Are you planning to grow your family while still breastfeeding your older child? Or have you already had a pregnancy test come positive? Then you probably have a lot of questions about how your pregnancy will affect your breastfeeding. The good news is that breastfeeding while pregnant usually isn’t a problem. Nevertheless, there are a few matters to keep in mind in the coming months.
For most women, breastfeeding while pregnant isn’t an issue and won’t have any effect on your pregnancy. However, there are some cases in which your doctor or midwife may recommend weaning your older child.
This is because breastfeeding can cause uterine contractions. While these aren’t a concern during most pregnancies, they can be an issue if you are at risk of early labor. This could be the case if you have previously had a premature birth, are expecting twins (or more!), or have previously had a miscarriage. It is best to discuss this with your midwife or doctor.
A lot will change for your older child when the new baby arrives. But if they’re still nursing, there are other changes that you will need to help them navigate even before they become a big brother or sister.
One of the most obvious changes is that you will need to find a new nursing position. As your belly grows, your old position may become uncomfortable, or even flat-out impossible. The two of you will need to find a new position that works better, which may take some getting used to. The length of your nursing sessions may also need to change. We probably don’t need to tell you that sore nipples and breasts are common in pregnancy. Breastfeeding doesn’t do anything to change this, unfortunately! Shortening nursing sessions can help limit discomfort, and don’t forget to remind your older child to latch on properly if they’re old enough to understand.
While breastfeeding generally doesn’t affect your pregnancy, the fact that you’re expecting will cause some changes in your breast milk.
As your pregnancy progresses, your nursing child will notice a change both in terms of texture and taste. Your breast milk will remain as nutritious as ever, but it will change as you start producing colostrum: the thicker, more yellow milk produced during pregnancy and the first days after the birth. Colostrum isn’t as sweet as the milk your older child is used to, so they may find it less to their liking.
It’s important that your newborn gets enough colostrum in their first few days. This wasn’t something you had to give much thought with your first child, but it can take some management if you’re tandem nursing. You can make sure that your youngest child gets enough colostrum by feeding him first. You might need someone to help out by distracting your older child to ensure this goes smoothly, so plan ahead! Don’t worry, though: this is only temporary. Nursing two children should help your milk come in fast, making who feeds first less of an issue.
We’ve already mentioned that the kind of milk you produce will change, but this isn’t the only way your pregnancy will affect your breast milk production. It’s normal for your breast milk supply to decrease during pregnancy. This is caused by changes in your hormones. How your breast milk supply decreases may vary: it can happen gradually or suddenly
This decrease in breast milk supply, combined with the different taste, may result in your older child weaning naturally before your newborn arrives. However, even if your older child does continue nursing, you will need to compensate for your lower breast milk supply by adding more food and drinks to your child’s diet.
This change isn’t permanent. After your newborn arrives, your milk supply will once again increase.
The old advice to ‘eat for two’ during pregnancy should be taken with a grain of salt. However, eating healthily during pregnancy and when nursing is essential. This is doubly true when you’re pregnant and nursing.
If you’re breastfeeding while pregnant, your body has to have the fuel necessary not only to keep you healthy, but to sustain both your older child and your new baby. This means staying hydrated and making sure you’re getting enough calories and nutrients. To do this, you need to combine the additional caloric needs of your pregnancy with the supplemental calories you need to breastfeed your older child.
Are you worried about your breast milk supply, dealing with fatigue, or struggling to stay hydrated? Dietary supplements to support breastfeeding aren’t a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet and exercise, but they can provide a lot of convenience. That’s why we’ve developed Multi-Mam LactaShake, a natural and protein-rich shake, and Multi-Mam LactaMax, a fizzy nutrient drink, to support breast milk production and reduce fatigue. Head over to the product pages linked above to find out if these supplements are right for you.