Friday, May 31, 2013

SWIM- BIKE- RUN- BREASTFEED- REPEAT

This pic says it all ;)
Here it is! My post on breastfeeding as promised to all athlete new mommies to be. I'm a HUGE breastfeeding advocate and am here to encourage others to at least try to breastfeed. I do not judge any woman who wishes not to breastfeed, so please don't take offence if you are not a breastfeeding mommy. To each their own, but I am obviously writing this to encourage those thinking about breastfeeding and also hoping to get back into training to give them some advice and to share my experiences.

First off, congratulations to all of my friends who are expecting soon or have just had new babes. I am thrilled for all of you and am excited that you are thinking about breast milk for your precious one. I have to admit, at the first though of breastfeeding, I was a bit like...whoa!! I bought a ' How to Breastfeed' book and that made things more confusing. Natures way can't be that complicated??!  Knowing that my plan was to get right back into training, I wondered how it would affect my milk/supply, I took to the internet but unfortunately found no real resources to learn from about breastfeeding and training in endurance sports. I'm here to set the record straight. Or at the very least, how it works for me.




I am a breastfeeding mom and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's natures way. It's not an easy task in the beginning of baby's life, far from it, and in my opinion, you have to be tough to stick out the first week to two  weeks of it. IT HURTS! After about two weeks, it's the easiest thing you can do!


So, here we go. First--a little about the importance of breastfeeding.



  • Human milk contains enzymes, hormones and antibodies that simply can't be duplicated in formula, although formula makers keep trying. They advertise as "most like mothers milk", and keep adding things like DHA and Probiotics, but even they have to agree that breast milk is best. Just look on the can of formula-it says so right on the label, but only because by law, they have to. Since breast milk is always raw and fresh, you don't lose any of the nutrients that are destroyed in formula processing. Breast milk is living tissue that changes to meet your baby's nutritional needs and protect him against disease. 
  • The fat content of human milk varies month to month, day to day and even hour to hour. In cold climates,  human milk contains more fat-in warm climates, more water. If your baby is very hungry, they may nurse more vigorously and receive more fatty hind milk. If baby is more thirsty, they may feed more leisurely and receives lower calorie mile. As baby gets older, the fat content of mile will gradually decrease because the growth will slow and baby will need fewer calories per pound of weight. Standards for formula are based on date about pooled human milk, so every serving of formula is the same. It can't change to meet the different needs of your baby. Human milk constantly adjusts during the whole time your baby is nursing.
  • Human milk also changes to protect your baby against germs and disease. The is especially important during the first 6 months of life while baby's immature system is gradually building his/her own supply of germ fighting elements of immunoglobulins. You provide these through your milk for as long as you breastfeed. If you or your baby is exposed to a germ, your milk immediately begins producing antibodies which protect her from the same germ. The white blood cells in your milk produce a special protein which coats her intestines, preventing the passage of harmful germs from her intestinal tract into her bloodstream. The concentration of antibodies in your milk actually increases as your infant gets older and nurses less often, thus providing protection as long as you nurse. --
  • Breast milk contains antiviral, antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiprotozoal factors as well as antibodies to many specific disease organisms. Breastfed babes have lower incidents of infection, anemia, diarrhea, meningitis, diabetes, gastroenteritis, asthma, constipation, allergies, celiac disease, Chrone's disease, dental and speech problems, childhood cancer, pulmonary disease, cataracts, high cholesterol, and many many more. Artificially fed baby's are three to four times likely to suffer from ear infections and lower respiratory infections, and sixteen times more likely to be sick during the first two months of life. Let's not forget the importance of the emotional security and closeness to mother than nursing infants enjoy. To me, this is one of the most amazing things in the world and such a wonderful time for bonding. My daughter looks into my eyes while nursing and I melt. It's like she's saying..."thank you mommy". If you have ever seen a baby drift off to sleep while nursing, or being comforted at the breast during stress, you know that breastfeeding offers much more than nutritional and immunological advantages. Breastfeeding ensures that the baby will have lots of physical contact with mother-there is no way to "prop" a breast.

Abby was placed in my arms immediately after birth and she latched on within minutes. She knew exactly what to do.
Now on to the part about breastfeeding and training.

While pregnant, I scoured the internet looking for info on endurance training and breastfeeding. I couldn't really find any resources out there specific to what I wanted to do. I knew that I would jump into it all as soon as I could but was a bit worried that I might not produce enough milk, that my milk would taste bad to baby, that my boobs would be to heavy to run, would I eat enough while burning calories to have healthy milk, etc etc etc. I'm here to hopefully help ease your minds new mommies to be. It's really not complicated. 

This is from my own experience as all women are different--

When Abby was three weeks old, I started swimming, biking and running. I was uncertain how all of it would affect my milk, but though I would just learn through trial and error. What I found out is that my body makes milk no matter what I do. How it all has affected me:

You can read it a thousand times..."women who breastfeed burn more calories and lose weight quicker". Um, bologna! Depends on the lifestyle of the woman. Training long in endurance sports and trying to lose baby weight has it's difficulties. If you are sedentary and breastfeed, I think they weight may come off quicker. Being active and breastfeeding is a whole different story. With the amount of calories that you burn by going long, your body tends to hang on to those extra fat stores that you build while pregnant. They do this for a reason. If you burn loads of calories and don't take in enough to replace all that's lost, the body can't produce mile.The milk production has to come from somewhere--the fat stores. I can tell you first hand that once I started training, the weight loss was slow. I could burn 2000 calories 4 days a week and the changes in my body were slow. That was the case for really about the first 3 months. I did lose the weight, but the body changes,' the softness', takes time!! 

Also, breastfed babies eat more often that formula fed babies that means less sleep for mommy. Again, this is only in the beginning. The hard part about this is lack of sleep. I fed Abby every 2 hours through the night. Also, being back in training while not sleeping made life really tough. Every day it seemed that I was getting further and further into sleep deprivation/exhaustion. I can assure you though, this too gets better. Around 4 months, Abby would only wake twice to eat in the night. That meant more sleep for me and that meant I felt much better. Another hard part of the lack of sleep and training while breastfeeding....NO CAFFEINE! I guess some people do, but not me. I don't feel comfortable giving my baby a stimulant so therefore go caffeine free. Oh, what I wouldn't give after a 6 hour brick and 5 hour sleep night to wake up to a full cup of leaded coffee. It would give me a boost I'm sure but I choose to tough it out. After I am finished breastfeeding I will definitely do away with the decaf, but for now, it's all about what's best for baby.

The biggest thing thing as a training/breastfeeding mommy, is that you stay hydrated. You are incredibly thirsty anyway while your body is producing milk, but add the exercise and you need more and more liquids to stay hydrated and to produce that milk. Breastfeeding and training can go hand in hand. You just have to listen to your body. Your body does what it is supposed to do for the needs of your baby, so I say....get on with the training as soon as you can. Don't worry about your milk. After long hard sessions, Abby never once refused my milk. 

Abby is now almost 9 months old and we are still going strong. My plan is to continue to nourish her with my milk until she's 12 months and then she will make the switch to regular milk. . She's already starting to self-wean so we are right on target. She's around 4x daily now.I have an Ironman looming a month before she's 1, and I feel good knowing that my boobs aren't going to swell and pop during the race. It's funny how my body works with what Abby wants and needs. The less milk she takes, the less milk my body makes. Funny how that nature thing works. I am proud to have chosen to breastfeed both of my children. The bond that I feel when my darling baby is nuzzled into my chest eating, looking into my eyes is about the most precious thing that I can imagine in this world. I love it. I hope that this encourages others to at least try it. I promise if you can do it and stick with it, you'll never ever regret it. Also, if any of you have any questions about my experience with 140.6 training and breastfeeding, please message me. I will help all that I can.

One last thing....to prevent making milkshakes (if you catch my drift), try the Under Armour Protegee Sports Bra. Those things are going anywhere with this bra on!! Trust me! PERFECTO!

Good luck mommas~

1 comment:

Colleen said...

THANK YOU!!!! I'm being induced Tuesday and this is my number one concern - training and breast feeding. I do have a question so I'll message you, but this was a fabulous post for a first time nervous mom to be! :)