Can I Exercise While Breastfeeding?

Exercise during breastfeeding can offer several benefits, but getting your doctor's approval is key. Here's what you need to know.
Can I Exercise While Breastfeeding?
Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis

Written and verified by degree in physical education and sports Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis.

Last update: 19 February, 2023

Breastfeeding is an important process after pregnancy and childbirth. Through it, your baby receives the necessary nutrients to continue with its physiological formation, which is why it’s a fundamental stage. But, do you know how long it lasts and what restrictions you should follow? In this article, we’ll tell you if it’s possible to exercise while breastfeeding.

If you’re a new mom, you probably have more questions than answers when it comes to breastfeeding. The recovery process after childbirth takes several months, depending on the case. Keep reading to find out what exercises you can do during this stage.

Exercise during breastfeeding

Referring to physical activity and exercise is necessary, especially after completing the gestation process, which can be a traumatic experience physically and psychologically.

The need to move becomes necessary in order to return to your normal body indexes. In addition, exercise while breastfeeding offers a number of benefits that can contribute to your mental well-being. Moreover, starting to include activities during this pivotal stage can help you build healthy lifestyle habits.

Myths about exercise while breastfeeding

It’s easy to fall into myths about exercise while breastfeeding, especially if you don’t have the right information.

Don’t feel guilty for having questions about something you don’t know. Rather, set yourself the task of researching and looking for the healthiest way to raise your child. With that in mind, we’ll teach you the most mentioned myths on the subject in order to debunk each one of them.

A couple walking in the park.
Physical exercise doesn’t affect the production of breast milk, nor does it affect its flavor. Therefore, it’s advisable to include workout routines, although they should be appropriate for your physical capabilities at the time.

Myth no.1: Exercise affects milk production

It’s often claimed that physical exercise affects breast milk production during lactation. This is one of the main arguments for avoiding it, but it’s an erroneous statement. However, it’s best to have appropriate hygiene measures to prevent perspiration from remaining on your nipple after the activity.

Myth no. 2: You should take substances to increase energy

There are many drinks that serve to increase the energy of your body when performing any physical activity. However, their intake isn’t recommended during breastfeeding, or outside of it.

Substances such as coffee or energizers can affect your health by increasing the likelihood of heart attacks, nervous episodes, or insomnia, among others. Therefore, we advise you to avoid their consumption. Remember that you can also affect your baby through breast milk.

Myth no. 3: You have to start exercising immediately after your baby’s born

Another common myth on the subject is that of exercising immediately after childbirth. Although it’s not a bad thing to be physically active, it will depend on your abilities and how you feel.

Some women, especially those with an active lifestyle, continue their workout routines after a few days postpartum. However, those who are sedentary require more time to start moving. In that regard, everything depends on you, how you feel at that moment, and the endorsement of a professional doctor.

A woman doing a meditation exercise during breastfeeding.
During the breastfeeding stage, it’s a good idea to perform physical activity of low or moderate intensity. Yoga, pilates, walks, or bike rides are good options.

Exercise yes, but with some restrictions

At this stage, the body isn’t in normal conditions. Therefore, exercise should have some restrictions. That is, it can be done, but you shouldn’t lose sight of what your physical capacity is and how you want to resume.

Low-intensity exercise

Try to do moderate physical activity or a low-intensity exercise routine. This way, you’ll be able to resume your habits or start implementing new ones. Also, during the breastfeeding process, high-intensity exercise can have a negative impact.

At this point, milk production may decrease and lactic acid levels may increase, which changes the taste of milk. In spite of this, you only need to reduce the intensity of the exercise to avoid this type of inconvenience.

Perform common activities

This recommendation or restriction goes hand in hand with the previous one. In this case, in order to exercise during breastfeeding, the most advisable thing to do is to resort to common physical activities. For example, you can go for a walk, swim, take bike rides, or include pilates and yoga in your routine.

Exercise and breastfeeding, with permission

You may be anxious to start exercise during breastfeeding, and you’re sure to hear all sorts of recommendations and warnings about the subject. However, you shouldn’t implement any type of routine without medical clearance. To do this, you must remain in constant contact with your family doctor. They’ll evaluate you, offer further recommendations, and give you the green light to start exercising when the time is right.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • OMS. (2017). OMS | 10 datos sobre la lactancia materna. Organizacion Mudial de La Salud.
  • Sánchez García, J. C., Rodríguez Blanque, R., Sánchez López, A. M., Baena García, L., Suárez Manzano, S., & Aguilar-Cordero, M. J. (2016). Efectos de la actividad física durante el embarazo y en la recuperación posparto: protocolo de estudio. Nutrición Hospitalaria.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.