Breastfeeding while pregnant

Joy - posted on 04/13/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My first child isn't weaned at 2 1/2 years. That's fine with me, but now that I'm expecting my 2nd child my breasts have started to swell and become more sensitive. Because the nipples are larger there's been more instances where my first child's teeth have hurt me (my daughter's front teeth are also chipped from an incident with a bathtub & a bad jump/fall so she's had to be careful with her latch since then.) I want her to continue nursing as long as she needs it without pushing her away for the new one and I don't want her resentful of the new baby (or at least as much as possible.)

Any suggestions?

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Merry - posted on 04/18/2012

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Hi joy! Good advise here so far so I'll just add my personal experience. I was nursing my 1.5 yr old son 8 times a day still if not more sometimes when we conceived our second pregnancy. My son continued to breastfeed the whole pregnancy' he did not decrease the amount of nursing either, my milk decreased so he was trying to nurse more to get more milk so I let him. It did hurt but I felt it was worth it to let him self wean. My dr did say that I should wean him by the 20week mark but as I learned more and talked to breastfeeding support people I found my dr was absolutely wrong. There was no reason for my son to have to wean. I was a low risk pregnancy, healthy, and I was at no risk for preterm labor.

Needless to say I ditched the dr and got a midwife who told me many of her clients were nursing toddlers through pregnancies and she's never seen a single bad outcome.

So now my son is three and my daughter nearly one and both still breastfeed, though my son is nearly weaned! He has decreased over time and is now only nurseing every other day or so.



I'm so glad I allowed him to nurse still. I feel like its a great gift to him! And his sister was born 10 days late, 8lbs, beautiful healthy home water birth. No remastered labor, no poor weit gain, she was perfect! But YES I did have tons and tons of Braxton hicks! So be prepared for that and don't be scared, obviously I was late so she wasn't comming out til she was ready!

Lori - posted on 04/17/2012

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Nipple stimulation will not send you into early labor. It may cause some extra braxton hicks contractions. I know... nipple stimulation is touted as a way to bring on labour. And many Dr.'s and nurses are not educated enough about breastfeeding, much less breastfeeding through pregnancy. Many women have successfully nursed ALL the way through their pregnancy and have continued to nurse the toddler after the new baby was born. If you're body is ready for labour to begin it's possible that nursing the older baby will get labour started a few hours sooner than it may have started on it's own. All this info.... and more... in the book I mentioned above. With cited references if you need to talk with your Dr. about it. I'm not saying ignore your Dr.'s advice. Just make sure you have a conversation with your Dr. about it, not just the nurses at your Dr.'s office. Mention that you want to be able to breastfeed your toddler until she self weans.



Now, if you have a history of premature delivery, or another medical condition that may cause pregnancy complications then there may be a true need to stop nursing sooner. However, in a healthy normal pregnancy you can safely nurse the entire pregnancy.

Amy - posted on 04/15/2012

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I would echo Francine. I'm 34 weeks pregnant, and my daughter weaned at 2 years 7 months, when I was in the second trimester. As Francine said, it's not really possible to know why - taste, disappearing lap, etc. - but I must admit I tended to feel that she was feeding less, otherwise I could not have ovulated and gotten pregnant (some months before, I exclusively fed her through a bout of gastro, and although we made no attempts to avoid conception, it didn't happen then! I tend to feel my body knew it needed to focus on and support her). As far as avoiding resentment goes, if your daughter shows signs of dropping feeds / self-weaning (whether completely independently, or as her response to your pregnancy), make sure you talk about what's going on - you're aiming for her to understand that not having milk anymore is a part of growing up (don't force her to associate this with now / later / any age in particular), that baby will have milk, and that's only right, because baby can't have anything else, whereas she has so much food variety to choose from - isn't she lucky?! That's the kind of angle I took with my daughter when she started shying away from my breasts, requesting milk less often, and staying attached for no more than a few seconds. I decided it was best to affirm the decision she seemed to be making. Go with your instincts. I would definitely recommend that you try and make the weaning about her own 'growing up', rather than being supplanted by 'the baby'.

Lori - posted on 04/14/2012

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There's a great book by Hilary Flower called Adventures in Tandem Nursing. It has more info on breastfeeding while pregnant and continuing to breastfeed both after the baby is born than any other source.



When I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd, my 1st was 21 months old. My first clue to the pregnancy was the pain I began feeling while nursing. I though at first I'd developed some sort of infection. When I took the test and found out I was pregnant I decided to wean. By 23 months, my older daughter was weaned.



That being said, if you can tolerate it, there is nothing wrong with continuing to nurse your toddler all through your pregnancy and then after your baby is born. When my 2nd was born, my 1st really really wanted to nurse again. I let her try and she was happy as a little clam to nurse again. She wanted to go back to nursing daily, but I didn't want to do that, so I compromised and pumped extra for her so she could have mommy milk in a bottle each day. I did that for more than 6 months. Now my little one is 16 months old and my 1st will be 4 next month. I don't pump every day for her, but when she's caught a cold or runs a fever I'll pump some milk for her. Like many moms I questioned my decision to wean when I did, and I thought many many times that it would have been much easier to let her go back to nursing than to pump for her... even just once a day. But all in all I'm happy with the way it's worked out.



Your daughter is old enough at 2 1/2 to be extra careful when she latches on, and by the time your baby is born she'll be old enough to understand that a itty bitty baby only drinks mommy milk, so that's why the baby nurses all the time. That will be true whether you continue to nurse your toddler or not.

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Merry - posted on 04/25/2012

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Jennifer I think most women feel fatigued for a while after baby number two :)

If you eat and drink well breastfeeding really doesn't take anything out of you.

It's safe,healthy part of being a woman :)

Jennifer - posted on 04/23/2012

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I also read that book when I was nursing my first and conceived my second. I only ended up nursing through the first trimester because my milk supply decreased and I was working full time so it was hard to keep it coming. However, I believe that my health suffered as a result of this. Everyone is different but my body is sensitive and it took a lot out of me. I think it's a great idea but doesn't work for everyone. I was extremely fatigued for about 2 yrs after my second was born.

Lori - posted on 04/17/2012

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Well hopefully your new Dr. will be willing to work with you to meet your needs. And I understand about limited choices. When my 1st was born I had the choice of the local OB-GYN, or driving an hour to a bigger city where I could have had my choice of Dr's. Luckily I got along well with the local Dr.



I picked up that book when my 2nd was born. I'd weaned my 1st shortly after becoming pregnant, but when the baby was born, my 2 1/2 year old wanted to nurse again. There is so much good info in that book, and it's not just pushing the idea that everyone should try to tandem feed, or should try to nurse through their pregnancy.

Joy - posted on 04/17/2012

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Yay! Don't have a history of premature delivery. The first was 10 days late. For the 1st one we tried everything we'd heard to naturally start labor (scrubbed floors, nipple stimulation, sex, walked, etc.) and it didn't work.

I haven't had a chance to pick up the book, but I will. Thank you, Lori. I had a friend who just had her 3rd child and the 2nd one's not quite 2 years old and he's not weaned either -so wondered about what the nurse said. I changed doctors because I argued so much with the doctor I had with the first (who wanted to do a lot of unnecessary intervention to avoid lawsuits) and was hoping I wouldn't have the same problems with this one. Unfortunately, I've yet to meet the doctor this group's assigned me. And unfortunately, choices for ob-gyns are limited where I am.

Joy - posted on 04/17/2012

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If they don't do it on their own, is it necessary that babies need to wean before the 3rd trimester? When I went to the ob-gyn today the nurse there told me I needed to do that so I wouldn't go into early labor. Or is there a way to get past the nipple stimulation?

Momof2 - posted on 04/14/2012

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I nursed my son for 2 1/2 years as well. when i got pregnant it got really painful for me to nurse but i was willing to keep going for my son. i tried not to let it show that it hurt but it would cause me to tense up and he self weaned really quickly. my milk dried up completely withing a couple days after that. i don't know if my milk was drying up on its own already or if he weaned because he knew it was hurting me, or even if the taste changed due to pregnancy (I've heard pregnancy can change the taste but don't know if its true or not.)



my point is that my son for whatever reason self weaned when i got pregnant. you daughter might do the same thing. i wanted to just deal with he pain because it was important for me that my son got to self wean when he was ready. as far as not wanting her to be resentful of the baby the nursing itself probably wont be too much of an issue from what i hear its usually the extra time, attention, and overall care that a baby needs that causes older children to be resentful. (sorry i don't have any experience with a resentful older child yet since my baby isn't due till June. I have the same concerns and that's what other mothers have told me)

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