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Exercise Won't Affect Breast Milk, Baby's Growth: Study
Date:6/23/2012

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Breast-feeding mothers sometimes worry that exercise may affect their breast milk -- and ultimately their baby's growth. Now, researchers who re-evaluated the few published research studies that exist say it does not appear that mom's workout will affect her infant's growth.

Studies are sparse, according to Amanda Daley, a researcher at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, who led the analysis. She and her colleagues searched databases and found only four studies scientific enough to re-evaluate.

The analysis is published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

While exercise appears to have no effect on growth, research is so sparse that Daley said she can't make her conclusion any stronger. "Rather, we are saying, based on the evidence we have, exercise does not appear to negatively influence gain in weight," she said.

"The evidence is suggestive, not conclusive," Daley said.

Complete data from the studies were reported on 160 women, including 71 in the intervention groups and 89 in the comparison groups.

The studies looked at exercise interventions lasting at least a week. The comparison groups were assigned either to do less exercise than the other group or to do no exercise.

The women were exclusively or mainly breast-feeding. Information on the babies' weight and, in one study, length, were recorded.

Mothers' exercise did not appear to affect infant weight gain, Daley's team found. In the one study that looked at infant length, no differences were found in the exercising or non-exercising mothers.

The concern about exercise stems from previous research that suggested that a mother's workout may drain the body of fluid and in turn reduce milk volume, or that lactic-acid concentrations after exercise might affect breast milk's taste. But experts say the lactic-acid effect on taste wou
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