6 Tips for Breastfeeding While Pregnant
When I found out that I was expecting my second child, my first daughter was only 14 months old and still breastfeeding a few times a day. By that age, of course, she was eating regular food and drink, but we both still had a special bond through breastfeeding and it provided her a lot of comfort. (Translation: it was way easy to put her to sleep with a little nursing time before bed!)
After taking my pregnancy test, however, I started to feel a little overwhelmed with the idea of sharing my body with two babies and made the decision to wean. It was a personal choice, of course, for us, but fortunately, there is no reason that you have to quit breastfeeding simply because you are pregnant.
Many women choose to continue breastfeeding throughout their pregnancies and beyond, and we've asked some to share a few tips to making it all work.
Get enough calories
“I had to be careful with getting enough calories throughout the day because my body was still feeding 2 kids,” comments Vanessa of Nessa Knows Best. If you're full-on breastfeeding and going through pregnancy, you might need as much as 500 additional calories a day to keep your supply maintained and your still-in-the-womb baby developing properly as well.
Understand that your milk may change
During pregnancy, the extra hormones and changes that your body is going through may change the taste of your milk for your little one. “#2 was very upset with the change in the milk and would get angry while nursing,” remembers Vanessa. “He would try to latch more often just to get ‘enough'.” If this happens to you, don't panic: it may just take some time for your little one to adjust to the new taste, or it might help to reduce feedings if he or she is having trouble.
Know that the first trimester may be the hardest
Many of the mothers I spoke to attested to the fact that breastfeeding through the first trimester was especially challenging. Your body is adjusting to a new baby, there's increased soreness in your nipples, and you may be sick and exhausted. “1st trimester was an energy challenge,” comments Victoria Lynn, who is currently 25 weeks along and still breastfeeding her daughter. “I was so sick that nursing really took it out of me.”
Know your reasons
It's very important that you know your own reasons for continuing to breastfeed while pregnant. Don't let guilt or pressure or well-meaning family and friends make the decision for you. If it's important to you, know that it's perfectly safe, and while not without challenges, can be a wonderful experience. “The benefits are the closeness we still get and quiet mommy-toddler time,” comments Victoria Lynn. “It's been a good thing.”
Take it day-by-day
Leah Outten, a birthmother and mother of three who blogs at The Grace Bond, has breastfed during two pregnancies (one of which is right now!) and says that the best thing a momma-to-be can do is to simply take the decision day-by-day. “Enjoy it while you can,” Leah advises. “One day your child may reject breastfeeding, or you will be ready to stop and begin weaning. It can change quickly! Also, many mothers worry that nursing will cause a miscarriage, or that the new baby won't get nutrients but that's not true! Just make sure you are keeping up with enough calories, prenatal vitamins, water, and rest for all three of you and things most likely will be fine!”
Keep in touch with your pediatrician
If your baby is under the age of 1, Vanessa advises that you might want to consider keeping in close contact with your baby's pediatrician, just in case a lowered supply becomes an issue. “Always talk to your OB and pediatrician about breastfeeding while pregnant,” says. “Keep an open dialogue throughout your pregnancy to make sure everyone is staying healthy!”Read More