Breastfeeding and Strength Training

Hi there,

I have a 3 months old son and a 3 yrs daughter. I am breastfeeding my son. I am strength training 4-5 days/week, elliptical 1 day and running 1 day/week (4-5 miles = 35-45 mins). I consider myself to be a mostly healthy eater. We are east indian so I tend to eat alot of curries, but cut out the fats. I am putting on the muscles and my indian dresses are getting tight on my traps and shoulders. I would like to lean out. Do I need to do more cardio? Lift lighter weights? I am sore the next day(scale 1-10 being 6 sore). Your expert advice will be greatly appreciated.

Well, the first thing I would ask would be what is your goal or the ‘look’ you are going after. I’m not sure if you are on a split lifting schedule to build muscle or ir you take classes. That makes a difference. I NEVER tell someone to lift ‘lighter’ weights. ;) I lift super heavy and I get lean for my competitions. It’s mostly diet. 80% of it really is. However, the ACSM guidelines for cardiovascular activity are currently:

“Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. ”

This can be broken down any way that fits in your schedule, with it at least being 20mins each. I recommend 3-4hrs/wk for people trying to lose weight/fat. While leaning out, you may not lose ‘weight’ but lose fat while staying the same weight since muscle weights more, while created a much leaner look which makes you appear to have lost weight. Another thing you can do is to add some interval training, HITT, or circuit training to still lift and work on strength but to also work more edurance and get more calorie burn. Group ex strength classes are great for this, but I wouldn’t recommend doing them every day. Every other day is good so that your body can rest. You can do cardio in between or on the same days.

Breast feeding also burns calories, so be careful not to cut your calories too low. Definitely use a guide, like the nutrition on this site or, the RDA’s website. The estimated calories for breast-feeding is 200-500cals per day. So make sure you have this added to your daily calorie intake. If your little one is 3mos, you should be ok to try out some of these things or a new diet. You generally want to wait until after at least 2 months, or it could create a dip in the production of breast milk.

Long story short, clean diet, right amount of calories including what’s needed for milk production, cardio, and possible changes in your workout schedule. Hope that helps! Congratulations on the little one and Good luck! ;)