Breastfeeding and pregnant again!

Bethany - posted on 12/22/2008 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Hello, ladies! I am currently exclusively (no solids either) nursing my 8-month-old daughter, and have just gotten pregnant again. I really, really want to nurse my first child through this pregnancy, and until she is two-ish. Plus, I'll obviously be nursing the next child as well. I know some dedicated BF moms who couldn't deal with being pregnant and nursing, and know no one who has done what I want to do. I would love some support, advice, and any ideas from any other moms who have done this! Thank you all!

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Liz - posted on 12/24/2008

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Merry Christmas! You are doing a great job! Your children are so lucky to have a mother that is so concerned about their needs. Keep up the great work and keep on researching all your options so you can make an educated decision about what is best for you and your family. (which I can tell you are already doing)

Bethany - posted on 12/24/2008

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To everyone~ it is so encouraging to know that there are so many women who have nursed through pregnancy and then tandem-nursed! I know this is a very busy time of year for most people, so thank you for taking the time to share your insight and support with me. It is all greatly appreciated! Merry Christmas!

Bethany - posted on 12/24/2008

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Debra~ I'm so sorry you feel slammed and hurt by a couple of the comments on here. My intention was not to start a debate, but I know there are some strong opinions when it comes to motherhood and raising children. All I wanted was, as Christina said, some support and advice, since I don't personally know anyone who has done it the way I want to. I found your comments helpful, especially reminding me about calcium and the amount of water I should be drinking. I'm a water sipper, not guzzler, so it's difficult to make sure I'm getting enough. No, I'm not planning to exclusively breastfeed for two years, although in some ways it's tempting because it's so easy! ;) And, I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, so have no trouble keeping up my milk supply.

Nicole - posted on 12/24/2008

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For me personally, it was painful. But, it didn't stop me. I breastfed my son until I was 7 months pregnant. My son was 2 and a half and weaned himself. (And for the record, my daughter is just starting solids at almost 10 months, and it is not necessary for nutrition at this point, and her iron level was great with no supplements at her 9 month visit-people feed their kids solids too early and start them with empty starches like rice cereal, so I say, good for you!)

Debra - posted on 12/24/2008

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Christina- I was actually quite upset reading the other posts this morning. I went on here to help other moms, not get slammed for information that i've believed to be helpful. This may be a virtual world, but I am a real person. And I found the comments from Brittany and Kari are especially hurtful as I joined this site to learn more information about breast feeding and glean additional support to continue feeding my 13 month old. Not to be jumped on for offering conventional wisdom- even if it might be not up to date as the kellymom site would like. I have 12 years of experience in the health care field and hold a degree in nursing. I dedicated my life to helping others and this is the thanks I get?? I may be conventional, but my child is thriving. It works for me. If something else works for someone else, i'm open to that as well. I never once told Bethany that she should stop nursing her first baby. from her initial post though, i worried that she was planning on not letting her child eat anything for her first 2 years of life but breast milk. A year maybe, but 2 years? I've honestly never heard of that before and while i may be in the dark about new ways of doing things, I'm also always open to learning about new initiatives. For me though, i have to go back to work and do not have the time (or patience) to commit to exclusive breastfeeding like that. My son goes to a sitter's for 12 hours at a time and he needs nutrition while i'm away. I'm just glad that i'm still able to breastfeed at all and haven't weaned him all the way yet.

[deleted account]

I tandem nurse. My son nursed throughout my pregnancy with my daughter and actually dramatically upped his nursing frequency once she was born. He was much older, though, so I wasn't nursing him exclusively during the pregnancy. Still, it's possible! I just wanted to chime in and say that you're not alone with the tandem nursing thing, which I guess is pretty clear since there are a few of us right here who've done it!

Christina - posted on 12/23/2008

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I am not quite sure why this has gotten so nasty. Bethany was simply asking for encouragement and I believe that is what we all gave her. I too am an unconventional mother who delays solids, doesn't vaccinate, and had my children at home. But because I am the one that is different, I understand I need to respect everyone else's beliefs and tend to keep my mouth shut. It is not fare to say that someone is "uneducated" just because you don't agree....and to those who ARE educated, we know that the majority of the information out there is for the less radical decisions in raising children. I think we should all be happy that everyone here has made the first, most important, decision in raising children, being the choice to breastfeed. I thought this was a place to SUPPORT people, not INSULT them. Everybody is different, if you are confident in yourself, you should not feel the need to degrade other people's beliefs.

Debra - posted on 12/23/2008

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Bethany- The information I gave you is simply what is recommended from a professional point of view. Personally, I recommend calcium b/c I've experienced bone density loss while breastfeeding. I've broken my toes more frequently stubbing them on furniture while chasing after my son. My teeth have also felt looser and i find my bite is not as strong as it used to be. Given that my son is growing like a little weed, is now 23 lbs and solid as a rock- i know where my calcium is going. The extra calcium is not for your baby- its for YOU. Your body will care less if you get the calcium you need- it only cares about leeching enough from your bones and teeth if you do not get enough in your diet so that it can support your growing babies. Since you mentioned that you had problems with miscarriage in the past- you need to listen to your body now more then ever. No, you don't NEED to take a prenatal- but you at least consider taking additional folic acid at least. Prenatals are also more highly recommended for people who do not have a well balanced diet. I normally have a well balanced diet and still my hemoglobin dropped nearly 20 points while pregnant as well. Being that I spent my first trimester hardly eating due to nausea, it didn't surprise me that I wasn't able to get all the nutrition i normally get from my diet.
www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/mom-...
www.kellymom.com/nutrition/mom/mom-diet....

As far as the fluid intake goes- a lot of people drink dehydrating beverages during the day and while it may quench their thirst, they are still not hydrating themselves properly. It is recommended that the average person tries to intake 8-10 cups of water per day to replace general fluid loss. Kellymom quotes a source from 1991 and though she may claim to have the latest and greatest information, she too is just one source. That being said- here's another source:
www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283.
If your urine is clear and you aren't experiencing very frequent braxton hicks contractions (which occur more frequently due to dehydration as the uterus contracts in response to dehydration)- then you are probably hydrated enough.

As far as my comments on feeding your baby- I know that there are varying opinions on it. I'm not trying to reprimand your decision making paradigm. I'm more surprised that your baby isn't asking to take part in the family dinner time. All kids are different and have different appetites. My son is following in his father's footprints and growth pattern- and i found that it was going to take a lot more nutrition than I could hope to provide through my breasts to grow a small baby into a 6 foot 4 man with a large bone structure. Maybe it is my own doubts on my ability to do so that encouraged this- however my son enjoys feeding himself and enjoys eating with us. The foods that he consumes is mostly organic and he has no issues with allergies. I held off introducing solids as long as he let me and began at 5 months, 28 days or 6 months. Now he is eating everything and feeds himself finger foods. He is generally only interested in nursing sessions in the morning and so I choose to supplement him with goat's milk or homo milk and water during the day as I noticed he wasn't wetting diapers as he should and the urine he was making was dark. I still offer BF sessions 3-4 times a day, but the day sessions last maybe 1-5 min at most as it cuts into the time he wants to spend driving his cars around my apartment. I'm still hoping he'll maintain interest for a few months yet. I'd love to feed him till age 2 if I can. IF i were in your shoes, i'd hope to be able to feed both my babies as well!
If your daughter is happy, then go and do what you need to do! Babies will tell you when they need to eat! I hope your pregnancy goes well and both your babies are healthy and happy!

Sarah - posted on 12/23/2008

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I got pregnant when my son was 8 months old, too...oops...It can works very well, but there are a few things you should expect (although they don't happen to everyone, I didn't have any trouble).
~Your boobs or nipples may hurt so badly you just can't grin and bear it and have to cut her off.
~You may feel "touched out". This can happen while hormonal and pregnant, or when you are tandem nursing and just feel over touched while nursing two.
~Your daughter may not like the changes either in milk or in your lap space.
~You could completely dry up.
~Even if she self-weans or you have to ask her to stop, she may be willing to go right back to it after the baby is born (this happened to my friend).
~You know how colostrum makes babies poop so that they quickly get rid of the maconium? It has the same effect on toddlers. So, get ready for some loose and messy diapers if you have been used to solid poo up until then (obviously right now they aren't solid if she's not eating solids).

Here are some great things about nursing in pregnancy and tandem nursing.
~Some women (me included) have less breast tenderness because of the frequent use.
~If your labor stalls, you can nurse your toddler and it will pick up faster than if you were to let them administer PIT! (This happened to me...I said I'd go home before allowing them to use PIT and that I'd just nurse my son, thank you very much. I was right, it did the trick.)
~It's FANTASTIC having a toddler nursing when you are engorged!!

Myths about breastfeeding while pregnant and tandem nursing.
~It will put you in to early labor. (You don't go in to labor unless the baby and your body are ready.)
~The milk goes bad. (Hey, some people are retarded enough to believe this...)
~You won't have the right kind of milk (or colostrum) for the new baby. (Your body always caters to the youngest child. The pregnancy tells your body to produce colostrum and then fatty milk and so on to sustain the baby. Just make sure you feed your baby first so s/he gets what is needed and then nurse the older. Or nurse one on each side.)
~If you only nurse the baby on one side and the toddler on the other, your breasts will produce different milk. (True of kangaroos, not so much for humans:P)

In response to a couple previous posters on here...
~No, you don't have to start solids until a year. Babies get almost no nutrients from solids, solids between 6 and 12 months is about introducing new tastes and textures, not sustaining a child.
~No, you don't have to ever start the weaning process. A child will self-wean when ready, so if you want to continue, do, if you get to a point where you've had enough, stop. But you don't HAVE TO wean at any point.
~My OB said I didn't have to change anything about my diet, just keep taking vitamins (they don't have to be prenatals, just a multi and extra Folic Acid to get 800IU is all that is needed).
~Your milk won't turn to colostrum until close to the end, not at 5 months. My friend had to pump because of inverted nipples and she continued to get milk until a week or two before she delivered. My milk never went back totally to the yellow colostrum, it was kind of a mixture of colostrum and milk.

Don't let anyone discourage you from doing what's best for your daughter just because you're pregnant again!! Feel free to PM me any time.
~Sarah

Emily - posted on 12/23/2008

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Some people at LLL can be very pro-attachment parenting, but the leaders at the beginning of every meeting remind moms that the group is meant to provide breastfeeding information and support. They specifically tell moms to take what they can use for their family and don't worry about the rest. We are all the best expert on our own family and we're the only ones who can decide what's best for us.

Bethany - posted on 12/23/2008

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It looks like I'll have to get a copy of "Adventures in Tandem Nursing," at least! And once Christmas is over I'll contact La Leche for some help. I was a little dubious because I don't do "attachment parenting," and heard LLL is very pro-attachment. But, I guess I'll have to try them! Thank you, all, this is so wonderfully helpful!

Emily - posted on 12/23/2008

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I've done this both ways. I found out I was pregnant again when my first was only 4 months old. I weaned at 4 1/2 months because I didn't have information or support to continue. I got pregnant with #3 when #2 was 10 months old and was able to continue to nurse #2 through the entire pregnancy. I've now been tandem nursing for almost a year, #2 is 2 1/2 and still nursing once at night. My period has come back and we're TTC for #4. If we are successful I will continue to nurse #3 through another pregnancy because I don't believe closely spaced siblings should deny an older one of good nutrition and immunity properties of breastmilk. I plan to nurse all future children until at least 2 years.

I would highly recommend you find a La Leche League group near you and make friends with the leaders. They may know others who have tandem nursed near you.

Also, read "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" by Hilary Flower. It has some great information on nutrition during pregnancy, nursing and miscarriage, pregnancy and decrease in milk supply, dealing with family members and other people who don't seem to approve your decision and feel the need to tell you so... It's the best resource I've found for nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing.

[deleted account]

Congratulations, Bethany, to you and your growing family!

There is a lot of conflicting info and opinions on here, Bethany, but I read your post about your miscarriage history and wanted to share a link that may be of interest to you:

http://www.naprotechnology.com/

Many women successfully nurse through pregnancy with no problem, but nursing does lower progesterone levels, which need to rise to appropriate levels to sustain a new pregnancy. After a high-risk 1st pregnancy with low progesterone and a subchorionic bleed (saved by progesterone supplements and early bedrest under the treatment of a NaPro Technology doctor), I decided to wean our first and get on natural progesterone supplements when pregnant again with our 2nd. Thanks be to God, there was no problem with this 2nd pregnancy. NaPro Technology doctors specialize partly in the monitoring of progesterone levels through simple blood tests, and this may be good for you since you've miscarried in the past. (It saved our babies' lives, so I can't recommend it enough!)

I have a couple book recommendations to share, as well:
1. "Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing" by Sheila Kippley (this one changed our lives - it's great food for thought...pardon the pun!)
2. "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" by Hilary Flower (recommended by tandem nursing friends in my local moms group)

God bless your decision and your family, Bethany!!! :)

Krista - posted on 12/23/2008

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Try talking to a La Leche League consultant in your area. They can probably give you some great suggestions and support. www.lllusa.org

Sara - posted on 12/23/2008

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I'm not sure about uping your calcium, but as far as worrying about contractions it really shouldn't be a problem. I felt contractions much earlier when I was nursing while pregnant. Around 3 months instead of 6 months as I did with my first, but they really were not strong at all until 5-6 months. At that point my Dr said to just make sure I didn't have more than 6 in an hour. I did once or twice but they were never regular and always stopped shortly after nursing so it was never a problem. Make sure you find a Dr who is supportive of your decision and they will really help you along the way.



Also someone mentioned milk turning to colustum around 5 months, that definitely didn't happen with me. I was actually getting nervous that it hadn't yet right before I had my baby. It didn't change over until my baby was about 12-18 hours old and then my milk came in much faster this time too.

Bethany - posted on 12/23/2008

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Well, thank you, ladies, for the helpful comments! You've all given me something to think about, and some ideas to look into.

Kari and Brittney, thanks for supporting my decision to exclusively breastfeed for a year (possibly longer, we'll see how it goes and how my daughter is doing). Not many people approve of what I'm doing, so it's nice to have some support. I have MANY food allergies (milk, wheat, soy, banana, onion...), which in part led to my decision to delay solids, but I also don't understand why well-nourished mothers should be pressured to start solids when our babies are growing well and getting the nutrition they need from breastmilk.

I am a little worried about nursing causing my uterus to contract and leading to miscarriage. After losing several pregnancies in the past two years, I am nervous about increasing my risk. I seem to be getting mixed info on the nursing/miscarriage deal, although it sounds like plenty of mothers have done it with no problems.

One thing I am also a little concerned about, is that I am allergic to milk. I drink almond milk, but are there some good, healthy, natural ways to increase my calcium intake?

Thank you!

Kari - posted on 12/23/2008

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Well said Brittney... why is it that so many health care professionals are sooooo uneducated about this subject? Drives me C-R-A-Z-Y!!!!

Crystal - posted on 12/23/2008

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First, Congratulations on your pregnancy!!



I hope to be in your shoes too…and I plan to tandem nurse as well. Good for you!!

About 5 months into your pregnancy your milk reverts to colostrum, you may notice your baby go on a nursing strike…which you may mistake for weaning. At this time you may also notice a decrease in supply. Just remember that you can not take herbs such as fenugreek and blessed thistle…this is not good for your unborn baby. But some foods you can have to help supply are real oatmeal and lentils. Fennel is also good for supply and it can be used with cooking.

And as mentioned, drink lots of water…something I should be doing more of myself.



Anyhow, way to go and best of luck breastfeeding as long as you can!!

Kari - posted on 12/23/2008

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Hmmm I have a hard time with misleading information given to moms. You can exclusively breastfeed your baby too their first birthday...iron is sometimes a concern but not usually!!! http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitami...
Alot of people in health care are misguided or just not informed properly about breastfeeding and discourage the practice (due to American culture) but you are doing one of the best things you could ever do for your child!!! Since babies are "open gut" solids should wait until about a year (you will know when the child is ready) and food in the fist year is not for nutritional purpose however simply for FUN. http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids...



Here is some great information on tandem nursing...
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/tandem/index....

Good luck and don't let anyone discourage you from doing what is best!!!

Brittney - posted on 12/23/2008

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OMG, please disregard some of the horrible advice you are getting here!
I nursed my first daughter though my pregnancy. I ate and drank when I was hungry or thirsty (only healthy, wholesome foods, which I would do anyway), didn't take a prenatal vitamin (they aren't bioavailable anyway and cause more problems than they help, though taking a good B complex and flax oil supplement is always a good thing), and birthed my 9lbs daughter at home, unassisted.
If you want support through this, and don't want to hear that you *must* start your baby on solids because of some arbitrary number the govnt pulled up, then you can join my group;
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/milk_drunk...

Nursing while pregnant doesn't increase your risk of miscarriage; of course you need to eat healthy, and your body will naturally tell you how much food and fluids you need. Do not take Tumms twice a day; they may contain calcium but the calcium cannot be absorbed by your body and they contain high amounts of aluminum that can harm your baby's brain. It is not important to start solids at 4-6 months (I can't believe a registered nurse would tell you that!). Breastmilk is PERFECT nutrition for the full first year of life and often-times beyond that. Solids are only practice, and are not necessary. I have women on my group whose babies still don't eat solids at a year or more, and they are perfectly healthy, happy, babies. All babies are different and some are not ready for solids that soon. I am sure you know this, being you aren't feeding your 8-month old solids :) but I couldn't help but try to educate the masses lol.

Anyway, I hope this helps!

Debra - posted on 12/22/2008

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Hi! I'm a registered Nurse. If you plan to continue breastfeeding while pregnant you need start by staying extremely hydrated and drink at least 4 Litres (1 gallon) of water or other non-dehydrating beverages per day to stay hydrated. You also need to eat ALOT! Its recommended that you consume an extra 300 calories for pregnancy and add 400 for nursing, so you need an extra 300 calories total 1000 extra calories on a non-pregnant/nursing body. Those calories should come from whole grains, fruits and veggies, dairy and meat products. Prenatals vitamins are a must and you should consider additional calcium supplementation- especially if you can not take in the recommended dietary amount.A link to the Canada food guide recommended servings: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-... should also talk to your care practitioner about iron intake. I must ask why you have not started feeding your baby solids yet? the recommendation from our province on starting to eat is 4-6 months with the lean to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months. It is around 6 months of age that babies stop being able to get enough iron from nursing alone and need to start learning like food and textures. My son was so excited when he saw us eating he would scream and reach for our food around 5.5 months so I knew it was time for him to start getting some cereal in his diet. Now he's 13 months and we are still breast feeding 3-4 times a day but he also eats all kinds of different steamed veggies and fruits and meats and grains. He also drinks homo milk and water as well. This is just a link to how and when to start feeding your baby from my BC Canada government:
http://healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile...

And a link for the toddler years; 6 months to 32 months:
http://health.gov.bc.ca/children/initiat...

Nursing two babies will be hard. Remember that if you can give your baby at least one year then you should be commended! Also remember that you have to start weaning at some point and that does not mean that you can't continue to breastfeed. It means that your baby is becoming a toddler and its important for her health to learn how to eat. I hope everything goes well for you!

Shannon - posted on 12/22/2008

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Didn't your doctor tell you that it is important to start solids. Your baby at 8 months needs other nutrients she won't get from breast milk.



On the other hand, I have read that it is possible to continue breastfeeding when pregnant, but your milk will change with your hormones, so be sure to talk to your doctor.

Sara - posted on 12/22/2008

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It shouldn't be a problem at all! I became pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding when my 1st was 5 months old. I knew that I wanted to nurse him to at least a year and then whatever worked best for us after that. The first OB I saw (one of 4 at one shared practice) was not supportive at all and told me I had to wean. When I asked her why the only reason was that I wouldn't be getting enough calcium and would need to take supplements! So that's what we did. It was a little painful at first, but usually only the first 10 seconds or so of a nursing session, and by about half way through my pregnancy it wasn't painful anymore.



My second son was born almost a month early (completely unrelated to breastfeeding while pregnant) and my boys are 13 months apart and both still nursing!



One thing to watch for is a decrease in milk supply. Some women completely loose their milk supply, while with others it only diminishes a little, or if you are really lucky not at all! Since your daughter is older she will be on solids during your pregnancy and if you ever feel she is not hydrated enough she can have some water in a cup to keep her fluids up. Otherwise you should have no problems at all! Good luck with tandem feeding it's a great way for siblings to bond!

Kelli - posted on 12/22/2008

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It's not a problem at all to BF through your new pregnancy. Just be sure to talk to your OB about increasing your calcium intake. Most OB/Midwives will tell you 2 Tumms, twice a day. You need the extra for both the new baby and the one you're nursing! I breastfed my oldest until he was 18 months, which put me halfway through my pregnancy, at which point he no longer wanted to because of the belly!!

Ruth - posted on 12/22/2008

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Hi there, you could contact your local La Leche Legue if you have one for support, we have quite a few moms in our group who are tandem feeding with no problems.

Christina - posted on 12/22/2008

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I have not had this problem myself, but I totally understand that just because you are growing a new baby doesn't mean you want to take anything away from your 8 month old. I have heard that it is painful for some mom's, but I also know many mom's who have had a successful pregnancy while nursing through its entirety. I would check with your OB/Midwife because there are studies that show breastfeeding can cause women to miscarry because it makes your uterus contract. Good luck though! Like I said, I know people that have done it, which leads me to believe you certainly can if that is what you want. I hope all goes well with you and your babies.

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