Mommy SOS | Running a half-marathon & breastfeeding…do the two go together?


January 20th, 2012: a day I have been looking forward to and dreading at the same time! That is when the PF Changs Half Marathon takes place here in Phoenix, and I plan on running in it. I also, however, am an exculsively breastfeeding mom. Dilemma?

I’ll give you a little history. Four years ago was the first time ever that I said I wanted to run the half. On mine and my hubby’s very first night of training, I was involved in a hit-and-run in which I was struck by a Suburban. Luckily I was not killed {praise God}, but needless to say I didn’t run that year because of physical therapy and such. Then the next year I think I had too much anxiety to think about running on the street again, epecially at night. Then the next year, I was pregnant.

Now, this year I am determined to run! I am not pregnant, I am standing up to my fear of running, I am IN! Except, well, is this affecting my supply?!

I have never once had a supply issue with Braylen. I have always been an overproducer, to an extreme. I worked out a lot while pregnant, then started in again very slowly and inconsistently around eight weeks postpartum. It wasn’t until this past week, when I truly started my training program for the race that I got worried. I ran four times last week, three of them in the evening about an hour before I feed him and he goes to bed. That evening time is great because I can leave him at home once my hubby gets home from work, and run without lugging a heavy jogging stroller with me! Those three times that I ran that late Braylen really struggled going to sleep, and one night I even had to go in and give him a bottle {of only 3 oz} to get him finally to sleep. Normally, he goes down the second I am done feeding him.

So here’s my question: Could that have been just a conincidence? Any running {or intense working out} mamas out there notice it affect their supply?

I just realized that I haven’t been drinking enough water, so I am upping that, and hoping it takes care of any issues! If not, and it truly does affect breastfeeding, I am definitely not willing to sacrifice that just so I can run. After all, the race will be here every year, right?! {although I have said that in prior years. Crap}.

What do you think, moms?


  1. I love exercising and went through this with each of mine. While I didn’t do any heavy training, even the exercise (burning 500-700 cal each time) I was doing affected my supply.

    The best answer I could find online (and from a lactation consultant I talked to) was that they don’t think it should affect your supply IF you replace all your calories – so if you burn 500 cal, make sure to add an additional 500 to your diet so your body has enough calories to convert to breastmilk.

    However, that was not my experience. I had a reduction in supply with every kid when I exercised. What I found worked best was to wait until they were eating some solids and start training then. I could also schedule my workouts for when there was a bigger gap between breast feeding times. Also, when baby is around 6 months, there is a huge increase in the milk they want. I found that before I always had plenty of supply and always right around 6 months I found myself wondering if I was still making enough. Happened with all of mine. My ped said it’s a sign that they are ready for some solid foods. So, maybe that’s your answer?

  2. i wasn’t working out nearly to the extent you would have to for the 1/2, but i too noticed a decreased supply when i would work out. i would see if water helps because i know it always had direct effect on my production.

  3. I just finished the Chosen Half Marathon in Gruene, TX 2 weeks ago, and after I corssed the finished line I went to the restroom where a mother who had also just finished running was breastfeeding her babe, so I know it can be done! Props to you for wanting to try! I do not have kiddos, but am very active and am thinking/planning on how having a baby soon wll affect my athletic activities. I don’t think it has too! Already dreaming of that kick a** jogging stroller I’ll be registering for someday soon! Happy Running to you!

  4. I have a runner friend who had this exact same thing happen to her. She had to give up the race because it was drastically affecting her supply. It obviously doesn’t happen to everyone but it was the case for her most certainly. So sorry!

  5. I’m a mom of 3 (all breastfed) and an avid runner. I ran a half when my daughter was 6 months, in September in NC (2007). I trained all summer in the heat and humidity and she was just fine. In fact, she nursed the longest of my three, until she was two and a half years.

    It’s natural to be anxious about supply, especially the first go round. However, babies’ needs/demands change often and quickly, so it’s very hard to base a change in his behavior on a change in your behavior. As long as you eat well and hydrate, he will be just fine. You could consider pumping prior to your run (I did this for comfort more than anything) and then you will have some in reserve if he seems hungrier.

    Good luck and don’t worry! I find that non-runners can be very skeptical about the safety of running while pg or nursing, but it is a good, healthy thing for you, mentally and physically, as long as you fuel yourself and rest well.

  6. Girl, I so commend you for even contemplating training for a marathon while nursing a baby! And that you desire to keep his best interest first and foremost above training and doing what you want is awesome! You’re an inspiration to us all!! ~Jess xo

  7. As a mother of four and a runner, I know what you are going through. I have found it difficult to keep my supply up too while breastfeeding. (All of mine were breastfed a year or more, still nursing the 4th). I find that I can’t run more than 4 miles and breastfeed w/out supply issues. And as someone else mentioned it may just be a calorie issue. I feel as if I’m eating ALL day as it is. I’ve used fenugreek although not with success. Be sure to check maximum dosage if you do go that route. And I talked to the head of a large hospital’s lactaction consultant. Her best advice she gave me was not to over hydrate. Too much water can slow production too. She suggested alternating a gatorade type drink with water to be sure I was keeping my electrolytes up. Good luck! There will always be more races! I signed up for my next 1/2 when my baby was 1 month old, but the race date was a year and half out. 🙂


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