starting back after a baby

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02/08/2002 at 09:42
Help - I'm just about to start running again after having a baby. I am still breast feeding any thoughts or information on the effects it might have. Also what about still softened ligaments! I'm terrified of injury. I'd be glad to hear about other new mums experiences.
02/08/2002 at 11:09
Hey Lou,

there might be some useful bits in this running and pregnancy article, or if you've put in your subscriber number, this neat real-life account

hope it's going well

Sean
02/08/2002 at 17:05
What a marvellous section - worth subscribing for that alone, although I am even less likely to have another baby than to run another marathon...

The main problems of running while breast-feeding are the predictable ones about needing extra support and being prepared for the possibility that when you get hot and sweaty your breasts will behave like the modified sweat glands they are and make extra foremilk, which may lead to leakage. Harmless as long as you don't get embarrassed about it!

Anecdotally, some women have reported that their babies don't like the taste of their post-exercise breast milk.

Your ligaments should be fine now. They get back to normal within days of giving birth, and breastfeeding doesn't delay the process.

Happy running - and enjoy those wonderful small-baby days. They're soon in their teens and telling you they didn't ask to be born.

Cheesr, V-rap.
02/08/2002 at 22:40
Apparently the body still produces relaxin for 6 months after the birth which means the official advice is not to run or do high impact activities until then but I reckon if you listen to your body then all should be fine.

I've never had any problems with feeding and running. If you run hard then the lactic acid is reported to get into the milk and upset your baby a bit but I wasn't running hard enough to have that effect and now she doesn't feed as frequently so it's not a problem.

I tried running again 5 weeks after the birth and it was really grim. In fact, it wasn't until my wee one was sleeping through the night at 6 months that I could really face running again regularly as I was just too damned tired before that - I only went out when she had been screaming all day with colic and I needed to de-stress more than I needed to sleep which was very rare - most times sleep won over every time .

It's taken a long while to feel like I was running again rather than shuffling along - I've only just started doing the odd 5km and 10km and she is now 9 months old. I've found having a Baby Jogger running buggy a great help as it makes it easier to get a run in during the day if I need to.

I think everyone is different in getting back to running after babies. I know you see people like Sonia O'Sullivan running internationally like ridiculously soon after giving birth but that is just not normal. There's a runner I know who has run for Britain who has found it a real struggle to get back running again after and is still tired and knackered and just not up to racing and training and all that. Her baby is now 6 or so months.

Sorry for the long post - I think I rambled a bit.

Good luck with the running - how old is your baby now?
02/08/2002 at 23:13
Ooops, sorry. Have just read the article which Sean Fishpool suggested reading and it seems that it's now considered okay to start vigorous training "from six weeks to three months following delivery" Eeeeek!

I felt like I'd never be able to run ever again six weeks afterwards. Still, I sent off my marathon entry form the other day so I obviously don't feel that way any more.

Good luck and happy running,

E
03/08/2002 at 13:28
I found it very difficult after having a baby - that was mainly due to lack of sleep however (and still is 7 years later!!).
Sorry about that - good luck and I hope you get running again soon!
04/08/2002 at 09:39
thanks for all of those. My baby is now 4.5 months old. I've been walking for nearly an hour a day since about a week after the birth. I've just started back in the gym and have attempted a couple of 10 minute runs which have been ok. I've also been doing a postnatel excersise class run by a midwife whose advice was to wait until my baby was at least 20 weeks old before doing any high impact stuff as the ligaments are aparently still softened. It seems everybody has a different view on when you are ok to start running again. The breast feeding counceller said you shouldn't run whilst breast feeding because again the natural support which is usually there dissapears whilst you are producing milk.
So you can see my dilema, no decent medical studies on any of this. I guess I'll take it really easy and see what happens.
Luckily I got a little angel who sleeps right through the night, so tiredness isn't too much of a problem.
Lou
04/08/2002 at 20:05
Did you run a lot before the whole pregnancy and birth shenanigans?

Lucky you on having a wee one who sleeps so well. My dear hubby was training for London and Caitlin was still waking 2 or 3 times a night right up until a few weeks before. He always went in to get her out of her cot and then brought her to me to feed and then he took her back to her cot again so I bearly had to surface out of sleep.

I don't know how he did it. He was often getting up at 6am and doing 7 or so miles and then going out for another 7 or so miles in the evening. He was hoping to run a qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games but then he got injured with 3 weeks to go and is only just getting over the injury now. Poor sod.
05/08/2002 at 11:10
I did run quite a lot before the whole pregnancy lark - but have an ongoing IT band problem hence my phobia of injury.
Am off to a session for beginners at the running club tonight so we'll see what happens
05/08/2002 at 11:40
Hope you have a good session tonight, Louise.

That 20-week figure has a very plucked-from-the-air feel about it (and you can't have relaxin postnatally because it's only produced by the corpus luteum, whose breakdown plays a part in the onset of labour - although relaxin almost certainly isn't the only ligament-softening hormone in pregnancy) but midwives are often very protective (and rightly so) of "their" new mums' need for lots of rest. The whole pregnancy and birh shebang, followed by having to dance attendance day and night on a baby and soothe the jealous anxieties of partners and older children, is completely exhausting.

Still, NOT exercising postnatally causes much more long-term damage than getting back in the swing at the earliest opportunity.

Cheers, V-rap.
05/08/2002 at 12:35
Three weeks after the birth of my second (and last), I started a 3 times a week gym regime which included some treadmill running, cycling and rowing as well as lots of weights. Did a post-natal class once a week too. By the time I went back to work when she was 16 weeks old I was in good shape and fit. In fact, I came second in a fitness assessment 'competition' at work when she was 5 months old.

I wasn't even a runner at that stage. My first marathon was when she was 20 months and she thought the medal was 'chocolate gold' and tried to feed it to me. Aah.

Moral of the story? Horses for courses. Listen to your body but I agree not exercising is more dangerous than starting back as soon as you're ready. Also, you'll bring your child up with an exercising parent as a role model, so no future couch potato.
06/08/2002 at 08:27
I also started running again when my wee one was six weeks old and initially I felt better than I had sometimes pre-baby! Then I started taking my running a bit more seriously, did a good few 10k's, although I have to admit it was hard work as I breast fed and still do at bedtime. My daughter is now 14 motnhs old and I am in training for the Great North run. I would recommend taking it slowly to begin with as obviusly your body has gone through a lot of changes but it is worthwhile in the end - most other mothers I meet don't know where I get the energy from to go out and run - but if they did it they would feel an awful lot better. I think it is important as well to listen yo your body I was bad for going out when I was really tired and felt worse afterwards. My only problem now is thinking I might have to slow down again if I have another one.
06/08/2002 at 10:56
Karen, how did you find fitting in the training for your first marathon? The wee one will be 19 months by the time London comes round - it will be my third marathon and I'm not sure what sort of time to aim for in terms of how much running I'll be able to fit in. Last marathon, I was running 4 or 5 times a week and did 3 hours 58 - this time I'd like to aim for 3 hours 45. I guess I'll just have to go on how it feels at the time. What do you do about childcare whilst you're running? I don't think Caitlin will last over an hour in her running buggy.
06/08/2002 at 15:41
Its like a convention of super mums!

I'm not in the same league as you lot as I didn't start running till after I had my second kid. I think she was about 4-5 months old when I first went out. I just did it to try and get back in shape. I was still breastfeeding at the time. Hadn't run before this but didn't have any horrible things happen to me because of it!
I work 3 days a week and manage to fit in two sneeky trips to the treadmill at the gym on the way to pick them up and then try to get out on a weekend for a longer run. I have been a bit slack recently but did realy well last week.
I think running has been absolutely fantastic at getting me back into shape after having my kids quite close together. And I realy enjoy it, which I spose all you Super mums already do! Now I do it because I like having the time to myself to think and its something I do thats just for me.
06/08/2002 at 21:17
I found it took a long time to enjoy running again. When I very first started running, I was already pretty fit and so it was never really difficult. Just after Caitlin was born, it was like starting from scratch - I had to stop and walk after 10 minutes. It took weeks to get so that I could run 4 miles without stopping to walk.
The only thing that kept me going was remembering what it used to be like when running felt good and easy and I could run without thinking about it.

Running has changed for me post baby too in that I appreciate just being able to run in a way I never did before I'd experienced the relative incapacity of being hugely pregnant. Plus as you say it's time to think and something just for me which post baby is soooo precious.
07/08/2002 at 09:58
I think its totaly brilliant that you have done loads of marathons and are going to do the London marathon next year. I'd love to do the London marathon. But I have only done one half marathon (Leeds this year) to date. I am supposed to be doing the robin hood half marathon in September. My other half has done the London marathon the last two years, it was him who convinced me to give running a go in the first place. Apart from feeling a little bit daunted that I am not realy capable of doing it it is a worry thinking about sacrificing the time to do the long runs at weekend when you want to be with the kids. Fitting it all in is a realy hard sometimes.
07/08/2002 at 10:19
Running muppet,
You mentioned baby joggers. I have been considering these, what are your thoughts on them?
So far as I can see, there is only one type of running buggy, and these are made by baby jogger, and are £299. Is this right, and if so, are they worth it?
Thanks
07/08/2002 at 11:37
RW did a test on them years back - I think the results are archived somewhere on this site. Baby Jogger came out as the best to run with I seem to remember.

Mine is by Baby Jogger (they're distributed by Little Green Earthlets in this country - are originally from America and adjusted to British Safety Standards). They do a Zipper which a few people in my running club have which is smaller (more manoeverable around shops and easier to fit in your car boot) and 'only' £199. These don't have a lifetime warranty on the frame which the standard Baby Jogger II does but seem to be just as good to run with - better with the 16' wheels as opposed to the 12'. I got the standard BJII one mainly because I preferred the option in terms of seat colours (sad I know) and liked the idea of a lifetime warranty - also it has a longer wheelbase which means there is less weight over the front wheel which makes it a bit lighter to turn.

I find it great because I couldn't afford a regular gym membership with a creche and with my hubby wanting to run too, sometimes it's the only way to fit a run in. I do prefer to run without it because as I said before it's nice to have time by myself. I know people who run with their partners and take turns in pushing and do 2 hour runs with theirs! I've only run up to 6 miles with mine. One couple bring their daughter out on our Thursday night session and she sleeps whilst they run. Theirs is a different one which can attach to their bikes too as they do lots of cycling as well.

I've seen quite a few at races too - I'm thinking of doing the Cabbage Patch 10 with mine as hubby wants to run too.

I got a smaller normal buggy too for using round the shops and things but I find I use the Baby Jogger all the time because it's so nice to walk with - rolls really easily and I can walk properly with big strides and also it's easy to push with one hand although it is a tad tricky to manoevre in small spaces.
We do lots of walks over the Downs and use it in preference to our back carrier most of the time although you have to lift it over stiles. We've also taken it up a small mountain in Ireland but with the big rocks, in retrospect, a back carrier would have been easier.

I think it's the best value for money thing we bought. It also has the advantage of making Caitlin known everywhere I go as the baby with the posh buggy.
07/08/2002 at 11:51
Ginger,
I think it's fantastic you've done so much already. Fitting it all in is really hard and even more so if you work full or part-time too. For a very few people running is their life and life gets fitted in around running - for the rest of us, life comes first and running fits around that - it's supposed to make life more enjoyable and there's no point sacrificing really important things like time with your kids when you can run marathons in a few years time instead.
07/08/2002 at 12:22
Having well-trained children is part of the solution. I used to go out running in the evening after they'd gone to bed, so their father couldn't moan too much about excess childcare requirements. I found that I really enjoyed my runs as a time for myself and my thoughts. These days it's rather easier as I live on my own and the children live with their father! He has actually started doing some running and takes the children out early evening, sometimes their on their bikes and sometimes they run too (daughter more likely to run than son - trainee couch potato). I have done a run/bike session with them including a picnic which totalled ~12 miles and they were fine. They are aged 12 & 9 (this Sunday coming). My daughter did her first Race for Life 5k aged 5, and at the great age of 8 this year our pb was 34 minutes.

They know all about races and supporting and I've now added in the 'club vest spotting' element for extra interest. They are old enough for me to say 'stay there' until I finish the race (although the longest I've tried this for so far is 7k)!
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