Alysia is wearing the 'Everyday Bra' in alaska, and the 'High Waisted Bike Shorts' in aspen.
In October 2019, Cadenshae was fortunate enough to connect with Alysia Montaño, a 6 x 800m USA champion and 3 x 800m world championship bronze medalist. After a few talks we were honoured when she accepted our offer of sponsorship.
The partnership we engage in however is a little different to most athlete/brand sponsorship deals. We realised Alysia was a phenomenal athlete with incredible abilities, but we decided to support her more so for the part she plays in advocating for women’s maternity rights. We sponsored her because she was a mum, fighting the good fight for other mums, globally.
Years previously when Alysia suggested she one day wanted to have children, and when she did in fact become a mum, she received little support from some of her big name sponsors...she called out Nike and Asics in regards to her treatment...heard of those guys?
Alongside a number of other well-known sportswomen, Alysia has forced considerable change for female athletes who not only want to win golds, but be mothers as well. Major brands are now realising the importance of supporting the whole person, not just the athlete. Alysia's quest began with athletes in mind but will finish hopefully with ALL women receiving better treatment and maternity coverage in their workplace.
So...it’s fair to say Alysia is pretty darn cool, but aside from 'sticking it' to the man, Alysia also knows her stuff when it comes to exercising and breastfeeding. Alysia nursed her first two children (Linnéa and Aster) for 12 months each and went back to professional running both times (in fact when Alysia was at the World Championships in Beijing, she pumped for 10 days and shipped her milk back home for Linnéa). Alysia is currently feeding Lennox (1) and has been back running for a while...getting herself ready to hit those podiums once again.
Who better to ask about getting back into running whilst breastfeeding than a three time mother who doubles as an Olympian?
Here’s Alysia’s take on ‘running with liquid gold.’ Thank you Alysia for your insight.
Alysia is sporting the 'Fit2Feed Bra' and the 'High Waisted Bike Shorts' in black while out on her run.
Breast milk is the new type of gold I've been running with (and for!) of recent.
The benefits of exercise are immeasurable to a person's mental health and women should be able to exercise fully, whilst breastfeeding...no questions asked.
It’s time to normalise breastfeeding and exercising, and I want all the mamas out there to know, you CAN exercise without worrying about your supply.
There shouldn’t have to be a choice between breastfeeding and whatever a mother chooses to do - exercise wise. A mum faces enough barriers within the existing world and its systemic structure that limit her ability to do what she needs to for herself as it is. We need to get rid of all these limitations.
An active lifestyle beats a sedentary one, we all know that. This shouldn’t stop just because a woman chooses to nurse. There are misconceptions out there that being active will drop your milk supply.
This is a myth.
Exercising when breastfeeding will NOT not drop your milk supply. Take if from me, an Olympic athlete and mum of three who has now breastfed two babies for one year, and is currently going strong with her third (who is now 1!).
What will drop your milk supply is dehydration and inadequate calorie intake. To help inform and break down urban legends, I’m going to share with you some basic tips to keep your supply up, and some advice around what to watch out for if you do experience a dip in supply.
Alysia is out running (and feeding!) in her 'Swift Bra' in stellar, a 'Casual Tank' in grey marle and the 'High Waisted Bike Shorts' in black.
- What works for your family in terms of a feeding routine. I’m notorious for putting my babies on a schedule that works for our lifestyle...but I do feed on-demand in the evening. (These nightly demands are quite predictable though).
- Wear clothing that supports your breasts, your supply and is nursing friendly for ease of access for your baby. I wear Cadenshae nursing sports bras. I love the entire collection because these bras are designed to support the active nursing mama. For my high-impact running days, I love the Fit2Feed and the Swift Bra, and for every other activity, I get the pick of the lot!
- Drink 120-230mls before nursing and 120-230mls just after…every time. This is a good habit to form as it ensures you'll stay hydrated. The baby will want a feed, so you’ll know to grab a quick drink before you start, and once you finish.
- When exercising bring a water bottle that holds at least 700ml with you. Have electrolytes on hand to ensure adequate absorption of vital minerals. Consuming the right minerals allows you to better hydrate. I like Nuun Hydration tablets. If you're out running on the trails or road, you don’t need to hold the water bottle, just make sure you have it accessible for when you return.
- When you return from your run, drink immediately with a steady sip.
- Do have a healthy snack on hand to consume just after exercise. One full of nuts, dried fruit and protein is always good.
- Do eat before working out regardless of the time of day. If you work out first thing, make sure you have breakfast first. If you work out later in the day, ensure you’re eating something before you move too.
- Do eat food with a good fat content and that's balanced with carbohydrates and proteins.
- Do eat fruits and vegetables.
- If you experience a dip in supply you should add a pumping session in the morning or in the afternoon after nursing baby, or one in the evening after putting baby to bed. You should do this for 3-5 days to get your supply back up. Also, remember to adjust to the demands of your body and up your calorie and water intake.
- Work out in the morning without having breakfast.
- Worry about losing weight.
- Begin a restrictive diet.
- Worry about getting sweaty, baby will eat (added seasoning)!
Just to give you an idea of what I eat on a daily basis as an active/breastfeeding mama, check out the below:
- If you're having trouble finding a breakfast item that suits you, oats are a really good way to boost milk production and keep the ‘gold’ flowing in abundance. Oats are easy to prepare the night before. I just grab a jar, put in 1/3 cup of oats, 1/4-1/2 cup of yoghurt, maybe add in a spoonful of nut butter, mix it up and put it in the fridge. When I wake up firing on all cylinders, this ensures I don't miss the most important meal of the day. If I don't toss a banana in my morning oats, I slice up some bananas and apples for a mid-morning snack.
- For lunch my favourite ‘go to’ is eggs. I toss about three eggs in a skillet on a medium heat, cover, come back a few minutes later, pull them off, add salt and a few pieces of toast and voila, done! I also usually make a berry smoothie with my favourite ingredients: a generous handful of blueberries, 6-8 strawberries, half an avocado, some water or orange juice, then blend. This provides some amazing antioxidants to share with my baby. For a post nursing session snack, nuts are always a go to and probably some chocolate...mmmmm.
- Lastly for dinner, I love a good serving of fish, my favourite is salmon. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is great for our skin, eyes and brain health, but not just for the mama...for baby too! Toss in some greens and roasted kumara and perfection is at your fingertips!
- With any workout I snack on scroggin (nuts, seeds, dried fruit) and upon completing the session, I am sure to have another small handful to ensure I've not depleted my stores. Snacks throughout the day encompass a variety of fruits, and vegetables...about 4-6 servings of each group. Remember baby eats what you're able to store, so get that good stuff in there and enjoy!
When it comes to working out, it should be fun and exciting and an additive to your lifestyle, (once you're fit it won’t hurt as much, I promise!) not a detriment. Remember that what is good for mummy is good for baby. Those beautiful endorphins you pump while exercising will only enhance your nursing experience, and will better allow you to be in the best possible headspace, so you can continue to be the amazing mama you are.
For more inspiration on an active lifestyle you can get my book, ‘Feel-Good Fitness,’ and include some of my work out challenges to add to your fitness journey!
I'm with you mama. You’ve totally got this!
Written by Alysia Montaño, in conjunction with Ellen Chisholm.