5 Ways to Stay Active While Breastfeeding

After healing and resting from pregnancy and childbirth, many moms feel the need to bring some more movement into their routine. Often moms are concerned about how this will affect breastfeeding. Luckily, studies have shown that moderate exercise will not affect your milk supply. Bringing more movement into your life can bring not only physical strength, but the mental clarity mothers need! Be sure to check with your midwife or doctor before returning to physical activity. New moms might find it helpful to think outside the exercise box. There are other options outside of going to the gym or starting a complicated routine. Physical movement that nourishes your whole body can be added throughout your day. Here are a few ways that have helped other moms bring movement into their lives with a new baby:

  1. Start small and work up. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with the work ahead that we don’t even want to start.  Keep in mind that you have to start someone and the time will pass anyway. Maybe you can start with a lighter version of your old exercise routine.  Maybe you need something totally new. Give yourself a break and have patience with the process!
  2. Include your baby. Lots of local fitness centers have daycares for baby.  If you don’t want to be separated just yet, look into local barre, yoga and even Zumba classes that encourage babywearing. Natural movements at home like stretching on the floor and going for a walk can all include baby. With some practice, you’ll be able to hike and nurse at the same time with your baby carrier!
  3. Bring community along. Movement and exercise is more fun with friends. Put a call out on social media and meet up with other friends to take a walk. Bring your baby carrier or stroller with you and you’ve gotten fresh air, exercise and socializing done all at once! In this relaxed environment, you can take breaks to nurse as often as baby needs.
  4. Get outside. It’s likely that simply getting outside of our normal sedentary surroundings, we will find more opportunities for movement. Even a playground can be a great place to get more movement. The monkey bars can be a great place to hang (literally) and work muscles that need more movement. Take your vegetable chopping to your balcony or deck. Squatting or sitting on the ground to chop will not only work different muscles than doing it at the counter, it probably has a better view!
  5. Move for life. I learned one summer when we were without a dryer that hang drying my laundry was totally counting as exercise. Lifting a basket of heavy, wet laundry, walking it to the line, and going through the repetitive motions of bending, lifting and reaching was moving my chest and arm muscles in ways I hadn’t in months. Think outside the exercise box. Do you have a flower bed or garden that needs weeding? Think of all that bending and squatting. That’s exercise! Bring your baby along for easy access for nursing.

Being more active and adding more movement into your life after a baby isn’t a one-size-fits-all.  Figuring out what works for you, including your baby, bringing along community, getting outside and moving for life are all great ways to bring movement into your motherhood.



Please use caution when attempting any of the carries, exercise or activities highlighted on this blog, social media or any other content channels.  Please use common sense and caution when using a baby carrier.  You should consult a physician before starting any diet or exercise program.  For more information, see our disclaimer.

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC is a mom of 2, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator and Board Certified Lactation Coach. She owns Lactation Link, a private practice offering breastfeeding support through her classes, website, and online support forum. Lindsey’s goal is to empower women through education to reach their goals, whatever they may be.

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