Breastfeeding While Pregnant
You are finally settling into the new to demands of motherhood when you find out you are pregnant again! You may have concerns about breastfeeding your baby and being pregnant at the same time, but it is possible. The following information will hopefully, alleviate some of that concern.
You may have heard that breastfeeding while pregnant can lead to miscarriage or slow growth of your unborn child. There is no evidence to support this and in a non-complicated pregnancy, you can breastfeed through to term and beyond. Breastfeeding triggers hormones to be released that can cause contractions. If you are at risk of preterm labour or a high-risk pregnancy it is advisable to talk to your healthcare professional about continuing breastfeeding.
The worry of taking nutrition away from your unborn baby is unwarranted. Your body will adapt to ensure your baby gets all the nutrition they need. As your pregnancy progresses you are likely to produce less milk. This normally happens midway through your pregnancy, around the 5 months mark. Colostrum production starts again at this time. You may find that your baby decides to self-wean around this point, due to the change in taste and consistency of your milk. Other babies will not miss a feed. Just a note, colostrum is a natural laxative, so your baby will have watery than normal poo. Maintaining, a healthy diet and offering a breastfeed whenever your baby is interested may help maintain your supply. If at any time you have concerns, please talk to a health professional.
So, breastfeeding while pregnant is possible, but by no means is it going to be easy. With most pregnancies, you will encounter morning sickness. This can be draining and the best of times. More so when you are pregnant and trying to maintain your milk supply. If you are unable to manage this, please seek advice from a health care professional. The hormonal changes in early pregnancies can create nipple sensitivity and nursing a hungry baby can be painful. This coupled with the toll that milk production takes out of you can leave you exhausted. This emphasises the need for a balanced healthy diet, staying hydrated and rest. There should be no need to take an additional supplement but if you do, always check that is safe to do so with a health professional. It is easy to get caught up in the every day, but is important to take time for yourself.
When your new baby arrives you will be able to feed both, this is referred to as tandem feeding. Thanks to your amazing body, your newborn will get all the colostrum they need and without having to restrict your older child. How you feed both children will be a personal choice, your midwife may have some tips to share with you. The good news, knowing that you have conquered the challenges that breastfeeding while pregnant have presented and you can now feed both bundles of joy.
Sources: Australian Breastfeeding Association, Pregnancy birth and baby, What to expect