Olympic Medalist Deena Kastor Supports Nursing in Public

Written by Danielle Rigg, JD CLC

Deena Kastor, 38, winning her first race since having Piper, the San Jose RocknRoll Half Marathon. Photo courtesy Andrew Kastor.

Deena Kastor, Olympic Running Medalist, American Record Holder, and new mom to daughter Piper, age 10 months, shares how treating breastfeeding like training for a race is a great game plan for success!  Deena’s steady focus on her goal,  smart choices, and some French Toast at 3am from her husband  — took her from breastfeeding intention to a strong finish with very few Booby Traps!  Congratulations Deena – you’re unstoppable and you’re an inspiration to moms everywhere!  (Read to end of post for our Runner’s Giveaway!)

Thanks to Fairhaven Health for sponsoring this post!

Best for Babes: Were you “Booby-Trapped“?  We often say that trying to breastfeed despite booby-traps is like trying to run a race in heels while people throw tomatoes at you! Deena Kastor:  I was lucky that Piper latched immediately in the hospital, but I did have a hard time producing enough for her monstrous appetite.  Hydration proved to be my biggest necessity to produce enough milk.  I always had my water bottle with me when I was nursing.  Hydration not only helped with my milk supply, but also helped stabilize my tired self throughout the day.  BfB: Most moms can more than meet their baby’s needs. See an IBCLC (find one at ILCA.org) if you are concerned about your milk supply. Drink a glass of water every time you nurse, especially if you are exercising.

Thanks to Britax and BOB for sponsoring this post!

How is breastfeeding going now? Piper is 10 months old and I stopped breastfeeding at 6 months . . .  she was taking the bottle and even food at this time.  It was a natural progression for our daughter.  Either way, it was Piper who decided to wean.  During breastfeeding it was very important for me to eat well and rest so that I was offering the optimal nutrition for my daughter.  BfB: Kudos to Deena for making it to six months! Despite recommendations from the AAP, CDC and WHO, only 44% of moms are breastfeeding at all at six months, and only 14% are breastfeeding exclusively).  Although Deena’s training schedule may have affected her supply, natural, baby-led weaning usually doesn’t occur until a child is well into their second year of life or later.  Your IBCLC can identify ways to help you boost your supply.  Pumping or hand-expressing can signal your body to make more milk.  Also, it is a myth that an improper diet will diminish your supply or make your milk nutrient-lacking: another one of breastfeeding’s miraculous “fail-safes” is that your body will take whatever vital nutrients you’ve got and make them available to your babe– leaving you potentially depleted.  So stock up on nutrients for YOU!

Did being a competitive runner help your mindset?  Did you have anyone cheer you on with breastfeeding? I think running helped in my entire approach to pregnancy, breastfeeding and raising Piper.  I would focus on the desired outcome and then make choices to get to my desired goal.  Most of the last year has been so rewarding in that we have a healthy daughter who sleeps through the night!

Thanks to Milkmakers for sponsoring this post!

My husband has been amazing throughout all of this.  I remember breastfeeding at 3 am and he came out from the bedroom asking if I need anything.  “French toast?”  He gladly made me his world’s best French toast at that absurd hour.  He is currently so hands-on with Piper.  He would win “Dad of the Century” if there was that honor.  BfB: Setting goals is a great way to awaken your inner breastfeeding athlete.  See “Get your Best Breastfeeding Game on, The Learning Curve, and our Ultimate Breastfeeding Preparation Checklist. Make a commitment to breastfeed and get great coaches and crowds of cheering peers, family, co-workers and employers to help you make your goal! With Dad on board, you’ve got the quintessential defender and teammate to help you get through any Booby Traps, and Dad gets loads of non-booby baby bonding time to cherish.

What advice would you give to new moms who are trying to re-gain their former fitness levels while breastfeeding? Any tips on overcoming the fatigue that comes with having a young baby? The only thing that got me back into shape was rest.  What a celebration to finally sleep through the night.  It is really important to take care of ourselves without the guilt of feeling selfish.  When we are operating optimally, we are better parents.  There is no rule of thumb on what to do and when.  I thought I would be active my entire pregnancy and found it so uncomfortable to even walk, that I was sedentary for 5 months.  After Piper was born, it was easy to get back into running because running felt good again.  Listen to your body.  I mean REALLY listen.  The feedback I got from my body was more valuable than any book I read.  BfB:  Studies show that breastfeeding mothers get at least as much, if not more sleep than formula-feeding mothers.

Thanks to Simple Wishes for sponsoring this post!

Did you notice any drop in your milk supply as you started to train harder? If so, what did you do about it? Breastfeeding is so important for the nutrition and development of your child.  It is also important for our own bodies to go through this natural process.  But, I wouldn’t stress if it isn’t working out.  I actually found that my milk supply went up when I integrated some formula and took some pressure off myself.  At this same time, I began training harder but I really think it was the alleviation of stress that helped with my supply.   BfB: We agree with Deena! Breastfeeding and human milk provide immediate and lifelong protection against many of the illnesses and diseases which have sadly become epidemic: for baby: ear and gastrointestinal infections, SIDS, leukemia, obesity, asthma, diabetes, and even breast cancer for baby girls; for mom: breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, diabetes,obesity and heart disease.  Breastfed babies have even been shown to have stronger leg muscles at adolescence (watch out for future marathoners!). Breastfeeding burns 500 additional calories per day  (equivalent to 45 minutes of running 5mph for a 170 lb woman), so it’s a work-out for you, too! Too much stress can affect your confidence and your milk supply, so ask for help and let household chores fall to family and friends for a while. Remember that breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing, any breastfeeding is better than none, and a good IBCLC can help make it all work for you. Best for Babes believes that what is best for moms and babies is to make informed decisions and to achieve their personal goals, whether that is to breastfeed for 2 days, 2 months, 2 years, use donor milk, or formula feed.  See Our Credo.

How do you feel about nursing in public? Recently a mother was harassed at Target, and another mother was humiliated by a judge for nursing discreetly in a courtroom, even though breastfeeding is legal and protected in public places. I fully support breastfeeding in public, even though I was a little more on the modest side.  Moms everywhere should be entitled to feed their children, and it is a shame that others would feel threatened by that.  BfB: Best for Babes advocates for an end to the harassment, humiliation and discrimination nursing moms unfairly face while trying to breastfeed their babies in public.  Condemning public breastfeeding is a cultural Booby Trap even more than a legal one – nearly every state has laws protecting a mother’s right to nurse but too many people are still squeamish and uncomfortable seeing babies breastfeeding.  To get involved, contact takeaction@BestforBabes.org.

We love Deena’s self-assured attitude, determination and special brand of encouragement.  Thanks Deena, for leading the pack and the way!  To learn more about our athletic teams working to Beat the Booby Traps and Put Prevention First visit Team BfB!  Special thanks to Fit Pregnancy and Runner’s World for helping us spread the word on this interview.

Runner’s Giveaway: In honor of Deena, and all the babes who are hitting the pavement while breastfeeding, we’ve put together a fabulous giveaway, valued at $776, courtesy of the generous sponsors of this post:

1. A BOB Stroller Strides Stroller, red, valued at $469

2. A Britax Baby Carrier in black, valued at $130

3. A Three -Month Supply of Fairhaven Health’s Nursing Blend, valued at $54

4. A Generous Supply of Milkmakers Cookies, valued at $54

4. A Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bustier, valued at $39

5.  Autographed copy of Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, valued at $15, plus a gift certificate for Train Like a Mother, their new book due out in March, also valued at $15.

To win this fabulous prize package, enter by leaving a comment below by February 8th, 2012. U.S. addresses only, please. Winner will be chosen using random.org, and announced in the comments section. Winner will have three days to respond to an email from us, before we have to choose an alternate winner, and products will be directly shipped from the sponsor.



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277 Comments | Last revised on 02/01/2012

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277 Responses to Olympic Medalist Deena Kastor Supports Nursing in Public

  1. Nina Hodapp says:

    Great posting. 🙂

  2. Lynn Haiar says:

    Very inspirational! Thank you!

  3. erika ryan says:

    wonderful and encouraging article :0)

  4. Sarah says:

    So nice to read positive breastfeeding articles!

  5. Katie says:

    Nice to see that even a professional athlete needs to take it easy occasionally!

  6. Angela says:

    Great article! would love to win!

  7. Tiffany Nielson says:

    What an inspirational interview. I have been a little nervous about getting back on the pavement. Thanks for this…and the giveaway! 🙂

  8. Jenise Svetlik says:

    Amazing article and very inspirational!

  9. Savanna says:

    I love Deena’s attitude! And envy her cooking hubby! My poor hubby burns water.

  10. Cynthia Brunet says:

    Always great to hear about positive experiences, especially among “celebrities and athletes”!

  11. Rebecca says:

    Great article! Lots of good information. Thank you!

  12. Jennifer Cesario says:

    Very inspiring! Would so appreciate a Bob to train with! I’m 6 mo PP and ready to get back into shape and ready myself for a Mud Run…that’s my goal for this yr!

  13. Celina Tillero says:

    I love how there is info following each question to address specific concerns. Great interview! I love it when someone in the public eye brings attention to a great cause.

  14. crystal says:

    Great article!! Nice to see a running mama BF!!

  15. Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing, & that prize package sounds awesome!!!

  16. charmain says:

    always love to read about other pumpin mamas! thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  17. Katie Lacer says:

    What a great interview!

  18. Amy says:

    I am expecting and many of these would be great to have!

  19. Molly Orman says:

    Thanks for the great article and giveaway! I love hearing stories of how all kinds of mamas balance nursing and the rest of life. 🙂

  20. Crystal G says:

    What a nice article! I especially liked the part about her husband being so supportive. The best way to be successful breastfeeding is to have a wonder support system along the way! I’m really looking forward to running with my son as soon as the weather warms up 🙂

  21. Lea says:

    Great information, and fabulous giveaway!! Oh how I wish I win! I need that BOB!! 😉

  22. Cate says:

    Thanks for inspiring me!

  23. Katie Stewart says:

    Wow! Deena is amazing! I trained for my first half-marathon last summer and loved it. I was a cross country and track runner in high school and miss it very much. I’ not a fan of running in the winter, since I grew up in California and never had to deal with that before! I breastfed my first son for 1 year, and am planning to do the same for the baby I’m expecting now. I’m so glad to see moms like Deena supporting breast-feeding because it seems that breast feeding has been under attack lately, and that’s such a shame! I’ve been drooling over a BOB running stroller for quite some time! I’d love to train for another half-marathon after baby is born!

  24. Crystal Henson says:


  25. Genevieve Baumann says:

    Wonderful example for moms!

  26. Jazmon says:

    What a great and inspiring article!

  27. Stacey says:

    Great article. I’ll have to pass it on to two of my friends that are runners and pregnant.

  28. Erin says:

    Great article! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Michelle D. says:

    I love to read positive articles about breastfeeding!

  30. ashley says:

    great article!

  31. Bethany says:

    What a wonderful article! Thanks so much for sharing her story!

  32. Jennifer Southwood says:

    great article, thank you for the extra great info in italics, it’s helpful for those moms who have fallen into “booby traps”

  33. Andrea says:

    Very motivating for me as I work on regaining my fitness after having two kids :). Thanks!

  34. Greg says:

    It’s great seeing high profile athletes dedicated to nursing!

  35. Krista Frank says:

    Great interview and some inspiration to get exercising again!

  36. Zmama says:

    I’m currently nursing baby number 2 and loved the encouraging article!

  37. Jill V. says:

    I’m on week 7 of my couch to 5k program now, and breastfeeding (almost exclusively, because she’s been slow to take solids) my 9 month old. My goal is to celebrate her first birthday by running a 5k! Inspiring article!

  38. Jamie Boyle says:

    Heck of a woman and a mom!

  39. Jessica sailors says:

    Great article 🙂 I’m just getting ready to start working out again . Baby is 4 months , I’m learning how to eat well , breastfeed , pump, work and now trying to add working out ! It’s all worth it !

  40. Jessica says:

    So great to see athletes nursing, even if only for a few months.

  41. Caroline Marchant says:

    Yay, thanks! 🙂

  42. Jamie hill says:

    Thank you for the article. Lots of great advice and really helped me put. 🙂

  43. Nikita says:

    So inspiring! I’m really hoping to get in shape now that my daughter is a little older.

  44. Heather Lavelle says:

    Great article!

  45. Kyle R says:

    Thanks for the article. Awesome info.

  46. Liz says:

    Very inspirational! It was nice to know that even someone at her level finds it difficult to excerise during pregnancy. I was very hard on myself for that the first time and trying to cut myself some slack this time around.

  47. Nathalie C says:

    Awesome. And so is that stroller!!!

  48. Kate says:

    Such an inspiration – thanks!

  49. I loved reading this. 🙂 Thanks for the insight, ANd for the giveaway

  50. Dana hill says:

    Love to hear encouraging breast feeding stories…we need more stories like this out there!! Great job!

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