weight loss goals while ensuring you maintain a healthy milk supply.

woman planking on beach- breastfeeding and exercise- Mila's Keeper

Building an Outdoor Postpartum Exercise Routine

Building an outdoor postpartum exercise routine is a great way to prioritize your health and well-being after giving birth. It's important to start slowly and gradually increase your activity level to avoid injury and allow your body to adjust. Begin with short, gentle walks or hikes, and gradually increase the duration and intensity as you feel more comfortable. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, most women can safely begin exercising six weeks after giving birth, or eight weeks if they had a cesarean delivery. 

As you progress, try to incorporate a variety of activities into your routine to keep things interesting and challenge different muscle groups. Cycling, swimming, and yoga are all excellent options that can be enjoyed outdoors. 

Consistency is key when it comes to building an exercise routine. Try to schedule your workouts at the same time each day to establish a routine. It can also be helpful to set specific, achievable goals to keep you motivated. Whether you're aiming to improve your cardiovascular fitness, build strength, or simply enjoy some time outdoors, having a clear goal in mind can help you stay on track. 

If you're motivated by people around you, search for mommy-and-baby meet-ups at local parks. These get-togethers can be a great way to meet other new moms in your area and also a good way to hold yourself accountable for your exercise goals. 

woman holding bottle-running while breastfeeding- Mila's keeper

Preparing for Outdoor Exercise: Gear, Nutrition, and Safety Tips

Preparing for outdoor exercise involves several key considerations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, especially if you've got a baby in tow. One of the first steps is to select the right gear for your activity and the weather conditions. Proper footwear is essential, especially for activities like hiking or trail running, to provide support and prevent injury. Wearing moisture-wicking clothing can help keep you dry and comfortable during your workout, especially in hot or humid conditions. 

If you're hitting the trails or the track with your little one, think about investing in a jogging stroller with larger wheels to handle uneven terrain better. 

Breastfeeding moms will want to be sure to have a comfortable, supportive bra while exercising. If you’re bringing your kiddo along with you and think they’ll need to nurse at some point during your excursion, you’ll want to think about wearing a nursing top and bringing along any extra gear you might need. If you like a nursing cover, make sure you grab it before you get out the door, along with burping cloths or nipple cream if you might need them. 

Don’t forget to put on your SPF if it’s sunny. Wearing sunglasses and a hat can help protect your eyes and face from sun exposure. Don’t forget about protecting your little one from the sun if they’re going with you. 

Safety is paramount when exercising outdoors. Always tell someone where you're going and when you expect to return, especially if you're hiking or running in remote areas. It's also important to be aware of your surroundings and watch out for potential hazards such as uneven terrain or wildlife. 

In conclusion:

Incorporating outdoor exercise into your postpartum routine offers numerous benefits for both your physical and mental health. Not only does it provide a convenient way to stay active, but it also allows you to enjoy the fresh air and natural surroundings, which can help reduce stress and improve mood. By starting slowly, incorporating variety, and staying consistent, you can build a sustainable outdoor exercise routine that supports your postpartum recovery and overall well-being!

Keep Reading: 5 Things You Should Know About Exercising While Breastfeeding


A female-designed and female-run company, Mila's Keeper is on a mission to empower women to thrive during their breastfeeding journey by offering reusable, eco-friendly breast milk storage solutions for their day-to-day needs. Get the latest tips and info on Mila's Keeper products by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn



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