Monday, November 10, 2014

Running and Breastfeeding

It really is no secret that I've been breastfeeding Patsy. As it has been a huge part of my life over the past year, it has been something I've mentioned once or twice here on the old blog. I've been asked by a few folks on how I've been able to manage breastfeeding while also running. Things have been interesting so I thought I would share some tips for what has worked well for me.

1) Timing. When I used to leave for a run, I would just go any time I felt like it. Depending on the length and duration of a run, that isn't quite as simple while breastfeeding. In those early weeks/months when Patsy was nursing one every 1.5-2 hours, I would get dressed for a run long before I needed to actually go. I would get the stroller prepared and get any water or food ready before as well. Does baby need a diaper change or an outfit change, depending on the weather? Get that done too while you’re at it! Then, I would sit down, feed Patsy for as long as she wanted to. 30 minutes? 45 minutes? I wasn't going to stop the feeding so however long she needed was what I did. Then, RIGHT after she was done, I was able to stretch, put her in the stroller and head out right away. For long runs that may last over an hour or so, getting everything ready beforehand led to a happy baby and happy mother runner. If you plan on going to a group run with friends, I recommend getting there early and feeding your baby right before the run. You want to make sure you have an optimal amount of time out on the run!

2) Hydrating. When pregnant, breastfeeding, or just living your everyday life, drinking lots of water on a daily basis is essential. Staying properly hydrated can help boost your supply (seriously though!). When exercising of any kind, it is important to be sure to replenish those fluids, more than if you weren't exercising. I always take water on my runs now. With the jogging stroller, it is easy enough to toss a bottle on the canopy to have on the go.

Or a handheld works nicely too
Nice and sweaty after a summer time run

3) Fueling. Being a breastfeeding mom, I eat a lot. Being a runner, I eat a lot. Being a breastfeeding mother runner, I EAT A LOT. Making sure your body is properly fueled is very important. Losing those last few pregnancy pounds are something I've just decided to not worry about. My body is different now and it may never be the same. A few pounds is not something I’m going to stress about (although sometimes this is easier said than done). Continuing to breastfeed was more important to me than losing 4-7 pounds. I continue to eat what I want while trying to keep things balanced. Dieting or restricting is not something you want to do while breastfeeding and running.

We love us some Picky Bars (Patsy approved)

Running while breastfeeding (not at the same time though) can sometimes be a challenge, but it is definitely worth it. A few other moms are doing it too, but they are a bit more elite than me. Check out these posts from The Local Elite and NYC Running Mama.

Do you have any other tips for running and breastfeeding?


  1. I've been lucky enough to have never had mastitis, but I've read that running around in a tight, sweaty sports bra can make you more susceptible to it (maybe because a tight/ill-fitting bra can cause plugged ducts?) Anyway, I try to shower as quickly as I can after a run to prevent that from happening. Most people probably do that anyway, but I'm special and sometimes I need help.

  2. I've also never had mastitis (knock on wood) but that is a good point. I think having a good sports bra is something crucial! The ones that worked best for me were adjustable in the front so I was able to nurse while still wearing it.

    I'm the opposite where my husband usually has to suggest "So, are you going to go shower now?" Haha!

  3. You have the two best reasons to keep fueling. I'd say the fact that you and your baby are both healthy is way more important than a couple of extra pounds!

  4. It is definitely challenging. I wasn't running when I had my first baby so the logistics weren't something I ever thought about.

    For many moms pumping helps, you pump and someone feeds baby a bottle - both my kids refused bottles though so I was out of luck! For long runs I nurse and go - sometimes I've even been known to stop in half way through a long run to come nurse. For my 19 miler this past training cycle I ran 12 miles, popped in to nurse Miles down for his nap and then went out for the rest of the run.

    Even now that he's 13 months it's still a bit complicated - I thought I'd be okay for Chicago and found that it was a littttle too much time away; my breasts hurt so much by the time we got home! Little man was fine but mama hurt. But fortunately now that he's older it's not as hard as it used to be when he was teeny.

  5. What sports bras do you like? I haven't found a nursing bra that's supportive enough to run in.

  6. I've found a lot of good luck with Moving Comfort. Some of their bras adjust in the front so it is super easy to adjust them right off, one side at a time. I used the Juno all the time while I was nursing super often.

    Although I am an ambassador for Oiselle, they do not have sports bras that are supportive enough for these tatas. Therefore, I don't use their brand for sports bras. They're working on it though, and I'm hoping I can be one of the ones to test it out! :)

  7. I pump so much during the work week, I hated pumping on the weekends while I was running. Therefore for me, timing the run in conjunction with feedings was what worked best for me.

    Splitting up a long run to nurse part way through, now that is dedication right there--both to running and breastfeeding! KUDOS HEATHER!!! Nice work!!!

  8. Oooh, cool. I have a MC but it's not adjustable.