I must begin this one with the fact that I do not ever ever ever judge about the way anyone chooses to feed their babies- or anything else for that matter. I despise the wars about parenting. Unless it directly affects my children and my life, I think every parent out there is doing an awesome job whether you breastfeed your kids until they’re 78 or you never do. The way we raise our babies is our choice.
Braxton would absolutely choose a Happy Meal over kale, I struggle finding time for everything and lose my cool A LOT, and despite running miles and miles, I have a Mommy pouch that is frustrating (but yes, worth it). Please know when I write about the ‘good’ things, there is a lot I don’t write about too- because that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about a healthy lifestyle and encouragement and motivation and giggles. I don’t think I am superior in the way I do things by any means- I just do what works best for us. I know for a fact that if we all love our children so much our hearts hurt… we are all the best mom out there.
Anyways! One of the questions I have been asked about is breastfeeding and running. Just like with pregnancy, breastfeeding does NOT have to keep you from exercising regularly. Children are the motivators! Feeding my babies off the tap, so to speak, does affect my running. My workouts are planned around it, actually- so it makes it pretty relevant to this marathon training craziness.
When Charlotte was 4 months old my friends ran the Seneca 7 relay. Even though I am much more confident in breastfeeding this time around, I declined because I didn’t want to pump in the van. It seemed inconvenient and stressful. Come to find out, there was an entire TEAM of moms there doing just that. For a minute, I felt inferior to them, but then I remembered- this is not a competition. I chose to do what I was comfortable with. I will happily join our team next year- pump snuggly tucked away at home. But man, hats off to the mamas who do that!!
Running in between feedings is tough in the beginning when the baby’s wants are all over the place, but it does get much easier with time. This works out when you are running much less (or not at all) after giving birth anyways! I’m pretty sure I have become a faster runner because I often sprint my runs to get home to that hungry baby.
There are three main questions I had when it came to nursing and running- or exercising in general.
1. Does it hurt? In the beginning, you bet. When the milk comes in you definitely want to pump/feed before even moving and wear a crazy tight bra or three. I don’t run long distances in the beginning to avoid the pain (among other reasons). When things get regulated, it is much better. Now, if I know I have a long run, I nurse her or I get up extra early to pump first. This leaves the baby with food and me with a comfortable run in no crazy rush to get home. When I finish a race or walk through that door, the first thing I do is feed that baby and all is well in the world.
2. Does it affect your supply? This is tricky and I only speak from experience. I didn’t think so, because Braxton was toward the end of nursing when I trained for Syracuse. But Char isn’t near weaning quite yet. When I began to increase my miles this time, my weight came off pretty quickly. With that, I saw some decline in my milk supply. Weight slightly matters to me only because it does affect my speed: faster = (maybe) qualifying time. But feeding my daughter is 100 million times more important. I have been making sure I am eating a lot of good for me food and drinking a TON of water. My weight since has remained steady and my supply has gone back to normal. So my advice is ease into your workouts slowly, eat a lot, and drink drink drink (water, of course;))!
3. Does it affect the taste? I haven’t tried it:) But there are tales that the lactic acid buildup from a workout can affect the taste of the milk. Again, I can only speak for my own two kids, but I have never had an issue with this. They both were fine nursing 2 seconds after I ran or anytime thereafter…maybe they were just so used to it they didn’t care, but I don’t really think it affects it to the point of refusal.
As always, remember you are not being selfish because you are taking time for yourself to work out. You are being a Mom who wants to set a good example for her children while making yourself happy and healthy. This is true if you breastfeed or not. There is no better time than right now to get out there and make some time for you! Even if you only find 15 minutes in a day or if you do something for your kids to join you in. Braxton honestly enjoys doing Jillian videos with me (for about 15 minutes, then I lose him) or coming for a run. Don’t let anything stand in your way to a healthier life…
Not even pumpkins…
Another good family workout?! Rake up those leaves and let your kids go nuts in them!! Happy Autumn Weekend Sweeties!!!
And happy ten months to my little cabbage patch doll on Saturday!