Breastfeeding and its benefits for both the mother and the newborn baby don’t require any introduction. It is an amazing way of building a more succinct bond between the mother and child and it also supports the well-being of the baby in their crucial initial developmental years.
However, planning for a pregnancy or even being pregnant when you are already breastfeeding another child can raise some questions in the mind of the parents. Is it safe? Should you even plan a pregnancy while actively breastfeeding another infant?
Having questions about breastfeeding while pregnancy is normal. As you progress through your current pregnancy, ensuring the optimal safety of your infant and the developing fetus in your womb is imperative.
This article will share some of the top breastfeeding techniques and tips for breastfeeding while pregnant.
In this Article
- 1 1. Discuss the Safety with your OBGYN or Primary Healthcare Provider
- 2 2. Keep a Check on the Milk Supply
- 3 3. Take it Easy
- 4 4. Focus on your Diet
- 5 5. Put Extra Care into your Breasts and Nipples
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 FAQs
1. Discuss the Safety with your OBGYN or Primary Healthcare Provider
Before you start panicking thinking something is going to go wrong, let’s calm down first and take some deep breaths. Breastfeeding while you are pregnant is safe and doesn’t impose any health risks on your baby.
However, you can never be too sure of anything when it comes to physiological functions. One of the most common concerns most pregnant women have about breastfeeding their other infant or toddler is the excess pregnancy hormones.
Are these hormones safe for the baby who is actively breastfeeding? Breast milk has trace amounts of pregnancy hormones, so there is nothing you have to worry about. However, these are some common queries your doctor will be able to clarify for you.
One common concern that’s tied with breastfeeding while being pregnant is the secretion of oxytocin. The hormone is released when a baby nurses from its mother. However, when you are pregnant, excess oxytocin levels in the body can lead to pre-term labor or risks of a miscarriage.
To ensure optimal safety, your doctor will run comprehensive tests to find out the hormonal balance in the body to reassure you about the safety percentage. If the doctor deems something wrong or finds that breastfeeding could be interfering with your current pregnancy, they will advise weaning off your child or trying alternative feeding options.
2. Keep a Check on the Milk Supply
A mother’s breastmilk supply typically starts to slow down by the five-month mark. However, it doesn’t mean a complete halt to the milk supply. It means that you have to consider including additional nutrient sources into the baby’s diet. It could include formula, or even pureed solid foods as they traipse into their six-month mark.
However, there is a lot more you have to consider. Typically, you need to focus on once you deliver your newborn that you are pregnant with now. Since they will need the colostrum and will solely depend on breastmilk, focus on nursing the new baby first before you nurse your older baby.
If required, you might also have to halt your older child’s breastfeeding for the first few days after your newborn is delivered. This ensures that your newborn is getting all the colostrum and the necessary nutrients and immunity-boosting elements they need.
3. Take it Easy
Breastfeeding in itself is quite a hard work and a tedious task for the mother. Now, imagine being pregnant while you are actively breastfeeding. It is tiring work for the mother and can get very hard at times.
It isn’t something to be worried about unless the symptoms take a turn for the worse. That said, one of the important tips to remember when breastfeeding while being pregnant is to take it slow.
Handling a baby and a developing pregnancy can take a toll on the body. So, when it comes to nursing your baby, focus on finding somewhere you can lie down, relax and then breastfeed. Don’t put excess strain on the body, especially with the progress of the current pregnancy.
If you find it hard to breastfeed your baby consistently throughout the day, we’d recommend switching to the formula for a few feedings in the day. You can also pump your breastmilk and bottle feed the baby so you can relax and take things easy for a few hours. The latter comes in handy as you progress through the pregnancy months.
4. Focus on your Diet
We are all aware of the advantages of breastfeeding are not just for the baby, but it has an equal amount of benefits for the mother. When you are juggling dual tasks like breastfeeding and growing a baby inside you, focusing on your diet isn’t a choice anymore, it becomes a necessity.
Pregnancy itself demands the mother to eat a filling and balanced diet. So, when you are breastfeeding, the need for eating more calories throughout the day becomes inevitable. Both pregnancy and breastfeeding can be very draining of energy, so ensuring that you are eating healthy is very crucial.
The best way to understand your diet is to consult a lactation consultant or contact your OBGYN for direct suggestions. While pregnancy requires a mother to eat around 350-450 calories more than their normal diet, a breastfeeding mother needs 500-650 extra calories to optimize their physical health.
Discuss your options with your doctor and a nutritionist to strike a balance. Eating right is not just essential for you but equally important for the baby as well.
5. Put Extra Care into your Breasts and Nipples
When you are breastfeeding while pregnant, sore nipples are going to be a constant reminder of the changes your body is going through. Not just due to your baby constantly tugging and biting while breastfeeding, sore nipples are also common due to pregnancy hormones.
So, paying extra attention to caring for your breasts and nipples is important. Start by shortening the length of the feedings. If you find your baby not latching properly, try and fix that issue as well.
Besides that, indulge in some self-care to reduce the strain that your body is going through. Besides puffiness and pain in the nipples, it is also quite common to experience breast tenderness during this period.
If the pain or the discomfort becomes unbearable, you can always discuss soothing and care options with your doctor before things take a turn for the worse.
Breastfeeding during pregnancy, for the most part, is safe. However, you can never be too sure of any side effects or consequences that follow. This Breastfeeding Awareness Week, we want to raise awareness about being informed about everything related to breastfeeding, including this subject. We hope this article gives you all the insights that you were likely looking for.
It is perfectly safe to breastfeed while pregnant. Generally, it doesn’t impose any risks to the nursing baby or the fetus that’s growing inside the mother. However, it is always recommended to consult your OBGYN.
There is no “standard” timeframe for stopping breastfeeding. Most mothers leave it to their babies to wean themselves off of this habit. However, if breastfeeding is imposing any risks to the developing fetus, the doctor will suggest early weaning to ensure the safety of the mother and developing fetus.
There is a sudden drop in the breast milk supply while you are pregnant. It is not a consequence of the different techniques and types of breastfeeding you are indulging in but due to the hormonal changes that ccur during pregnancy.