Breastfeeding mum completes Ironman race while pumping milk

Breastfeeding mum completes Ironman race while pumping milk

Jaime has also finished two previous Ironman races before. She wants to encourage all women that if you put your mind to it, anything's possible.

Parenting is a race in itself. Throw in breastfeeding a hungry baby every day and it’s sure to leave most mums feeling exhausted. Exercising while breastfeeding? Happy to give it a miss, say most of us, definitely not breastfeeding mum Jaime Sloane.

A total Ironwoman, Jaime was seen taking part in the notoriously strenuous Ironman race (a 113km triathlon), while pumping breastmilk!

Jaime Sloan, 34, gave birth to her second baby seven months ago and is still breastfeeding the little one.

The military mum (U.S. Airforce) is no stranger to races and strenuous exercise. Initially, she planned a short stop along the way to pump her breastmilk. But after finishing the cycling part of the race and noticing how well she was doing, she realised that stopping along the way was out of the question. 

So, she “ran and pumped”. 

“By the time I got off the bike I knew I needed to pump,” Jaime explained to local press. “But I was also looking at a personal record because I had had a really awesome bike ride. I just thought, ‘I’m going to do it on my run.”

Pumping while exercising is not new to Jaime.  She explains, “I’ve always found a way of incorporating pumping into my training schedule. “I used to ride my bike to a bike path and then sit there and pump and then get right on my bike.”

Back to the Ironman race, Jaime says pumping and running was a bit tough, because she was already quite tired from the cycling and swimming components of the race. 

To add to that, “I was trying to get it going, and there were people everywhere and I was trying not to flash them. I was nervous at first that I would get some weird looks or even get disqualified due to nudity, but I did my best to cover up and make it work,” she explains. 

“I was able to run for a while and then the milk started spilling out.

Jaime got nothing but positive encouragement from other participants. 

“For the most part I don’t know if people even noticed, I did get some looks from women but they were just big smiles. There were actually two men who ran up to me and asked me if I was okay. I think it was because I had a cloth over myself and at first it might have looked like I was bleeding. But once they looked down and saw my pump they were like ‘oh, okay!’”

exercising while breastfeeding

Exercising while breastfeeding: Jaime Sloan and her daughter Henley, aged 2, with her seven-month-old son. | Image Source: Fox News

Jaime Sloan: An inspiration to other women

Jaime finished the race at a personal best of six hours, 12 minutes and 44 seconds on October 21 2018. It meant a lot to her since she struggled with sciatica while pregnant.

The condition was so severe that Sloan “could barely even walk” after five months.  She had to wait six weeks after giving birth to her son before returning to the racetrack. 

Sloan also emphasised how crucial it was for her daughter, Henley, to witness her finishing the race, and that her training sessions supported her in managing post-partum anxiety.

The mum has some inspirational words for all women out there, saying:

“I hope that it can encourage other women and mothers and really anyone who has a lot going on in their lives. There’s always a way that you can make it happen, you might have to get a little creative from time to time. No matter what, if someone believes they can do something, they can make it happen because it is possible.”

Tips for exercising while breastfeeding

Mums, we know that it can be tough to get back to exercising while pregnant. You might even be worried about getting back to exercise after pregnancy. 

But you shouldn’t worry so much and take things at your own pace, because each mum is different, and will take different times to get back exercising. 

It’s really a matter of understanding your body, and understanding your limits. Don’t push yourself, and recognize what your body is telling you. Knowing you’re capabilities is a sign you’re on the right track.

You might even worry, “Will exercising while breastfeeding affect my supply or ability to produce milk?”

Simply put: no.

Healthcare professionals and medical communities like The Australian Breastfeeding Association all point out that exercising while breastfeeding will not affect breastmilk production. In fact, even strenuous workouts won’t affect the quantity or composition of your breastmilk.

According to Jen Dugard, a fitness specialist for mums, the best thing you can do is “Just educate yourself on what you can do and get to know the warning signs if you’re pushing too hard.” 

Here are some of her helpful tips:

Keep track of your calories

Dugard says that mums should monitor their calorie intake, advising nursing mums to “eat an extra 200 to 300 healthy calories while breastfeeding, so make sure you’re doing that when you’re exercising.”

Many mums unintentionally cut calories during the breastfeeding period, so you should be mindful of your body’s intake.

exercising while breastfeeding

Different mums take different times to get back to exercise after pregnancy. But one thing is clear: exercising while breastfeeding doesn’t affect your breastmilk at all. | Image Source: Stock Photo

Adjust your workouts as necessary

As mentioned before, all mums are different: for some, it’s not always wise to exercise as you used to. From Dugard’s professional experience, “Some women have exercised before pregnancy but find postnatal exercising quite challenging and some women are fine.”

In other words, try exercising slowly – one step at a time. You may want to try out a variety of different routines before you understand what you can and cannot do. In short, just take your time if needed and adjust your workouts accordingly. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Watch out for certain poses and workouts (like yoga)

“Any exercises that involve lying down on your chest (like a cobra pose in Yoga) can be uncomfortable, and it’s not good to compress your chest while you’re breastfeeding,” Dugard advises.

That means staying away from certain positions in yoga and certain stretches in general. Just be mindful of what you’re doing, and avoid lying down on your chest and belly.

Sufficient bra support

Now is the time to invest in good sports bras. Post-pregnancy can leave you more sensitive than ever before, so if you want to maximize your workout, don’t be cheap or careless with your bra.

“If you’re running with your chest bouncing up and down, it isn’t good for breast tissue and it’s really uncomfortable,” says Dugard.

Mums, we hope you’ve been inspired by this article about breastfeeding while exercising. If you liked this article, share your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Reference: New York Post


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Exercising and Breastfeeding

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