Does Working Out Affect Your Milk Supply?

Milk supply is one of the top concerns for nursing mothers. Get the facts on how working out can affect your milk production.


If you’re a nursing mother, it’s important to know the impact that working out can have on your milk supply. Though exercise is essential for overall good health and should be encouraged, please be aware of some of the potential effects that working out can have on your milk supply.

It is possible for working out to decrease your milk production, as well as cause changes in taste and even affect baby’s sleep patterns. That is why before you start any physical activity, it’s important to understand how exercise may impact lactation so you can make informed decisions regarding exercise while breastfeeding. This guide will provide an overview of the effects that exercising while breastfeeding may have on milk supply and other aspects of your milk production journey.

Benefits of Exercise

Exercise has many advantages when it comes to your health and wellbeing. Not only can it boost your mood, reduce stress, and help you reach your fitness goals, but it can also support your milk supply. Working out can increase circulation, which helps pump hormones that stimulate milk production in lactating mothers. Let’s explore the various benefits of exercising while breastfeeding.

Improved mood

The regular exercise that comes with staying healthy and in shape provides a myriad of benefits, and improved mood is certainly one of them. Exercise can increase endorphins – the hormones that trigger a positive feeling in the body – which can help with any physical or emotional pressures you’re experiencing while breastfeeding. This can help overall in coping with stress as well as promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety and alleviating depression. Additionally, exercise increases self-esteem, an overall feeling of well-being and it may help motivate you to make healthier lifestyle choices for you and your baby.

Improved sleep

Exercise can be beneficial for improving the quality of nighttime sleep for breastfeeding mothers. Many moms struggle with long sleepless nights due to their babies’ frequent feedings. However, physical activity can help increase endorphin levels in the body, promoting improved moods and creating better sleep cycles. While keeping physical movement to a moderate level during exercise is important, exercising two to three times a week has been known to help breastfeeding mothers achieve deeper, more restful sleep at night. Additionally, regular exercise has been found to make lactation hormones more effective in boosting milk supply.

Increased energy

Physical activity has many known benefits, including improved energy levels. Women who exercise during pregnancy and after may find that their energy levels are maintained or even improved. After childbirth, regular exercise may help new moms regain their strength and stamina more quickly as they adjust to their new role as a parent. Many women report feeling more energetic and less fatigued when they make room for regular physical activity in their routine. Participating in low impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, can be particularly beneficial because it gives your body the chance to move without putting excessive strain on joints and muscles. You can also take advantage of classes specifically designed for moms of young children — such as yoga or Pilates — which allow you to work out and socialize at the same time. Regular physical activity can give you an extra boost of energy so that you’re better able to care for your baby while taking time out for yourself.

Effects of Exercise on Milk Supply

Exercise can be beneficial for new moms, helping them to stay fit and healthy. But many new moms also worry about how exercise might affect their milk supply. Is it safe to exercise while breastfeeding? Will it decrease your milk production? In this article, we will talk about the effects of exercise on milk supply and how to make sure that you are getting the most out of your workouts.

Short-term effects

Exercise is a large part of many women’s lives, and is often mentioned as one of the best activities to participate in while breastfeeding. While it’s generally true that regular exercise can benefit both you and your baby, different studies have generated conflicting results when it comes to the actual effects of exercise on milk supply. To better understand the impact of exercise on breastfeeding mothers, it’s important to look at both short-term and long-term impacts.

Short-term effects: Studies conducted in 1993 and 2006 show that when mothers are just starting or beginning an exercise routine, there might be a short decreasing effect on milk production. In the case of aerobic exercises such as running, this decrease in milk supply is usually seen immediately after exercising but almost all cases bounce back within 1 to 2 hours of completing the activity. Other research has indicated a much greater ability to increase milk production following workouts versus a decrease due to hormonal signals released during physical activity.

Overall, there is no significant evidence that working out will have a major impact on your milk supply over the long run; instead, research demonstrates that regular physical activity helps keep lactating moms healthy and can potentially increase their supply. As with any new lifestyle change while breastfeeding, it’s best to consult with your physician or another medical professional before beginning an exercise regimen.

Long-term effects

When looking at the long-term effects of exercise on your milk supply, it is important to remember that not all forms of exercise have the same effect. For instance, low-impact activities such as walking or yoga may actually help increase your milk production. High-intensity exercise such as running, swimming and cycling can also be beneficial for increasing your milk production, depending on how often you do it and how long each session lasts.

However, there are high intensity exercises that can have an adverse effect on your milk supply. These include weightlifting and intense aerobic activity like running sprints or doing interval training. It’s suggested that women who are breastfeeding stick with a regular routine of low to moderate intensity activities and focus on nutrition in order to maintain their breastmilk production.

It is also worth noting that if you are exercising while breastfeeding, it is important to keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day and night, as dehydration can reduce breastmilk production. Drinking lots of water will help ensure that your body has enough fluids on board for both exercise and lactation. Furthermore, eating a healthy diet rich in essential nutrients will ensure that you have enough energy for both physical activity and breastfeeding – this includes carbohydrates which are needed for energy during strenuous physical activities.

Guidelines for Working Out While Breastfeeding

Working out while breastfeeding can be a great way to get back into shape after having a baby. However, it’s important to keep in mind that exercising can affect your milk supply. Therefore, it’s important to follow specific guidelines in order to ensure that your baby is still getting enough nutrition. Let’s look at some of these guidelines.

Drink plenty of fluids

It is essential for any fitness activity, but particularly important for nursing mothers who need to keep themselves hydrated in order to produce ample amounts of breastmilk. Aim to drink eight 8-oz glasses of fluids a day and be sure to check your urine color: clear or very light yellow means you’re hydrated while dark yellow indicates that you need more fluids. If you’re working out intensely, add 16 to 32 ounces per hour while exercising. If water doesn’t cut it, incorporate an electrolyte drink into your regimen, such as Gatorade or coconut water. It will help replenish the sodium and potassium necessary for muscle recovery and growth.

Avoid high-intensity workouts

High-intensity physical activities can compound dehydration, fatigue, and a decrease in women’s ability to rest. Experienced athletes who exercised during pregnancy may find they are able to return to more intense training after they become moms. However, it’s best to proceed with caution and recommend new or returning moms start off with light activity such as walking, swimming, stretching and weight bearing exercise until they understand their current limitations and postpartum ability.

Stress also plays an important factor as this hormone cortisol can directly affect your body’s response while breastfeeding. It’s recommended that you keep workout sessions short (about 30 minutes) or do intermittent exercises throughout the day. This way, you ensure that the physical demands placed on your body don’t leave you feeling drained for the remainder of the day thus maintaining a healthy balance of rest and activity.

High-intensity workouts have a greater effect on flooding your body with cortisol which can cause a decrease in progesterone — the hormone necessary for lactation — thus lowering your milk production if done excessively during lactation period. Therefore it is highly recommended that when participating in any kind of workout session while breastfeeding avoidance of high intensity activities is advised for successful lactation for both breastfeeding mother and newborn baby.

Monitor your baby’s feeding habits

It’s important to be aware of how any changes in your diet or lifestyle could affect your milk supply and the amount of milk you are producing. When you start exercising while breastfeeding, it’s important to monitor your baby’s feeding habits closely. You should expect that your baby may want to feed more often when the exercise is initially increased. If the frequency of feeds does not change, or if your baby accepts less milk than she did before you began working out, then you may need to reduce the intensity or duration of your exercise.

You should also keep a lookout for signs such as fussiness during eating, colic-like behavior after feeding and longer nursing time that could be indications that your milk supply has changed due to an increase in exercise. Monitor other bodily signs such as dehydration if this is an issue for you when exercising. Remember, it is possible for a mother to over-exert herself if she is not careful and this can lead to fatigue and a decreased milk supply.


In conclusion, exercise can be a beneficial addition to your day-to-day routine and does not appear to directly affect your milk supply or the nutritional content of your breastmilk. However, it is still important to check with a healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise program. Additionally, keep in mind that breastfeeding can cause changes in how you process food and liquids, so it’s always a good idea to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated. With the right precautions and strategies in place, you can find a way to balance exercise with breastfeeding that works best for you and your baby.

Checkout this video:

Similar Posts