Does Working Out Ruin Your Milk Supply?

Does working out ruin your milk supply? This is a question that many new moms ask. The answer may surprise you!


As an expecting or new mom, it’s natural to wonder if working out will impact your milk supply. After all, being able to produce enough milk for your baby is an important factor in providing them with the nourishment they need. Fortunately, there is not a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that working out can have a negative impact on your milk supply. In fact, there are many benefits to getting regular exercise!

Regular exercise can be beneficial both mentally and physically during motherhood and beyond. For some moms, exercising can help reduce stress and feelings of anxiousness that naturally come with parenting. Additionally, physical activity can help build strength and endurance which will help you manage the daily activities of caring for a baby—and the other children in your life if you have other kids as well. Regularly getting your heart rate up also provides mental health benefits such as increased self-esteem and improved sleep habits.

Moreover, research has found that exercising can actually increase milk production because pumping more often after working out helps stimulate additional milk production. In addition to being healthy and providing numerous health benefits postpartum, even mild physical activities such as light walking can be beneficial to parents both physically and emotionally—so don’t let the concern over possibly hurting your milk supply stop you from exercising! The key is listening to your body’s needs and finding balance in managing time between parenting duties care for yourself too!

Benefits of Exercise

Regular exercise has many benefits for a breastfeeding mother. It can help reduce stress and improve mood, as well as help with postpartum weight loss and encourage a better sleeping pattern. Exercise can also help boost milk production and help keep you healthy. Let’s delve deeper into the topic to understand the pros and cons of working out while breastfeeding.

Improved mood

The psychological benefits of exercise are often cited as some of the primary motivating factors to stick with a regular fitness routine. Exercise can boost self-esteem and help with issues such as depression and anxiety. According to research, physical activity releases endorphins which in turn activate the body’s pleasure centers and reduce feelings of stress and sadness. Additionally, exercise can reduce fatigue and increase energy levels by helping regulate circadian rhythms, sparking better quality sleep at night. Working out also helps release extra serotonin in the brain– a chemical associated with fatigue relief–which subsequently puts you in a better mood.

Increased energy

Regular physical activity is important for overall health, and it can also boost energy levels. Exercise helps to regulate hormones that are responsible for good health and energy, including endorphins and adrenaline. Regular exercise also helps to strengthen your muscles, improve circulation, support healthy digestion and provide better sleep. All of these factors can contribute to increased energy levels throughout the day. Taking time during the day to be active in whatever way works best for you—whether it’s taking a walk, joining an exercise group or practicing yoga—can help you avoid fatigue and become more productive during the day.

Improved sleep

Regular physical activity, when done in moderation, can bring huge benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing. One of the main ones is improved sleep. Exercise has been found to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Studies suggest that exercise can improve sleep quality for those with insomnia who routinely have disturbed sleep patterns or feel excessively tired during the day. This can have a positive effect on your overall well-being and reduce stress levels. Also, any form of exercise helps to naturally increase serotonin levels which may have a positive effect on mood and lead to being more relaxed and better rested at night. Furthermore, regular exercise increases your body temperature which then drops several hours later, giving you a better feeling of drowsiness when bedtime approaches as this drop in body temperature signals the body that it’s time to rest and go to sleep.

Improved body composition

One of the primary benefits of exercise for overall health is improved body composition. Exercise helps to increase lean muscle mass and keeps fat levels in check. This translates to a healthier proportion of body fat, which means a decrease in overall risk for chronic disease. Furthermore, having more muscle mass provides many health benefits, such as increased metabolism, stronger bones and muscles, better posture and balance, reduced stress, improved sleep quality and increased energy levels. Exercise also has the potential to improve milk supply if it is done in a way that does not over-compensate for caloric expenditure.

Does Exercise Affect Milk Supply?

Exercise can be a great way to maintain your health and fitness, but it is important to know whether it can negatively affect the quality of your milk supply. The good news is that, in general, exercise does not have any negative effects on milk production. However, depending on the type and intensity of exercise, there can be certain issues to be aware of. In this article, we will look at the facts and discuss how to exercise without compromising your milk supply.

Potential causes for reduced milk supply

There are many potential reasons for a reduced milk supply. Exercise can play a role, but it’s important to understand that other lifestyle choices may be to blame. Lifestyle factors such as stress, inadequate sleep, dehydration, malnutrition, and medications may all have an effect on decreases in milk production.

It is important to note that the intensity of exercise matters when talking about the effects on milk supply. Light to moderate physical activity pursued for enjoyment is unlikely to have significant effects on lactation performance, but more strenuous exercise that approaches or surpasses the individual’s capacity while also causing physiological stress can influence milk production and sharing these information is key when it comes to understanding how working out could affect your milk supply.

Other reasons for reduced breastmilk supply include:
-Inadequate empty time between sessions – if your breasts don’t have time for full draining and refill during each session
-Nursing mother’s diet does not provide enough calories and fluids
-Inconsistent breastfeeding over time due to supplementing with formula or other feedings (e.g., bottles)
-Hormonal imbalances due to certain medical conditions
-Thyroid disorders
-A decrease in the number of effective pumping sessions
-Illness or infection – some illnesses and infections can cause inflammation or damage to breast tissue leading to decreased milk production

Potential solutions for reducing the impact of exercise on milk supply

While exercise can reduce your milk supply, there are ways to help minimize its impact. Here are some potential solutions for reducing the effects of exercise on your milk supply:

1. Decide when to exercise: Choose a time when you’re not actively breastfeeding, such as after you’ve nursed the baby or during a break from pumping. This can help ensure that your body adequately produces the amount of breastmilk needed to satisfy the baby’s hunger and nutrition needs.
2. Prioritize sleep: Sleep deprivation is a known factor in decreased milk supply, so getting enough rest whenever possible is especially important if you are exercising regularly. Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, and take power naps or midday snoozes if possible.
3. Stay hydrated: It’s essential to stay appropriately hydrated while exercising and after exercising in order to maintain optimal levels of breastmilk production and proper hydration in general. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and during activities that require heavy perspiration or significant movement, such as running or cycling outdoors.
4. Consider using low-impact exercises: Low-impact exercises place less strain on your body than high-intensity activities like running or cross training – keeping in mind that any type of physical activity can decrease milk supply temporarily – so opt for gentler forms like yoga, Pilates, aqua aerobics amongst others where possible to keep sweating but with less fatigue and stress on your body muscles network system
5 Eating sufficiently: Increase calorie intake slightly by adding nutrient dense foods with healthy fats into your diet, including fortified oatmeal with full fat coconut yogurt & freshly sliced fruits/berries on top; whole grain toast spread with nut butter and honey; quinoa or other whole grains salads; whole wheat pancakes topped with real maple syrup; etc which can help fuel up prior/ post workouts while maintaining adequate nutrition needs

Exercise Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers

For most breastfeeding mothers, exercising can not only help maintain their overall wellbeing and improve their physical health but can also help increase their milk supply. But there is always the worry that too much exercise can damage the milk supply. So what tips can breastfeeding mothers use to make sure they are getting the most out of their workouts while still providing the best nutrition for their baby?


Adequate hydration is important for breastfeeding mothers. Consuming enough water can help mothers make sure their bodies are ready to break down the fat needed for lactose production. Studies recommend that mothers consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, in addition to other liquids such as juice and broth. Drink about 16-24 ounces of fluids 2-3 times per day, or as often as necessary, to stay adequately hydrated. It’s also beneficial to carry a bottle of water or have an additional glass on hand when nursing the baby so that your body has the fluids it needs for lactation. Additionally, avoid consuming caffeine, which can cause unpleasant side effects and can decrease milk supply.

Eat a balanced diet

When you are breastfeeding, it is essential to eat nutritious food to provide your baby with the nutrients he or she needs. Your body also needs proper nutrition to keep up with the demands of producing milk and providing milk to your newborn. It is important that you eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all food groups, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats. Eating a diet rich in nutrients will help boost your milk production and ensure that your baby receives all the essential vitamins, minerals and energy needed for development. Additionally, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Avoid extreme exercise

Most research suggests that light to moderate exercise is safe during breastfeeding, but overly strenuous activity should be avoided. Intense, prolonged exercise can have a negative effect on your body’s ability to produce milk. The stress that intense workouts cause can lead to hormones being released which may interrupt your milk supply.

It’s important for breastfeeding mothers to take things slowly and not overexert themselves. Taking the time to warm up thoroughly before a workout and cool down afterwards is essential in order to reduce the risk of an overactive cortisol response (a hormone associated with stress) and a suppression of milk supply.

When it comes to maintaining an adequate milk supply and caring for both you and your baby, reducing or eliminating intense exercise is the recommended course of action as it is known that such heavy exertion can interfere with milk production and has been linked with increased stress levels. If you do choose to take part in vigorous activity, make sure it’s not longer than 30 minutes at a time and that it doesn’t increase the mother-child separation anxiety either partner might experience due to extended workouts away from one another. Otherwise, some forms of moderate exercise such as yoga or walking are highly recommended for both physical health benefits as well as emotional well-being.

Take rest days

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that breastfeeding mothers aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. This amount can be divided up into increments that fit your lifestyle, but be sure to balance your activities with enough rest days. While it’s great to want to stay active and make progress towards your fitness goals, it is important to remember that recovery is key to being able to continue exercising while being a mother.

If you are new to working out, take your time with each exercise session and build up the intensity as you become more confident with the movements. Strive for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise several days a week, if possible. But if that’s too daunting, even 10-minute bouts spread throughout the day will still offer health benefits. Most importantly, always take rest days between intense exercise and movements; these are essential for giving your body time to properly recover so that you can maintain a high quality of movement throughout all of your workout sessions.


While there is limited research available on the effects of exercise and milk supply, it is clear that certain types of strenuous activity can affect milk production, while other forms seem to have no effect. It is important for nursing mothers to recognize that their bodies are still adjusting after giving birth and the focus should be on listening to the body. If you experience a drop in milk supply immediately after exercising, it is best to take a break for a few days before reintroducing light activity. If changes in milk supply are drastic or there is a decrease in overall baby weight gain, always talk to your doctor for further advice.

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