Weight training while lactating doesn’t have to be complicated or embarrassing. Here is a list of simple, effective steps I use to make lactating and weight training enjoyable.
Compression bras seemed to be the worst type of bra for me to train in. My milk production tends to increase as I train and compression puts pressure on my filling breasts, causing pain. I have found that a good fitting, non under wire sports bra (with or without padding) is best as it allows milk to naturally pool in the breasts and enlarge.
Not only does the padding provide more comfort for nipples, it also camouflages any differences in breast size after feeding or pumping.
Absorbent Breast Pads
Exercises such as lying leg curls require me to lie chest down on the padded bench. If my breasts are full, I can leak a bit of milk. Having an absorbent pad to contain leaks helps keep my focus off leaking and on training.
Sore or Chapped Nipples
This can be a major downer but I have found any food grade oil will prevent friction between bra and nipples.
If the pressure from milk becomes uncomfortable, it is best to either feed or express milk to reduce pressure. Milk can be expressed by hand into an absorbent cloth or pumped into bottles for later use. Most facilities have an area specifically for lactating moms to pump in or will find a suitable area when asked. Pumping can also be done in the car.
It’s especially important for breastfeeding women to keep hydrated. The loss of fluids from sweating can cause dehydration, dizziness and affect milk supply. Take frequent water breaks to ensure proper hydration.
The USDA recommends breastfeeding women eat 71 grams of Protein daily. But, I aim to eat 1 gram per pound of body weight to cover my recommended daily allowance and allow extra for training. Plus, the higher protein content in my diet keeps me feeling fuller longer.
The extra calories used for milk production can bring on unbearable hunger at a moments notice. Pack healthy snacks in case of hunger during training. I have become light headed trying to complete a training session before eating. Fuel your body when it asks.
Clean After Training
Thoroughly wash and dry the breasts and surrounding area post workout and replace sweaty bra with a new, dry one. The warm moist creases under the breasts are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and infections.
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer close and sanitize hands before touching the car steering wheel and after entering the house. Our homes and cars are the two largest areas for spreading germs as we routinely inhabit them after coming in contact with objects strangers frequently touch.