Image: Alexis Berg / Strava.
Those first few months are a fantastic yet gruelling time for new mums; your baby has arrived, you've settled into your new role, you're tired but you're also itching to get some of your normal routine back – including your running. But it is safe while you’re still nursing your newborn?
You can certainly get back into running while you’re still at the breastfeeding stage, says Vicki Hill, a personal trainer who specialises in postnatal exercise. However, you’ll have a whole new set of issues to consider – including your leaky, tender chest. Here’s her best advice for running during this stage:
1. Don’t rush into it
First things first: new mothers should wait at least three to four months before they start running, says. ‘Even if you have had a good birth, you need to give your body a chance to recover before doing high intensity exercise.’
2. Feed or express milk before your run
Want to avoid leaking milk while you’re out running? ‘If you have very full breasts then definitely feed or express you head out - this is for your own comfort, so your breasts feel less tender and sore on your run.’
3. Ease back in
Many new mothers may have reduced or stopped their running during pregnancy, meaning they should start by run-walking at a low intensity. ‘Build up gradually rather than attempting your old routine,’ says Vicki.
4. Buy the right sports bra (don’t just rely on your old one)
You may be tempted to throw on your old sports bra and get on with it, but this won’t do after pregnancy. ‘It’s really important to get a good sports bra and not to try and squeeze into your old one as your body will have changed.’ Make sure you buy a supportive sports bra, like the Shock Absorber range, recommends Vicki. ‘Alternatively, if you are looking to take your baby on the run with you – and this shouldn’t be before seven months onwards – Hotmilk produces sports bras for nursing.’
5. Stay hydrated
While there is no concrete evidence that running affects breast milk flow, we do know that dehydration can cause problems – so make sure you drink enough water before, during and after your run. ‘Sometimes mothers will get back from a run and think about their baby straight away and not bother about their own hydration,’ adds Vicki. For yours and your baby’s sake, make sure you look after your own needs too!