Breastfeeding While Pregnant: Tips, Safety and Challenges

Congratulations, times two! It is completely ironic that you’ve found yourself getting pregnant the moment you started getting the hang of this whole ‘new-mommy’ thing. With your pregnancy, you may find yourself getting worried as to whether you should continue feeding your little one or not. Well, the news is that it is completely safe for you to continue breastfeeding your baby while being pregnant!

When you get pregnant, it is natural for you to worry that you may have to wean your baby sooner than you originally anticipated. However, there is no need at all for you to worry about it. This is because you can continue breastfeeding your baby as long as you feel up to it. Being pregnant is not going to change a thing, but what you need to bear in mind is that breastfeeding during pregnancy is not going to be an easy feat.

If you are struggling to decide whether you should continue feeding your baby while pregnant, here’s a look into everything related to breastfeeding during pregnancy:

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15 Can I Continue Breastfeeding My Baby?

You sure as hell can continue breastfeeding your baby even after you’ve become pregnant. As long as you eat reasonably well, there is no reason whatsoever as to why you should discontinue breastfeeding. Most importantly, eating well is going to ensure that your unborn baby is not going to be deprived of important nutrients.

14 Should I Continue Breastfeeding?

To put it in simple words, whether you should and want to continue breastfeeding during pregnancy is solely your decision. Although very rare, there might be physical reasons that would force you to stop breastfeeding your baby once you get pregnant. But apart from that, your choice depends on how you feel about continuing to provide your milk to an older sibling, while growing your new baby.

Only you have an idea as to how your older child is going to respond to weaning, and also how you feel about fulfilling your child’s nutritional needs at the breast. If you encourage your child a bit, he may be open to weaning. However, children at times get overly attached to the breast, in which case the prospect of weaning may be more than you can handle as you deal with your pregnancy, too.

13 Should I Have Any Concerns?

Women who continue to breastfeed during pregnancy generally get concerned that it will stimulate uterine contractions. If truth be told, these contractions are not going to post any risk whatsoever to your unborn baby. Generally speaking, these contractions are not going to increase your risk of having a miscarriage or that of going into premature labor.

This is because the amount of oxytocin normally released during breastfeeding (the hormone that also stimulates labor) is not usually enough to cause the cervix to open before it is ready to do so. But in case you have a high risk pregnancy or are at risk for early labor, then it is best for you to consider weaning.

This also holds true for women who have been told to refrain from having sex during pregnancy. But the one thing that you can assure yourself of is that your milk is safe for your older child. Very minimal amounts of pregnancy hormones are passed into your milk, and they are surely not enough to harm your breastfeeding child.

12 Will I Actually Go On to Breastfeed My Toddler?

If truth be told, many mothers are quick to say, “Of course I will continue breastfeeding my child,” but then certain unexpected problems come up and they fail to do so. For instance, you may experience increased fatigue, which might impact your decision to breastfeed during pregnancy. What you need to know here is that breastfeeding isn’t inherently tiring. In fact, having to sit down to nurse is actually going to ensure that you get ample rest.

Apart from that, you may also experience physical discomforts that may stop you from breastfeeding. You may even feel very restless and agitated when nursing and this might affect your decision of breastfeeding your baby. Whether you choose to wean or not depends on how you feel about nursing. Remember, the discomfort is only there when the baby is at the breast.

11 Will My Child Want to Nurse?

Of course it isn’t just you who is involved in the nursing relationship that you have with your baby. There is always the chance that your little one may have plans that do not match yours in terms of nursing. You need to bear in mind the fact that your milk supply is going to decrease during the fourth and fifth month.

A decrease in milk supply is very common during the fourth and fifth months of pregnancy. The taste of your milk will change, too, and some children will decide that the milk is past its sell-by date! You may feel sad that your pregnancy has brought your nursing days to a premature end, but in this case, your child has outgrown the need.

10 Is Breastfeeding During Pregnancy Really the Right Choice?

No matter what choice you make, rest-assured that it is going to be the right decision for you. The fact of the matter is that every situation is unique; nothing comes with a guarantee. Every single day of your pregnancy is going to bring about changes not just for you, but your developing baby and your child too.

Take these changes into consideration when deciding as to whether you want to continue breastfeeding your baby or try your hand at weaning.

9 Are There Any Cases Where Weaning May Be Advisable?

Yes, there are certain cases in which your doctor may deem it necessary for you to wean your baby and discontinue breastfeeding. These include cases where you might:

  • Have a high-risk pregnancy
  • Be at an increased risk for preterm labor
  • Have uterine pain or vaginal bleeding
  • Be advised to refrain from having sex while pregnant
  • Be carrying twins

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best for you to get in touch with your doctor to discuss whether you should continue breastfeeding or not.

8 Tips On Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

To begin with, it is highly recommended for you to check with your doctor or midwife and figure out whether it is advisable for you to continue breastfeeding. In case you have a history of premature births due to your cervix dilating too early, or are experiencing symptoms of premature labor during this pregnancy, there is a good chance that you will be asked to discontinue breastfeeding. Remember, uterine contractions can cause trouble in such cases, which is why you must consider weaning.

7 You Need to Stay Prepared

Prepared for what? Sore nipples to start with! The hormonal changes taking place in your body are going to give you sore nipples. For most mothers, the best means of dealing with this issue is that of keeping feedings short. Although it depends on the age of your toddler, but you might be able to negotiate on this with him.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to get your toddler to open wide and latch on properly to your nipple. Yes, the underlying problem may be hormonal, but toddlers are notoriously careless about latching, and that can make it worse.

6 Habits Need to Change

In case your toddler has a habit of nursing to sleep, then it is high time for you to work on changing this habit. In general, you need to introduce some other approaches to sleep to make the process easier for your child. For instance, consider patting his back or singing a song to him a while before you offer the breast. As time goes by, continue extending the time that you do these things so he may fall asleep even before you reach the nursing part.

There’s nothing wrong with continuing to nurse your toddler to sleep, if you want, but it is sometimes useful to add other ways of helping the baby relax and doze off.

5 Make Sure That You Eat Well

If you want to continue breastfeeding during pregnancy, it is necessary for you to eat well to maintain your own health along with that of your nursing child as well as your developing baby.

If anything, you are going to need about 500 supplemental calories on a daily basis if your child is eating other foods besides breast milk or 650 more calories if he is less than six months old. For the record, this is in addition to the 350 extra calories that you require during the second trimester and the 450 extra calories you need in the third trimester.

4 Will Nipple Stimulation Trigger Problems?

It is natural for you to be concerned that nipple stimulation during breastfeeding is going to trigger premature labor. The fact of the matter is that nipple stimulation triggers the production of oxytocin, however, the amount being released isn’t enough to trigger contractions. You may have a few mild contractions occasionally, but that's normal and nothing to worry about.

The release of oxytocin is only a concern if you're at risk for early labor and your doctor or midwife has put you on strict bedrest, with no lovemaking or breast play allowed.

3 Your Family’s Concerns

If you decide to breastfeed during pregnancy, there’s a good chance that your relatives, friends and even your healthcare provider will express doubts pertaining to your decision.

To begin with, they may be concerned that you are putting your unborn child’s health at risk. However, you need to remember that there is no way you will deprive your unborn baby of vital nutrients as long as you have a healthy pregnancy.

2 Consider Tandem Nursing

If you continue to breastfeed during pregnancy, there’s a good chance that you will later end up breastfeeding both your infant and his older sibling. This arrangement is commonly known as ‘tandem nursing’ and will assist you in fulfilling the nutritional needs of both your children.

1 Challenges That You Might Face

The letdown of milk while breastfeeding may trigger nausea and lead you to having sore nipples. Remember, nearly 75% of mothers experience sore nipples. Focusing your attention towards something other than the discomfort may provide some alleviation.

Many women also have concerns that breastfeeding while pregnant may contribute to fatigue. Yes, fatigue is a normal part of all pregnancies. Thus, it is certainly understandable that you may be hesitant to breastfeed due to fear that it may require more energy and add to your fatigue. However, breastfeeding is not tiring in and of itself. Sitting or lying down to breastfeed may actually help ensure you get the extra rest you need.

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