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Breastfeeding while pregnant is as safe as breastfeeding while not being pregnant. However, you might notice some changes in your routine breastfeeding life when you are pregnant. It won’t harm your unborn baby or your toddler.
Can you breastfeed while pregnant? Is my milk enough for both my babies? How can I wean off my child? These are a few questions that you are bound to have during your second pregnancy. Here we have talked about all the changes in breastfeeding that takes place while you are pregnant. Read on!
Can You Breastfeed While Pregnant? Facts Checked!
You may choose to breastfeed while pregnant for a ton of reasons. For instance, you must have fallen pregnant unexpectedly when your older baby is still young. It is entirely possible to get pregnant even when you have not got your periods back after your first pregnancy. It could also be that you got pregnant when you haven’t yet weaned your first child (usually when they are under the age of 3).
Whatever the reason is, the answer to can you breastfeed while pregnant is it is safe to do so unless you have a complicated pregnancy in which case you need to consult your OB-GYN. Your body at the time will produce enough milk for your older child while your unborn baby will get all the nutrients from your body through your diet.
Breastfeeding might trigger mild contractions at times. Do not worry because these contractions are safe in uncomplicated pregnancies. However, if you know you are at risk of preterm labor or if you are expecting twins or more then seek advice from your healthcare provider. Also, if you have experienced preterm birth or miscarriage in the past, these contractions while breastfeeding might turn out to be dangerous for you, in which case, get in touch with your doctor.
How to Deal With Your Older Child
Your breastmilk while being pregnant will still provide your older child with the required nutrients. However, you will produce less amount of milk as your pregnancy progresses especially during the 4th and 5th months. This happens as your pregnancy hormones interfere with the production of breastmilk in your body.
Another significant change while being pregnant and lactating is the change in your breastmilk’s taste. This happens so because of the production of colostrum in your body. Colostrum is the first form of breastmilk that is high in nutrients, antibodies, and antioxidants and is expressed within 2 to 4 days after childbirth.
These changes might lead your older baby to wean themselves off during your pregnancy. Colostrum is a type of natural laxative. When this goes into your baby’s body through breastfeeding, their poop might be more liquid than normal. However, it is nothing to worry about. If your older baby is under the age of one when you fell pregnant, then make sure they are putting on enough weight after your breastmilk changes. Introduce extra feeds if they are still depending on breastmilk for their nutrition. Keep in touch with your healthcare provider for pieces of advice.
Do Not Forget to Take Care of Yourself Too, Mama!
Can you breastfeed while pregnant? Yes, but with tender nipples and sore breasts. Mamas will also feel extra tired when breastfeeding while pregnant. Their morning sickness will also get worse than normal.
hese side effects are caused because of pregnancy hormones. After your first trimester they may wean off a little but for some, they last an entire pregnancy. The sore breasts with tender nipples can be dealt with by changing your position while feeding or by making sure that your older baby is attached well.
Remember to eat well and stay hydrated with plenty of rest. You do not have to take mineral or vitamin supplements as your body will find its own way to keep your unborn baby nourished all the while producing enough breastmilk for your older baby.
What to Do When Your Second Child is Born
After giving birth to your second baby, you may feed both your babies. This is called tandem feeding. Your infant will still get the colostrum they need and will not be limiting your older baby from anything all the while. There are several ways of tandem feeding. You may feed both your children at the same time with the help of cushions to prop you up or by lying down. You could also feed your newborn first and then feed your older baby.
It may also happen that your older baby might want to feed all the time because of a large amount of milk. Your newborn will also find it difficult to cope with your letdown reflex because of the large amount of breastmilk. So, you could try feeding your older child first and then the newborn.
The Weaning Process
By the birth of the second child, it is practically time to wean your first baby off your breastmilk. But the decision is entirely up to you. If you decide to wean your first child, it is always good to do so while you are pregnant. This will save them from the confusion of adjustments after the second baby is born.
The weaning could be done by encouraging shorter feeds or by delaying feeds. If your first child is old enough you could try explaining to them that your breast feels sore or that their baby brother or sister needs the milk.
The Bottom Line: Can You Breastfeed While Pregnant?
Breastfeeding while pregnant is a safe journey until and unless your OB-GYN says otherwise. Breastfeeding leads to mild contractions which might result in preterm labor if,
- You have had preterm labor before
- You have miscarried before
- You had complicated childbirth before
With a smooth pregnancy, the only changes you notice while breastfeeding is the change in its taste and decrease in the supply of breastmilk which may or may not wean off your first child. You may also feel,
- Extra tired
- Tender nipples
- Sore breasts
- Worse morning sickness
Remenre to take care of yourself by eating right and plenty. Get enough rest and keep in touch with your doctor for bits of advice.