The Sports Bra Expert

Question of the Week: I'm nursing….can a vigorous workout affect the quantity or quality of my breast milk? And what should I look for in a sports bra during nursing?> back
March 18, 2011

One thing we know for sure is that easing back to vigorous exercise as soon as you feel up to it (and your doc clears it) is great for your mind and body. And makes it easier to lose any extra pounds that might be left over from your pregnancy!

But when you're breastfeeding, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind:

-Working out hard won't decrease your milk production. Studies show that even when active women cut back reasonably on calories along with their daily workouts, their milk volume didn't drop and their babies gained just as much weight as a similar group of non-exercising, dieting moms. So no need to let that fear hold you back from a strenuous, feel-good hour at the gym!

-The timing of your workout can influence what's in your breast milk. Some studies have shown that very intense exercise (the I-ran-myself-to-total-exhaustion kind that gives you sore muscles the next day) can temporarily raise the level of lactic acid in breast milk. This is turn can cause the milk to taste sour, which makes some picky babies less willing to nurse. Other research has shown that maximal treadmill exercise can cause a dip in immunoglobulin (substance that helps babies fight infections) that lasts for about an hour after the workout.

-The easiest solution: Assuming your schedules align, feed the babe first, then head into your workout. Not only will this strategy eliminate any problems with sour-tasting milk or lower immunoglobulin levels, but you can exercise much more comfortably if 'the girls' aren't extra tender and heavy with milk.

-What to wear: In the first few weeks after the babe is born (during which your size may be changing dramatically from week to week), feel free to wear your regular nursing bra as you ease back into exercise. Add absorbent pads inside to take care of any spontaneous milk leaks halfway through your treadmill time.

When you transition back to a sports bra for your workouts, re-check your size first to make sure your pre-pregnancy bras still fit and do the job. It's not uncommon to stay a cup size (or more) larger throughout breastfeeding, which means you may need not only a larger size, but extra support features in your sports bra as well.

If you like the comfortable, secure feeling that comes with wearing a sports bra all day combined with easy access for nursing, think about a front-zipper style such as Champion's #1699 Zip Tech Sports Bra. If your 'girls' are smaller or your workout doesn't create a lot of bounce, a soft seamless style such as the #2960 Double Dry Seamless Cami will push up easily at the bottom band when it's time to feed the babe. And in all cases, the moisture management fabrics in the cups will help deal with unexpected leaks.

These are my basic tips, but hey, I'm sure many of you have successfully mixed exercise and breastfeeding, and we'd love to know exactly how you did it!

Share the strategies!!


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Introducing Champion's Sports Bra Expert - LaJean Lawson

In 1977, Champion Activewear invented the first sports bra, called the Jogbra®, made from two jockstraps sewn together. The realization that women also needed support for their assets was the catalyst for Champion Activewear to apply innovation and technology to become the leader in the sports bra market.

In 1977, runner LaJean Lawson had just finished her first marathon with bleeding sores on her shoulders and chest from a bra that did anything but support. Her search for a solution eventually led to the discovery of her life's passion–sports bras!

Today, Champion Activewear is thrilled to offer Dr. Lawson as a resource to help you solve your sports bra problems. While Dr. Lawson has gained critical knowledge from scientific research, the best education she's had about sports bra needs has come from the thousands of women she has spoken to at races and events, as well as those who help her test Champion products.

Whether it's your shoes or your sports bra, your workout happiness depends on finding the gear that's just right for your size and activity level, and that's exactly why we're here to help!

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