Breastfeeding while Pregnant

Pregnant and breastfeeding?

Will breastfeeding while pregnant affect the growth of your unborn child, or hamper your pregnancy in any way?? The answer is NO.

Is breastfeeding while pregnant safe? All you need to do is eat well, even if you are suffering from morning sickness. Use our calorie calculator to work out how many extra calories you need while breastfeeding and add an additional 200 to that. (This is for mothers who have a normal range BMI)

Some mothers worry that breastfeeding during pregnancy will cause their babies to come earlier than they should. Breastfeeding while being pregnant, in normal circumstances, will not cause any such problems. The Oxytocin that is released during breastfeeding is not enough to cause the cervix to open immaturely. Uterine contractions are experienced throughout pregnancy,  when you exercise and when you climax during lovemaking and are not something to worry about.

You can also continue to breastfeed both your babies after the birth of your baby. Continued breastfeeding while pregnant can be useful to your toddler's adjustment to a new baby.

Is your milk safe for your breastfeeding baby?

YES, the hormones that are associated with being pregnant are found in the breast milk, but in tiny quantities, and cannot harm your baby.

breastfeeding while pregnant


Breastfeeding and Pregnant
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So what are the Challenges?

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers will not only have to deal with all the physical and emotional aspects that arise with pregnancy but will have increased fatigue if they already have a baby that causes some frustration while breastfeeding.
  • Let-down of milk might cause some nausea during pregnancy.
  • Sore nipples (sensitivity due to hormonal changes during pregnancy).
  • Increased sexual arousal during a breastfeeding session, due to pregnancy hormones.
  • If you are breastfeeding and pregnant, you will notice a decrease in milk supply during the fourth and fifth month of pregnancy. Try drinking at least 3litres of water daily.
  • When breastfeeding while pregnant, your milk will start to taste very different towards the end of your pregnancy and your baby might refuse to drink. The milk actually starts turning into colostrum. The quality of milk (colostrum) makes up for the decrease in quantity; this is so that the milk created is more abundant in fats and vitamins.


How to Encourage your Baby to Wean

  • When weaning, try to find ways of replacing the physical and emotional comfort associated with breastfeeding, with something else. Go for walks.
  • Get somebody else, preferably dad to put the baby to bed.
  • Make the change gradually. Start by giving one less feed per day.
  • Whatever choice you make in the end is up to you, and what you think you can handle. If you do decide to wean your baby, you should try to do so gradually, to minimize the impact on your breastfeeding baby. If you decide on a breastfeeding pregnancy, you should try to get as much help and support as possible.


Breastfeeding Positions 

Q&A

Nursing While Pregnant

"Can nursing while pregnant cause sleep changes in my toddler? Almost immediately after getting pregnant (I am about 8-9 weeks pregnant), my 18-month-old boy is having shorter naps and waking up earlier in the morning. Could this be related? He is otherwise his same old self, happy and adorable."

Re:  Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

by Lyssa

"Nursing while pregnant is a normal and natural occurrence. Frequently, moms get pregnant while still nursing one or even two other babies and/or toddlers. There is usually a report in a change in the taste of the milk, or later in pregnancy, possibly a drop in supply due to significant hormonal changes. There is no known connection to nursing while pregnant causing a shift in the nursling's sleep patterns. 

Have you researched "wonder weeks?" A big change in their brain happens around 18 months. Teething can also cause a shift in sleep patterns. Any change in your diet that increased caffeine or energy drinks could also transfer into your milk to your toddler. Also, any significant changes in your life can cause your baby's sleep schedule to be thrown off-moving, new people, new school, new routine, etc. 

Keep on nursing, mama. You are doing great!"



Breastfeeding Issues During Pregnancy

by Anonymous

"I just found out I'm pregnant and I am still breastfeeding my 7-month-old baby. She's starting to throw up after feeding.

I've heard about the taste change due to increased hormones, but does this mean it's best to wean her to formula and is this normal?"

Same Problem

by: Anonymous

"Hi, I'm having the same issue but not only has my 9-month-old been spitting up more but he also seems to be having some bad tummy troubles!

He now isn't sleeping through and has terrible wind etc. we haven't added anything to his diet so I don't think it can be food!

I'm only breastfeeding twice a day and have decided to do a 48 hr trial off breastfeeding to see if it makes a difference - less than 24 hrs in and he already seems happier!

This makes me super sad as I had hoped to keep breastfeeding for as long as possible stopping when we were 6 months through. Will see how he goes over the next 24 hrs!"

Supply Issues While Pregnant

by: Anonymous

"Hi,

I am in the very early stages of pregnancy (5-6 weeks) and already noticing issues with breastfeeding my five 1/2-month-old. I feel like there are some supply issues. He is also cranky, fussy, and distracted at the breast. I Desperately want to continue nursing my son until he is at least a year old.

I've read several different posts on this issue. I know every mother, baby, and situation is different. Has anyone had these issues and successfully continued to nurse through a pregnancy?

Thanks in advance for your help and support! It is much needed!"


Re: From Mature Milk to Colostrum

by Tracy

"When you become pregnant, your hormones start to shift and this may cause a mom to produce colostrum-like milk. Colostrum is more potent than mature milk and has laxative properties which are necessary when babies are born. It helps a newborn get rid of the black tar-like meconium stools and, therefore, prevent jaundice. This could explain why some babies struggle with runny stools, gas and excessive spitting up when the mother is expecting.

Colostrum is much richer than mature milk and a baby needs less, therefore, when you start to produce colostrum, you will produce less milk overall, which is why some babies become fussy while breastfeeding if their mommies are pregnant.

Another thing to take into consideration is the taste of the milk. Breast milk has higher sodium levels when in its colostrum form and, consequently, tastes much saltier when compared to mature breast milk; this may cause the baby to reject the breast.

Each baby reacts to this change in breast milk differently, some don't even notice the change over to colostrum. It depends on the situation, the age of the baby and many other factors as to whether you would continue to breastfeed while pregnant or not. It's a difficult decision, but don't feel guilty either way. Do what works best for you and your baby. If in doubt, get hold of a lactation consultant who can assess your specific situation and advise accordingly." 



Will the Breast Milk Be Enough for the Baby in the Womb When She Is Born?

"Just wondering if the older child weans off the breast milk slowly while the mother is pregnant, and eventually stops entirely (say halfway during pregnancy), will the milk supply be sufficient for the next baby when she is delivered? The milk won't dwindle, will it, despite the lack of stimulus from the suckling of the older child? I guess our hormones during pregnancy and after delivery will take care of that."


Re: Milk Replaced by Colostrum

by: Tracy

"You are right, your hormones will take care of that. Your milk will naturally decrease a bit closer to the end of your pregnancy (from about five months on). This will happen whether your older baby is breastfeeding or not. Your body will then start to produce colostrum just as it did with your first pregnancy. After birth, and as your newborn begins to drink, the supply will rise again.

If your older baby is still breastfeeding by that time (from 5 months into your pregnancy), you don't need to worry about not having enough milk. The colostrum is more filling than mature milk and, therefore, your baby doesn't need as much of it to stay satisfied 'The quality of milk (colostrum) makes up for the decrease in quantity - the milk created is richer in fats and vitamins' Your older child might stop breastfeeding because of the taste though (colostrum is saltier than mature milk).

Drinking lots of water during the time your body starts to produce colostrum would be beneficial; this will help increase supply and keep you hydrated."


Pregnant and Nursing

"I am 23 weeks pregnant and still nurse my 2-year-old boy, my son usually is a very jealous boy but breastfeeding when pregnant is helping him understand that there is a baby on the way.

There are times that he feels his baby sister move when he's getting breastfed and he unlatches to give my belly a little kiss and goes back to nurse he caresses my belly I work and when I get home we both cuddle and nurse and helps me relax.

I am planning to tandem feed, so my son can learn to share and learn to be gentle with babies.

So ladies don't let pregnancy stop you (unless DR says so)"


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