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  1. #1
    Registered User Sunbeamm's Avatar
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    Cool Can you build muscle while breastfeeding?

    I have lifted weights for years. I continued to do so up until recently (as I am 37 weeks pregnant and about to pop). Although I have kept up protein, carbs and calories, the hormonal changes of pregnancy have really turned my muscles to mush. My question:

    DUE TO THE UNUSUAL HORMONAL STATE OF YOUR BODY DURING BREASTFEEDING, IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUILD MUCH MUSCLE WITH WEIGHT TRAINING?

    I have tried to research this. All I seem to find is Q&A on the post-pregnant body and loosing weight. And much over simplified, very beginner advice. The weight loss will come I am not worried of this. I am interested in the muscle building for strength and shape.

    There is the obvious of not to overdo it at first while the relaxin still has your ligaments and joints in a more fragile state. And obviously don't try and loose your weight too fast so that loose bone and muscle.

    I am a very shapeless, stringy person unless I buld some curve with muscle. Will my wacky breastfeeding hormones make it a near impossiblility to gain my muscle curves and strength back?

    Any insight on this would be appreciated!
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  2. #2
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    Your hormones are indeed messed up whilst breastfeeding but if I were you I would go ahead and weight train pretty much as you normally would if you feel up to it. I don't think it's an impossibility to gain muscle whilst breastfeeding but logic tells me that it would be more difficult. But put it this way, even if you can't GAIN muscle while breastfeeding, why not weight train in order to KEEP the muscle you already have? Cause if you don't use it, yep, you lose it! I started weight lifting while I was breastfeeding but I had to stop for a while because I developed severe DeQuervain's tendinitis from handling my son 24/7 (incidentally the breastfeeding was the hardest on my tendons) otherwise I would have been able to see for myself if I was able to gain muscle while I was breastfeeding. But if I were you, I'd go ahead and weight train! I mean you've got nothing to lose if you go ahead and weight train then you can find out for yourself if you are able to gain muscle while breastfeeding. You would need to get your bodyfat measured at the start so you can determine your lean muscle mass then give it a couple months and measure again, see if you gained any muscle. Remember to stick to a good diet during this time to give your body the fuel it needs to build the muscle tissue. A good sign that you are probably gaining some muscle is if you are getting stronger (altho it's possible to get stronger without gaining more muscle mass). So, give it a shot, see if you can answer your own question!

    Oh, I see that you are also pregnant, well then obviously wait til 4-6 weeks after you have the baby to get back into weight training. But definitely don't give up hope that you can't gain some muscle while you're breastfeeding, don't give up on that idea, I wouldn't! I weight trained all the way up until I went into labor, my water actually broke IN THE GYM and then I was back at it about 4 weeks after having my son and stayed at it for a few months until I developed the severe tendinitis then I quit for 7-8 months and picked it back up about a month after I quit breastfeeding (August '06). I did lose some muscle mass and gained fat (of course) even tho I lifted all thru the pregnancy and was back to exercising regularly 4 weeks after I had him (minus the weights for a time). I'm still working on getting all the muscle mass back, I'm almost there, still working on getting my pre-pregnancy strength back too, again, almost there. It does take a while though! So that's one thing, you have to learn to be patient but don't give up, patience and perseverance will prevail!
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  3. #3
    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    Talking

    I've tried, but it's hard to get the woman who just had a baby to stand still while I'm squatting.


















    Sorry, couldn't resist.
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  4. #4
    Registered User pitmommy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Sunbeamm View Post
    I have lifted weights for years. I continued to do so up until recently (as I am 37 weeks pregnant and about to pop). Although I have kept up protein, carbs and calories, the hormonal changes of pregnancy have really turned my muscles to mush. My question:

    DUE TO THE UNUSUAL HORMONAL STATE OF YOUR BODY DURING BREASTFEEDING, IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUILD MUCH MUSCLE WITH WEIGHT TRAINING?

    I have tried to research this. All I seem to find is Q&A on the post-pregnant body and loosing weight. And much over simplified, very beginner advice. The weight loss will come I am not worried of this. I am interested in the muscle building for strength and shape.

    There is the obvious of not to overdo it at first while the relaxin still has your ligaments and joints in a more fragile state. And obviously don't try and loose your weight too fast so that loose bone and muscle.

    I am a very shapeless, stringy person unless I buld some curve with muscle. Will my wacky breastfeeding hormones make it a near impossiblility to gain my muscle curves and strength back?

    Any insight on this would be appreciated!
    Ok I competed one year after breast feeding my third son . You will likely retain some weight, those stubborn ten to fifteen lbs, but as soon as your done breastfeeding it will come right off.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Sunbeamm's Avatar
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    Buffed wild cat. Yes I am going to train anyway so as not to lose what muscle I still have. I just did not know whether have high hopes of really gaining some muscle back while my hormones are in breastfeeding mode. True to what you said I think a big part of it will being getting enough of the right kinds of fuel for my body. Building and breastfeeding are two nutritionally demanding tasks all at once.

    Pitmommy, that does give me some confidence that you were able to compete one year after breastfeeding your third. Good for you!

    Defiant1, by all means...don't resist. I wouldn't want you to burst!
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  6. #6
    Registered User Food_Discussion's Avatar
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    My biggest issue with muscle was the lack of sleep. Baby#1 was/is an incredibly wakeful baby and living on 2-4 hours a night for over a year wasn't really cool for recovery/training. It's not likely you'll have such an intense baby though, so provided you can train and eat enough you can gain muscle, I gained a noticable amount in my legs...I know I could have done a lot better in prebaby circumstances but baby comes first For ME while breastfeeding fat loss is the really hard part.
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  7. #7
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    I breastfed baby #3 for a year and I managed to gain some muscle. You will need to eat a lot if you want to do both, I think I was averaging 3500 cals/day - which to me is a lot of food. And like a PP said you will continue to hold onto some fat, which usually comes off after you wean. I dropped 10 lbs when I weaned my ds at 13 months. In my case I got pregnant with baby #4 shortly after I weaned ds, so I'm pretty much starting over. I'm planning on breastfeeding her at least a year and I'm just now getting back to the gym (bedrest the last weeks of pregnancy and we just completed a move across the state).

    Enjoy the last few weeks of your pregnancy, your new baby and make sure you take care of yourself!
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    Goal: To lose the 45 lbs I gained during my 4th pregnancy
    Update: Reached goal on 9/28/07!
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  8. #8
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    Ok, looks like I am really late to this one, you have probably had your baby by now, so congratulations...hopefully you will have time to get back on the forums at some point.

    I bf my daughter until she was a year. Many people swear up and down that once you start bfing, the weight will just fall off. Well, that didn't happen for me, even though I was eating healthy and working out. My body held on to about the last 15 lbs to keep up milk production (I gained 27 lbs with the pregnancy). And I still struggled to keep a full milk supply.

    I was able to gain muscle fairly easily but still wasn't happy with the way I looked because I couldn't lose the baby fat (still have 5 lbs to go). One of the hardest things was finding the energy to workout with interupted sleep every night. She never slept through the night until I weaned her.

    Also, take note that if you begin to lift and feel muscle soreness, there will be lactic acid build up in your muscles which can change the flavor of the milk. Some babies are sensitive to it, others don't care (mine didn't).

    Here is an awesome website for all things breastfeeding:
    www.kellymom.com
    Last edited by runnermama; 04-03-2007 at 06:16 AM. Reason: Updated website kellymom without an "ey"...SORRY!
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  9. #9
    Just doin' my thing... BuffedWildCat's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by runnermama View Post
    ...
    Also, take note that if you begin to lift and feel muscle soreness, there will be lactic acid build up in your muscles which can change the flavor of the milk. Some babies are sensitive to it, others don't care (mine didn't).

    Here is an awesome website for all things breastfeeding:
    www.kelleymom.com
    I agree with the website, great website, I used it too.

    I have to ask though, where did you get the information about lactic acid affecting your milk? I am curious cause I researched it when I was pregnant with my son and the information I found said that was a myth. I also lifted heavy and hard both during my pregnancy and for a short time while I was breastfeeding and never had a problem. If you can find that information I'd like if you could tell me where to look so I can go read up on it cause that's not what I read and of course I want to make sure that I have the right information. Thanks.
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  10. #10
    **In rare form** runnermama's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BuffedWildCat View Post
    I agree with the website, great website, I used it too.

    I have to ask though, where did you get the information about lactic acid affecting your milk? I am curious cause I researched it when I was pregnant with my son and the information I found said that was a myth. I also lifted heavy and hard both during my pregnancy and for a short time while I was breastfeeding and never had a problem. If you can find that information I'd like if you could tell me where to look so I can go read up on it cause that's not what I read and of course I want to make sure that I have the right information. Thanks.
    From Kellymom.com:

    Does lactic acid increase in breastmilk after exercise?
    Research has not shown a noticable increase in lactic acid buildup after moderate exercise (50% & 75% intensity). The lactic acid in breastmilk does increase somewhat if mom exercises to maximum (100%) intensity, also described as exhaustive exercise. This increase may be present up to 90 minutes post-exercise. There are no known harmful effects for the baby.


    Will baby refuse the breast after mom exercises?
    Most studies have found no difference in acceptance of the breast, even after maximum intensity exercise.

    Although a highly publicized 1992 study indicated that baby might fuss or refuse expressed milk from a mom who had been exercising at 100% intensity, the results were questionable because the babies were fed the milk by dropper (unfamiliar to these babies), and the mothers reported that the babies had not had problems with nursing after exercise in the past. A more recent study showed no change in infants' acceptable of mom's milk an hour after exercise, even for the moms who exercised at maximum intensity (and thus did have a slight increase in lactic acid in their milk).

    Dr. Ruth Lawrence, in her most recent volume (Breastfeeding, A Guide for the Medical Profession, 1999 edition) says that there is no reason to wait to nurse after exercising.

    Exercise guidelines for breastfeeding mothers
    For your own comfort, you may wish to nurse before exercising and wear a good, supportive bra (especially during strenuous exercises such as running, jumping, etc).
    Some babies don't like nursing when mom has been sweating (due to the salt on mom's skin) so you may wish to rinse your breasts or take a shower before nursing.
    If you regularly lift weights or do other exercises involving repetitive arm movement and you develop plugged ducts, cut back and start again more slowly.
    Keep yourself hydrated.

    I should have noted the intensity level (maximum) would increase the lactic acid levels the most;however, in the study sited above- they didn't seem to feel this was an issue in regards to the babies accecpting/not accepting the breast after exercise (unless you count trying to give them the milk through a dropper). Other articles suggest the baby may not want to nurse post-workout:

    http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/Heal...np=302&id=2143

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...t_uids=1306643

    Either way, I think a combination bfing and exercising has extremely positive benefits for both mom and baby and I was in NO way trying to discourage her from doing either. The only way she is going to know if this is the case for her own personal situation is to try it and see. That's what I did, and like I said, we had no issues. Just wanted to throw it out there as a possibility.
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  11. #11
    Just doin' my thing... BuffedWildCat's Avatar
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    Yep, okay, yes, that is what I remember reading. Thanks. Just wanted to double check that I was remembering correctly. Thanks for taking the time to post that.
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  12. #12
    Registered User fothash's Avatar
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    I just gave birth 6 weeks ago, I agree with the website as did my doc, when I talked to him about bf and excercisng. He greatly encouraged it. Low-Mod excercise, Eat "good" cal's to make milk.


    The info was very helpful. Im looking forward to getting back into shape.
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    I have a question for you guys ! I was a martial artist years ago and had a great body,"lived" at the gym and one day got depressed and had to take meds that made me lose weight. Well,couple years later I am at 114 lbs and unhappy with my body,even though I was just slim,not too bad. I got pregnant and went up to 152 lbs but I was just belly and breasts. Now I've been breastfeeding my son for almost a year and I'm back to 114 lbs,SUPER skinny and smetimes get an annoying "pouch" poking out !
    I need to start lifting again but I'm not sure about what protein shake would be better to take and I don't know from where to start,how to gain mass...I need to put more 12 lbs on and get my butt/thighs back ! I don't want to gain a lot on arms/back but need my butt and thighs to fill my pants again ! I went from the size 42 to 36 ! I'm so upset !
    Please,help me !
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  14. #14
    Registered User toodlepip's Avatar
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    Nicloe:You need to take your time and thoroughly read these two threads:

    Calorie needs: https://igoodies.000webhostapp.com/?viagra=showth...hp?t=121703921

    Training basics: https://igoodies.000webhostapp.com/?viagra=showth...hp?t=121703921

    You need to gain weight and therefore need to eat over your maintenance calories. So figure those out using the above thread.

    Find a good lifting program you like. You don't need protein shakes unless you like the convenience of them.
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    Great topic, i also nurse my daughter abd wirk out
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    @Buffed Wild Cat
    I noticed you mentioned bf being the hardest on your tendons. When did that subside? Did it continue the whole time you were bf? I have been vf for 8 months now and have the worst tendon inflammation including DE quervains. I have had a couple cortisone injections but at this point they are wearing off. I'm not sure if giving up bf would solve the issue but I never had these problems before pregnancy. I have asked several doctors and therapist, they all say there is no correlation, I think that is BS. I'm hoping my body returns to normal after bf, all the inflammation makes training very hard.
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    Just found this. .I'm on here because I am sooooo freaking hungry. ..I started weight lifting again after a couple year break, in October. I am still nursing a16 month old who still wakes 3 times a night. ..and I am just hungry. ..I'm about to turn 40. I want my muscles back. I'm not trying to get a "hot" body just build muscle because like I said I'm almost 40. I'm just wondering if any other nursing mom's are this freaking hungry?
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    Originally Posted by Valerie6987 View Post
    Just found this. .I'm on here because I am sooooo freaking hungry. ..I started weight lifting again after a couple year break, in October. I am still nursing a16 month old who still wakes 3 times a night. ..and I am just hungry. ..I'm about to turn 40. I want my muscles back. I'm not trying to get a "hot" body just build muscle because like I said I'm almost 40. I'm just wondering if any other nursing mom's are this freaking hungry?
    Nursing can burn a lot of calories, and if you are adding weightlifting to the mix..yes you will be hungry! Strangely I was more hungry with my daughter vs my son (who I am still nursing at 11.5 months). I tend to get really hungry in the middle of the night, I will keep things in the nursery like nuts and granola bars. Be sure you are eating enough, drinking enough water, and also getting adequate nutrition.. a good mix of protein and fibre helps keep me satiated. Otherwise, if you are doing all those things and are still starving, I think eventually your body will get used to it.. at least that's what I found.
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    Registered User Valerie6987's Avatar
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    I think that may be why I'm hungry, not eating enough, or over eating one meal, getting bloated then not eating till much later. I should probably keep snacks around. And just eat a handful of something more often. The fiber would help, i forget that all the time. ..I crave sleep more than food lol. I swear he still non stop nurses. ..😧
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    Originally Posted by Valerie6987 View Post
    I think that may be why I'm hungry, not eating enough, or over eating one meal, getting bloated then not eating till much later. I should probably keep snacks around. And just eat a handful of something more often. The fiber would help, i forget that all the time. ..I crave sleep more than food lol. I swear he still non stop nurses. ..��
    Yea definitely make sure you are eating enough, especially if your toddler is nursing a lot. I would imagine he is eating solids at maybe nursing has become more for comfort at this point. If it is starting to become a bit too much for you, maybe try setting certain times - ex. only before naps or bedtime, or only when at home in his room etc. Is he nursing out of boredom? I found my daughter would want to nurse more often if she was bored.. distraction, keeping up the activities, or if he is hungry, having snacks ready to offer or milk in a sippy instead of nursing etc. Again, if you are happy with your nursing relationship... disregard all that!
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