breast feeding and getting/being pregnant

Erika - posted on 01/15/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )

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my husband and i are wanting to try for #3, but im breast feeding.. just curious what the chances are of getting pregnant while breast feeding and if i need to stop breast feeding, or do anything to help me get pregnant and what the chances are of being able to continue breast feeding once i do get pregnant?

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Valerie - posted on 01/20/2012

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I just wanted to add to Sara's post about colostrum. If you nurse during pregnancy and then have the new baby and are still nursing, your body will produce colostrum, not just regular milk. During pregnancy, you can still nurse, but your supply can often decrease. Also, the taste and nutrients in the milk changes with pregnancy, most notably, in the 5th month, when the taste of the milk changes. But it is perfectly safe to nurse throughout your entire pregnancy.



Also, someone posted about it being able to induce labor in the last trimester. This is not necessarily true. Sure, nursing does cause your uterus to contract, but it stops when the nursing session stops. My husband and I took a 8 week long course on prior to having our first and one thing mentioned was that nipple stimulation is one way to try to help induce labor. However, in order for this to work, you have to do it for hours! And even then it is not a reliable method, often it doesn't really work. The same is true for nursing in the last trimester. Unless your little one is nursing for hours upon hours at a time, then you probably won't go into early labor.



Do the research and make yourself as well informed as you can. Most doctors aren't up to date on this information and tend to quote old wives tales. The reasoning being that a lot of people don't nurse very long so it doesn't come up for them. Our current doctor has no information about it and during our first visit was quick to say, stop nursing so your baby gets plenty of nutrients. We did help educate her, but it can be hard to stand up to a doctor when you don't have the facts first.



Good luck!

[deleted account]

Just wanted to add a couple things. Fenugreek is not approved for use during pregnancy. Tandem nursing has been shown to increase sibling bonding. I talked to my toddler all the time, especially while she was nursing, about how the baby would need lots of mommy's milk. She was happy to share. I rarely nurse them together because it's hard to get them both into a good position, but my toddler doesn't mind the baby nursing at all. Also, during your pregnancy your milk changes back to colostrum. Toddlers may not like the change or they may not mind at all. If the older baby continues to nurse the colostrum may cause looser stools because it does have a laxative effect, but this doens't hurt them and it's fine to continue. Your body will always make the milk specifically for the younger baby, but this doesn't mean your older nursling won't still benefit. Like I said in my last post that book will answer just about any nursing through pregnancy/tandem nursing question you will have. Good luck!

[deleted account]

Breastfeeding is perfectly fine and safe in a healthy pregnancy. When you breastfeed your body releases oxytocin. This is the same hormone that drives labor. However, your uterus has oxytocin receptors and these receptors are "shut off" until your baby is ready. So breastfeeding will not induce labor if your body/baby aren't ready (unless you have a history of preterm labor--then you may wish to wean). If you would like to get pregnant while nursing I would suggest readnig the book, "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" by Hilary Flower. It has tons of great information about nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing.



I'm currently tandem nursing my toddler and baby. My cycle came back at 11 months. I charted my cycles by taking my basal body temperature and watched for other signs of fertility. I used http://www.fertilityfriend.com to help me figure out when I ovulated. I also used ovulation tests the month we got pregnant.



Good luck!

Miranda - posted on 01/16/2012

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My mother also breastfed while pregnant and was a high risk case. She managed it for quite a long while without any problems.

Kaitlin - posted on 01/16/2012

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Have you gotten your period yet, and if so, do you know if you are ovulating? If you don't know, try charting your cycle, it's easy and really helps speed up conception (check out Taking Charge of your Fertility at your local library or check out the website- awesome)



I breast fed my children. My first was quite the eater and I breast fed him and didn't introduce solids until 5 months but I got pregnant when he was 4 months- yep, I was exclusively breastfeeding and got pregnant- I was so excited! A bit of a bummer was that around 16- 20 weeks the hormones from pregnancy affected my milk, and Will didn't want to nurse (it made him throw up) and then my milk dried up. But that was fine. How old is your second child? Is he exclusively breastfed or does he/she eat other foods and how often? It's totally okay to breastfeed right up until delivery unless you have a high risk pregnancy, really! I know several moms who did this and then tandom feed (fed their 2 or 3 year old and newborn) but I don't really think that's a good idea, because you can't produce both the exact nutrients for you newborn as your older child. But then, i can't make decisions for anyone else either. ;) Good luck!

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Deborah - posted on 01/19/2012

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I've read it can be a challenge to get pregnant while you are nursing, but it is not impossible. I had a lot of issues with my daughter when I was breastfeeding, but I did some research and found out the herbal supplement "Fenugreek" helps with breastmilk production. the capsules I had, i had to take six of them to get the right dose (which is more than the bottle recommends) but do some research on it.



I honestly think it might cause some confusion to your currently-nursing child to 'share' that though. Just something to consider...although having two nursing children would help keep your production up!



I also wonder how much 'goodness' your potential newborn would lose because he/she wouldn't get the colostrum.,,,that's supposed to seal the baby's bowels after birth.

Valerie - posted on 01/18/2012

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You can absolutely get pregnant and continue to breastfeed throughout your entire pregnancy. I am currently nursing my 19 month-old and am about 10 weeks pregnant. My supply has decreased a little, but it's still there!! My son nurses throughout the day and occasionally at night. The main thing to do is make sure you are getting enough calories for both. If you are looking for more info, there's a great book that I have been reading called "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" by Norma Jane Bumgarner. It has lots of helpful information about nursing in different cultures, myths associated with tandem nursing and while pregnant, as well as how things change over time while nursing older children.



We made the decision to keep nursing because our son is under 2 and still seems to need to nurse. As far as getting pregnant, it took us about 3 months to get pregnant. Just keep taking your prenatal vitamins and hope for the best. It also depends on whether or not you are ovulating. Chances are, if you are having your period, then you are ovulating. There are simple tests you can take that let you know if you are ovulating as well if you are curious. Good luck and hope everything works out for you!

Bernadette - posted on 01/18/2012

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I fell pregnant with my son when my daughter was 15 months old. She stopped breast feeding at 17 months. I got my period back when she was only 3 months old though, even though she was exclusively breast fed until 5 1/2 months.



If it is being able to fall pregnant that you are worried about, as long as you are ovulating you can fall pregnant. If you're not sure, buy an ovulation kit which will tell you if, and when, you ovulate. This way you can increase your chances as you'll know when is the best time to try. This is what I did with my son, and got pregnant on the 3rd try.



If it's being able to continue breast feeding after you fall pregnant that you are worried about, that probably depends largely on your child. Some children are put off after you fall pregnant, as the taste of the milk supposedly changes. My daughter stopped, of her own accord, two months into my second pregnancy. Other kids aren't put off by it and continue for as long as their parents will allow them. A lot of people tandem feed now. This definitely isn't for me, so I was glad that my daughter stopped on her own.

Erika - posted on 01/16/2012

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my youngest is 7 months old and im sure if its "returned" .. i have had 2 cycles now, in 7 months! but thank you allf or the encouragement and comments!!

Miranda - posted on 01/16/2012

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I'm pregnant and still breastfeeding. I'm almost 11 weeks approximately. Good luck!

Jenny - posted on 01/16/2012

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I work in a pediatric office and I often get asked this question. Breastfeeding while pregnant is okay and safe, but once the pregnancy starts to get into the 2nd and 3rd trimester, the sucking of your baby can possibly induce labor. Most moms often wing their baby off of the breastmilk and onto formula or whole milk (if 1 yo +). Some moms continue to breastfeed while pregnant and take their chances. It is up to you, but know it is okay to breastfeed while pregnant. Of course, there will be doctors who have their opinion, and I'm going off of my studies/research and my boss.

[deleted account]

I got pregnant while breastfeeding. I'm 24 weeks now. The only downside, my milk dried up at 17 weeks and Gabby really wasn't finished breastfeeding. She cried and begged but nothing worked to get my milk back. It was truly heartbreaking. I am still hurt over it.

Shauna - posted on 01/16/2012

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Breastfeeding, in general, tends to stop your period, but since you're fertile before your first period starts, you never know! Some people still have their periods while breastfeeding. I don't think mine started until my nursing became much less frequent. So, you can get pregnant, but your chances are lower---but you can breastfeed while pregnant.

Cassandra - posted on 01/15/2012

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You can breast feed while trying or being pregnant. Sometimes your milk flavor changes and the baby wont drink anymore so thats something that may happen. Good luck!

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