Top tips for breastfeeding and running from our community

When you have a small baby, there are many new challenges to face as a female runner. For those who chose to, or are able to, breastfeed, fitting in time to run around feeding and pumping can be difficult. However, many of the women in our Run Mummy Run Community group have been able to combine their running and breastfeeding successfully. We asked them to share their top tips, to help future mums navigate this new stage in their running journey. We hope you find this blog useful.


What tips and hints do you have for running while breastfeeding?

“I did the very first virtual London Marathon 2020 when my little one was 5 months old. I did a looped route for the run to return home twice to breastfeed. A looped run is perhaps a good idea for anyone doing a long training run to allow a return home to breastfeed.” – Kate

“I used to run loops for longer runs and stop to feed in the middle; once or twice hubby even brought little one out to meet me. I’d run to parkrun, jog it while he walked her round in the buggy, feed her and run home. I managed to do London Marathon when she was 6 months old by doing this.” – Madeleine

“Breastfeeding and running are both significant demands on the body, but you can do both. I used to try and run in between feeds. I would feed just before going out of the door and then would usually end up doing a sweaty boob feed as soon as I got back! It’s a good idea to have a drink and snack ready, or have someone bring it to you. I would leave some pumped milk for while I was out in case it was needed. My husband used to babywear using my sling, so that my baby would be settled while I was away.” – Miranda

“I went out yesterday evening for a run after putting the baby on the boob for just a few minutes, as I was rushing in and rushing out (two other children). I hoiked up my sports bra to do it and put him on again soon after I got back. I run with a normal sports bra then take it off when I get home to feed him! If I have to feed him while I’m wearing it before I go, then I just undo it.” – Polly

“First, run for good reasons – because you enjoy it, to be healthier, rather than pressurising yourself to return to a pre-child fitness or body shape. And be kind to yourself. Babies are exhausting. Breastfeeding is exhausting. Running is exhausting. It can be great for headspace, fitness, fresh air, but don’t force it. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get out for a run. Enjoy it. And if they fall asleep in the buggy, leave them! Go make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy the after run glow in peace. Second, look after yourself and your boobs. I had a nursing running bra, and needed to use it often! For example, right before a parkrun on the start line or as soon as I walked through the door from a run. And even a couple of times during the run itself.” – Rebecca


How do/did you manage to balance the demands of running with the demands of breastfeeding?

“Hubby was good at getting them ready for bed if I managed to get to a club training session, and then I would walk through the door, grab a drink, take the bra off then feed. The lack of sleep is a killer and I would say be kind to yourself – 3 miles can be as hard as 15 on no sleep, so anything is better than nothing; just go and do a little something for you. My family were very supportive and knew that I needed to do something that was ‘me’ rather than ‘Mummy’ so even 30 mins break is vital for me to be a better person and a better Mummy.” – Emma

“My little girl was a bottle refuser and an absolute milk monster. I started running again in February 2018. I used to feed her to sleep, pass her to my hubby and go for a run. Sometimes I’d have to feed her as soon as I got home; other times I could head a quick shower first. When she was bigger, I’d feed her then take her for a run with me in the buggy. I was living the dream the runs she slept the whole way! Sometimes, I could pacify her with a snack and/or a song. Other times I’d stop to feed her on a bench. I was actually the fittest and fastest, I’ve ever been when I was feeding her.” – Laura

“Both running and breastfeeding can be hard by themselves. But one doesn’t prevent the other. Fit running between feeds – either leaving them with someone or taking them with you in a running buggy. Keep yourself well fed and watered, and prioritise your own self-care – a happier, fitter you will be better for your baby after all. I breastfed both my children for over 20 months each and ran through that time. Babies aren’t worried about sweaty boobs!” – Rebecca


Do you have any tips or advice on staying comfortable during runs when breastfeeding or maintaining a healthy milk supply?

“As when I would set out for a run my breasts would be pretty empty, I would make sure that I wore a sports bra that would fit when my breasts were full. That way, as they filled up again, my bra wouldn’t feel too restrictive. If you don’t like taking water on your run, ensure to take in extra water in the day before your run to avoid dehydration. Ensure that you are fuelling correctly and taking in enough calories.” – Jessica

“My top tip would be to have your partner/a grandparent/friend be around with baby before the start of the race so you can get a feed in; this will make you much more comfortable during the race, then you can pass baby back and get going! Same again at the end of the race, especially if it’s been something like a half marathon or longer where you’re going to be gone for a few hours. That relief after a run, getting baby on the boob! They seem to like the saltiness too, so don’t worry about sweaty boobs!” – Maya

“Ensure you are adequately hydrated and fuelled; breastfeeding requires extra of both. Make sure you don’t try and squeeze into your pre-pregnancy run bras, as they will be too small particularly in the first few months and you run the risk of mastitis if too small. Many women find their ‘internal thermostat’ runs higher when breastfeeding so you may need to wear lighter/less running kit. A good fitting headband or hat to keep all those pesky little hairs contained that grow back after the postpartum hair loss.” – Shona


Are there any bras that you’d suggest to help with running and breastfeeding?

“I used to wear two of the stretchy ones or a high-impact front-zip one. Any brand works provided you can get into it. The more important bit is what layers you need that still give you access, especially in winter!” – Abbie

“Shock Absorber [bras] were perfect for me. As a larger-breasted woman, they provided plenty of support, I could often find them in the sale which meant I didn’t need to fork out loads when changing size, and I was able to undo the bottom clasp and pull my boob out below to feed – no need for a specialist feeding bra!” – Jessica

“You can get nursing running/sports bras, but a crop-top style bra on top of a normal nursing bra to give some extra support works well. Something that is easy to scoop a boob out of quickly. Breast pads (either disposable or reusable) in the bra help with any leaking and add some protection for your nipples.” – Maya

We’d love you to share your own top tips in our Facebook community. We are compiling more useful blogs for female runners on a variety of topics around motherhood, perimenopause, menopause and menstrual cycle, among others. If there is anything specific you would like us to cover, please email: [email protected]

Main image by sam moody from Pixabay 

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