Breastfeeding Female Athletes

breastfeeding mom female athlete

We commend all female professional athletes that choose to publicly breastfeed their babies during games, especially during those games that are televised and broadcasted on the news. Last week, the BBC New reported that Emily Brierley of the Stanningley Ladies rugby league (England) had been subbed during a game last weekend so that she could breastfeed her 14-week-old daughter Arabella. She shared the photo and it was reported on the bbcnews.com and she said it “opened up a lot of people’s minds” about nursing in public, which is still frowned upon in many places around the world. Rewind back to March of 2021 during the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship when Adia Barnes, the female head coach of the Arizona Wildcats Women’s Basketball team, pumped during a halftime show for her then 6-month old daughter. She used her breast pump in the locker room, came back out to the court and her baby was able to feed from her bottle. As stated on Today.com, Adia Barnes says she is the only head coach of a top-25 team with a baby under the age of two. “It’s hard. You wonder, is it possible? ” Barnes explained. “I’ve had my moments of breaking down and being like, ‘I just can’t do this. It's too much. But this is what I'm meant to do."

Being a mom and an athlete with a demanding career can be challenging. After birth, most mothers who are athletes want to start training again and return to their sport as quickly as possible. Breastfeeding requires a lot of energy and takes a lot of patience. Pre-baby, you may have woken up at 5am to train, but with a baby on board, that 5am wake up call might end up becoming an hour long nursing session! Postpartum healing is very important for your body, don’t rush back into things like lifting and running too quickly. Sleep is super important for a successful recovery, don’t let the gym supersede catching z’s.  When you start to train again, use a lower intensity and use lighter weights. Try to do activities where baby can join in; invest in a jogging stroller or a front facing baby carrier. A nursing sports bra is also important so that you can feed at a moment’s notice. Remember that breastfeeding burns calories but you also must eat a healthy, nutrient rich diet to maintain your breast milk supply and to prevent exhaustion, dizziness and fainting. When you are burning extra calories during exercise, make sure to supplement your diet with more food to get the extra calories and energy your body will need to keep producing breast milk. Our premium lactation cookies are an excellent addition to your breastfeeding diet. Make sure to drink more water than usual too. Not only does water keep you quenched and moving, it is also key for breast milk production. Need a sports nursing bra for your workout routine? Shop our selection of sports nursing bras.

Speak with your doctor or a health professional about an exercise program specific to your needs and your body. Most general recommendations assume average resting metabolic rate as well as average recommendations for exercise which shockingly is only 2.5 hours per week of moderate exercise and 1 hour per week of more intense exercise such as running. Athlete moms require many more hours spent on exercise and require more intense training than simply running. Be sure to load up on calorie dense snacks to maintain your milk supply and to prevent exhaustion, dizziness and fainting. Also make sure you are getting enough sleep. Rest is SO important for you physically, mentally and emotionally.