Exercises for mothers during lactation is essential. Lactation is the production of milk from the mammary glands present in the breasts of women which leads to breastfeeding in new mothers. Exercising during lactation is a routine for many new mothers. Some mothers join pram walking groups while others walk to nearby places just to stay fit and healthy.
Exercises for mothers during lactation
Most new mothers fear breastfeeding because they feel they would develop loose sagged breasts. There are some exercises for the breasts during breastfeeding which might help with these problems. The 5 exercises on b reasts for lactating mothers are as follows:
This is best done in a sitting position. It can be done after using the breast pump also. This helps in increasing the milk supply and also keeps breasts in shape. This exercise can be done using olive oil as this is a massage based exercise. Massage should be done gently as the skin is soft.
This exercise is for the muscles that hold the breasts laterally. This makes them fuller and also increases the milk production. It acts on the cleavage region mostly. This exercise can be performed in any position.
Rotation of Muscles near Breasts
This can be done after getting up every morning. The breasts might get engorged with milk at night. This exercise helps undo all the muscle stretching that has happened.
This will help undo the gravitational pull that is applied on the breasts especially when they are filled with milk. This also helps make them become more flexible and lift them up.
Headstand or Inverted breast position
It improves the blood circulation to the breasts and also mobilizes the fat to return back into the lymphatic circulation.
Effects of exercise on mothers during lactation
Exercising during lactation helps the mothers in being fit and healthy. Some of the effects of exercise on breastfeeding mothers are as follows:
• It improves the heart health and fitness of the mother.
• It maintains mental wellbeing and improves the energy levels.
• It reduces the stress levels in lactating mothers.
• It also assists with weight control.
• It also improves the bone strength of newly breastfeeding mothers.
• It also assists with the treatment of post-natal depression.
Effects of exercise on mothers breastmilk and supply
Due to maximal exercise (exercising to the maximum level of exercise intensity), the level of lactic acid (a by-product of high intensity exercise) is increased in the breast milk. Mild or moderate exercising does not cause lactic acid to increase therefore not harming the baby while breastfeeding. Most new mothers usually exercise to a moderate intensity as to reduce weight and be fit. Maximal exercise is said to be irrelevant by most but there are no proofs that the increased lactic acid levels in the breast milk harms the newborn baby or the new mother in any way.
Moderate exercising does not affect these following things:
• The supply of breast milk in the new mother.
• The immune factors in breast milk like Slga, etc.
• The major minerals present in breast milk like calcium, phosphorus, etc.
• The major nutrients present in breast milk like lactose, fat, etc.
Some studies in the past showed that the newborn baby might refuse the breast from the mother who exercises at maximum intensity. These studies could not prove anything as the babies were fed milk by a dropper so the results were questionable. Recent studies showed reports from mothers who practiced maximal exercises that there was no change in the baby’s breastfeeding from them due to increased lactic acid levels in their breast milk.
Tips on exercises for mothers during lactation
• The mother should nurse before exercising and always wear a good supportive bra.
• Some babies do not like to feed from sweaty breasts so the mother should shower before feeding as the baby does not like the salty taste on the breasts.
• If the mother does regular lifts of heavy weights which leads to the development of plugged ducts (an area in the breast where the milk flow is obstructed) then they should slow down and start over again.
• The exercising lactating mother should always be hydrated.