Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, midwife or nurse. The information expressed in the series “Running and Breastfeeding – By” should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before running during postpartum.

I got allot of comments surrounding the subject of running and breastfeeding and how the one wouldn’t work with the other. I got comments about how my milk would dilute or become weak, I got comments on how my milk would go away, or my body wouldn’t be able to cope working hard to achieve both running and breastfeeding. But I wasn’t about to compromise on either of those two to produce enough milk for my baby whilst adhering to my fitness regime.

Breastfeeding is hard work, and I say this allot but, it’s really hard hard work. It means eating or not eating certain things depending on your baby. It means not sleeping through – not for the first few months and then if you’re lucky you won’t have sleep issues as baby gets older.

Running and breastfeeding has taken a lot of effort and planning. The first few months when I was home with maternity leave wasn’t as bad as I had the time to decide when to go and if my morning did not work out as I wanted I had the rest of the day to make up for it.

At month 4 I started working and everything changed. I had to plan carefully when I was going to sleep, get up for baby and when I was going to run.

My work is about 45min away from my house but with morning traffic I have to leave early to be on time for work, which means I need to get up early if I plan to run before work… I’m a morning person, so usually getting up does not bother me, but with baby keeping me up at night it has made the task really difficult most mornings.

Below basically describes the plan I have in my mind of how things need to go for a perfect Running-Breastfeeding-Mommy plan:

Below is what currently happens in my life:

It’s not so simple in real life.

Because I’m still breastfeeding at 6 months , I’m the one that gets up for baby a t night because most of the time baby is crying because he wants to feed, and other nights it feels like it’s the only way for me to get baby to calm down. At 6 months I have now tried everything to get my Paul to sleep through, but it’s not working out.

We have now started solids as we were suspecting that he might need a little something extra, and because his basically big enough, showing all the correct signs and to be frank… Breastfeeding gets to me some days, So If I can get Paul to eat sooner rather than later, that would be great.

Here are a few things that I’ve learnt, encountered over the past 6 months of breastfeeding and running:

The Inability to plan:

You’d think that it’s easy to stick to a feeding schedule with a breastfeeding baby, but it’s not. You have to take things as they come.

Wardrobe malfunctions:

However much weight you gained, and lost again, just accept that nothing will be exactly the same as it was before, especially if your breastfeeding and not for a while. One moment your Breasts will be fine and the next you might have some freaky lump sticking out. You might look normal and the next moment you have these two huge balloons…

You can see the picture below…

Both images are with the same shirt, just different colours.

When I put the top on, everything looked fine, but after my milk came in….everything got a little big. Also We were busy working/shooting so I was unable to feed Paul at the normal time – causing me to get a little engorged… It’s safe to say I could have given Pamela Anderson a run for her money – or that’s how I felt at least.

Supply and Demand:

So here we go…

Here I’m going to contemplate with you a few things I have found with regards to my milk supply whilst running and Breastfeeding. I have to be honest with you and it’s a bitter pill for me to swallow seeing as I stood very firm to believe that running won’t affect your milk supply. But in all honesty I think it has to some degree. At 6 months Paul is still gaining weight and his health is perfect condition aside from a few terrible teething episodes.

I have found that when I express milk before and after a run the layer of cream on the top usually differs, depending on the distance I ran, the time of day and the weather. It basically comes down to dehydration and the water you lose when exercising.

(I will get a picture and update the post in time)
  1. Less sleep: Paul wakes up every 2-3hours.

   Paul is teething so he is soooo fussy

   Getting up early to train, so less sleep

  1. Stress: Back to work – I can’t take as many naps as previously.

   Back to work – work stress and traffic might be affecting me.

   Pressure to perform – adding stress onto myself to train harder and do better at work after being away for 4 months.

  1. Less Demand: With Paul going to school my body might feel that milk is not so high in demand anymore, so my body is just producing less.
  2. High Intensity workouts; Doing more and more mileage per month might be affecting my supply.
  3. Lady Time: You period can also affect your milk supply in the days leading up to you lady time, so this could also be a reason.

So like I said it could be a combination of all of the above. But whatever it is, at month 6 Paul will be starting to eat more and more now, meaning that there might be a much smaller need for a large milk supply which is then actually fine. I bought myself these Fenugreek tablets (Picture below), so I’ll see if it makes a difference as well.

That’s the main things I’ve encountered but there are lots of things that could be different for you or that you might be able to relate to, either way please feel free to comment below if you have questions or if you want you can pop me a mail, and I can see if I have a answer for you.

If your currently Pregnant and want to continue running have a look at my ‘Running Pregnant’ Series, click on the links below:

Running Pregnant: The first trimester
Running Pregnant: The Second trimester
Running Pregnant: The Third trimester

Also follow me on Pinterest for more interesting articles on Running, Running and Breastfeeding and other Health related things

Happy Running



written by

Jani du Toit

Mother, Blogger and Pattern maker from Pretoria

Age group: 30
Club: ASICS FrontRunner

My Disciplines
Half Marathon Trail 10k

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