Triathlete Mom: When Can I “Tri” Again?

Hi, Doc!

May I know how much training is safe while I continue to breast feed my 3 month old baby?  I’m hoping to start joining Triathlon races soon.  Thanks and all the best to your blog.

M.L.P.

 

Dear M.

I was so flattered that I wanted to print your entire name… :-)

If you’ve heard of Amber Miller, the pregnant mom who finished a marathon…then breast feeding and training for a triathlon should be peanuts.

A normal delivery would require a 3-month break from strenuous exertion while a CS would entail a longer wait of 6 months.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tU63b7YrB6M/TGAVeLTKzNI/AAAAAAAACyE/IaitcbQLDo0/s1600/woman-triathlete.jpg

The reasons are mainly:

(1) your body has not fully recovered yet. You may feel as strong as a horse but the recommendation is a full 18 months of recuperation before the female postpartum body goes back to her non-pregnant state.

But 18 months is too long to wait.

A gradual return of mild to moderate activities like walking, jogging and non-competitive swimming may be started as early as 6 weeks after a normal birth.

(2) the second reason to delay strenuous physical activity is because the pelvic ligaments which were “softened” or relaxed to accommodate an enlarging abdomen and subsequent expulsion of a full grown baby have not yet returned to their normal tightness.

No medical textbook and no doctor can explain the word “binat“. But our mothers, lolas and aunties will all warn us that our bodies will turn against us when we are older if we don’t take it easy after birth.

This fact I do know: uterine prolapse or dropping of the uterus into the vaginal canal and even outside the vaginal opening is caused by multiple child births, delivery of large babies, carrying of heavy objects such as lifting weights and strenuous physical exertion especially during the postpartum period.

I would suggest starting slow.

Brisk walking and jogging 30 minutes a day should be enough for now. By your 4th month, you can probably increase the distance and duration to an hour a day till you are ready for a full triathlon training at 6 months after giving birth.

As for continuing to breast feed, tri-training should not keep you from providing the best nutrition there is for your baby. In fact, this is the best way for you to get back to your pre-pregnant weight.

The two things you have to watch out for are dehydration and inadequate caloric intake.

Make sure you consume at least 3 liters of fluid while you are lactating in order to provide enough liquid in your body for milk-production.

Next, a triathlete would normally require 15-30 calories per pound of lean body weight per day.

Let’s say, you currently weigh 130 lbs. You need to consume AT LEAST 1,950 calories per day to be able to sustain your training … add 500 calories to that to provide for the requirements of breast feeding then you need a minimum of 2,450 calories per day ( this may go up to a maximum of 4,400 calories required for hardcore training).

 

The suggested food sources should be the following:

6-11 servings of whole-grain breads and cereals

5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables

3 servings of milk and dairy products, and

3 servings of meat, poultry, eggs, nuts or dry beans

 

If you will notice … that’s a lot of servings just for one day!

Yes … a breast feeding mother, more specifically, a breast feeding triathlete mother, needs to eat 6 small- to medium-portioned meals a day to sustain her daily activities and still provide the best nutrients for her growing baby.

Good luck and take it easy!

You have a lifetime ahead of you to train … but your baby stays this fragile and completely dependent on you only for a few months…savor those moments before he beats you on the track!

Doc D Signature
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