My friend Road Warriorette’s post yesterday about Travel for Nursing Moms reminded how I worked yoga around a very demanding breastfeeding schedule in the early days. By the time I was given clearance for exercise by the doc, I was so ready to get back on my mat. I was achy and sore all over from crappy sleep and nursing every three hours on.the.dot (and more when he went through growth spurts!).
I had my usual Sunday morning ashtanga classes at the time. I had the option of the 9 am full primary or the 11 am abbreviated version. It was nice having two classes to choose from depending on how much energy I had and what mood the baby was in. More often than not, the 11 am class worked out better sleep-wise for me.
I was almost always able to nurse the baby before I left for class. The timing usually worked out that way. There were a few times where he wasn’t hungry yet, and I’d pumped before I left. Emptying the breasts prior to class helped a TON for comfort (especially for jump backs!). Of course, immediately after I got back, we would nurse.
For the Austin Yoga Expo I attended in May, I was going to be away from the baby for 6 hours. There aren’t really private rooms at a convention/event center, so I talked my husband into meeting me at a park nearby to nurse the kid in the car before I headed back to the Expo. My back-up plan: Bring a manual pump, a cooler and some storage bags to use in the bathroom (ick). Hand expression is one of the most effective and useful skills for removing milk when in a pinch too!
One big tip for you new mamas: If you get sweaty from yoga (heated practice, bikram or you just work up a big sweat), make sure to change out of your wet clothes ASAP to prevent thrush. All that moisture trapped in a binding sports top creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus to grow. Also, wearing a tight sports bra for too long can affect milk supply and/or cause clogged ducts. Ouch! Believe me, neither thrush nor clogged ducts are pleasant in any way, shape or form. Prevention is key.
Take care of the girls while you get back into your yoga practice, and you’ll get the benefits of breastfeeding AND yoga throughout your nursing relationship.