Christine: Getting Out and About as a Nursing Mom
Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned writer, editor, and designer. She is the founder and editor of Boston Mamas, the designer behind Posh Peacock, and writes a personal blog at Pop Discourse. She tweets about it all at @bostonmamas.
After 58 hours of labor, I was shockingly full of energy following the March birth of my daughter Violet. I imagine part of that had to do with the euphoria of fulfilling my desire for a natural birth, and part of it was due to the fact that my recovery from the vaginal birth was so much easier than my recovery following an emergency C-section with my first daughter Laurel.
Suffice it to say, it wasn’t long before I was out and about with my girls, and I was back to running and yoga as soon as I received clearance from my midwife six weeks postpartum. Here are some tips to help you get out and about as a nursing mom, whether you’re simply looking to leave the house or start a fitness routine. Either way, the fresh air and scenery will do wonders for your mood!
Leave your house once a day. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Head out with your baby every day, whether it’s a short walk around the block, multi-tasking to do errands (I’m a big fan of babywearing while doing on-foot errands in my neighborhood), or hitting a local café. Remember to do a diaper change and feed before you leave home.
Embrace layers. I’m a proponent of nursing wherever and whenever, and one thing that makes breastfeeding on-the-go easy and comfortable is nursing tanks. I have several Bravado tanks that I’ve been wearing pretty much constantly since Violet was born. I layer tees or blouses over them; it’s perfect because when I lift up my shirt, the tank still covers my back and the shirt covers my décolletage. Discreet, easy, and super comfortable!
Deplete your supply before exercise. I prefer to exercise in the morning while I’ve got more energy, but exercise any time of day is a good thing. Your milk supply will vary depending on how much your baby is nursing and what time of day you’re exercising, but basically, deplete your supply before you exercise to prevent leakage and discomfort. Since Violet only nurses on one side per feed I prefer to pump before exercising so I’m empty, so to speak, on both sides.
Invest in gear. You’ll undoubtedly need extra support as an active, breastfeeding mom if you’re engaging in something like running. The first time I went running postpartum I simply wore one of my regular sports bras and there was a lot of uncomfortable bouncing around. Subsequently, I found that wearing two sports bras helped a lot. Readers of this post shared very helpful recommendations for ultra supportive sports bras for nursing mamas.
Listen to your body. Above all, listen to your body. You’re recovering from growing a baby and when you’re nursing, your body is still working to grow your baby! If you were very active before and during your pregnancy, don’t get hung up on what you used to achieve. Take it slow and simply enjoy being out and about.