Jack is 2 1/2 months old now (HOW?!?!), and I have been working out again for about a month since waiting to exercise postpartum. I am still exclusively nursing Jack which can sometimes make returning to fitness a little more challenging. Below are some tips to keep in mind, and are things that have helped me take care of my health AND little Jack.
WORKING OUT & NURSING DOESN'T AFFECT MILK SUPPLY
Despite what some people think, research actually shows working out while breastfeeding actually does NOT affect your milk supply (email me if you want some good articles on this). It can change the taste of your milk immediately after very intense exercise, but it does not change the nutritional value in any way. Usually if you wait a little after working out, the taste of your milk will be back to normal (my babies have never seemed to notice a difference). The actual act of exercise does not affect your supply, as long as you adjust your hydration and nutrition appropriately.
Hydration is super important while nursing in general (for obvious reasons), but it is even more important when you're exercising because you're losing more fluid. Make sure to drink A LOT! If you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated. Water intake is one of the biggest factors that impacts my milk supply. I aim to drink about 120 oz a day. Having a water bottle on hand at all times makes all the difference, and is the only reason I am able to stay on top of drinking. I have a white 32 oz TruFlask bottle with a straw lid, and it's THE BEST!
EAT, EAT, EAT!
In general, nursing burns about 500 extra calories a day, so when you also start working out, it's so important to make sure you're fueling your body properly. A lot of women are eager to lose weight postpartum, so they start working out a ton and reducing their calorie intake. Without those extra calories, it's hard on your body to produce milk. Even if their milk supply is able to hang on, you will have a hard time losing weight (and/or keeping it off), because you body NEEDS food to sustain itself, build lean muscle, and fuel your metabolism. The most important thing is to provide your little one with vital nutrients. Focus on eating lots of REAL food so it can keep up with you. Healthy fats are something I've noticed help me with keeping a high milk supply, and also keeping me full and satisfied. I love nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut, and oils. Also, try adding in some of THESE FOODS that are beneficial for milk production.
To me, the hardest part of nursing and working out is the timing. Not only do I have to figure out a time to workout around Piper, but now also Jack and his feeding schedule. The key for me has been to plan ahead. I plan out what I want to do each week, and the duration, and then figure out the how to get it in day-to-day. I save longer workouts for the weekend, when Jordan is home, and short workouts I can do during the day during nap time, or at night. It's a process of trial and error, and I don't stress about it too much. Some days the timing is off, and a workout doesn't happen, and that’s okay! I'm just doing my best. Having a sliver of time every day to take care of myself is so important because the whole rest of the day is spent on everyone else. It's so easy to put myself on the back burner, which never ends well. If it is a priority, you'll figure out how to make it work. It's not always easy, but it is possible if it's important enough.