Activity, Rest, and Breast-Feeding

Topic Overview

Striking a balance between exercise and rest will help you feel your best while breast-feeding. Try to plan a schedule that incorporates both into your routine.

Exercise helps promote weight loss, improves your energy level, and can help you relieve stress. Keep the following in mind as you start an exercise program while you are breast-feeding:

  • Start out slowly. Walking, swimming, and cycling are all good low-impact ways to begin an exercise program. Gradually build up your time and intensity.
  • Wear a supportive bra. Not all sports bras offer enough support, so try on a bra before you buy it.
  • Consume more calories when needed. Generally, you should stick with a diet of at least 1,800 calories per day. Typically, you will gradually lose about 1 lb (0.5 kg) to 2 lb (0.9 kg) per week. Extreme weight-loss diets should be avoided while breast-feeding.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active.

Rest is also important for breast-feeding women to maintain their energy and milk production. You likely will not have a normal schedule when you first start to breast-feed. But you can take naps and find time to rest for short periods throughout the day, such as when your baby sleeps. It is very important to ask for help when you need it. Ideally, plan ahead for certain periods that a friend, relative, or babysitter can come in to help with your chores and child care so you can exercise or rest.

Credits

Author Sandy Jocoy, RN
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Terrina Vail
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Anne Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Updated May 4, 2009

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.