One of the things that I frequently got asked about in my second pregnancy was around breastfeeding whilst pregnant. Would it hurt the baby? Would nursing during pregnancy make me ill? I fell pregnant when my son was 15 months old and successfully breastfed him throughout pregnancy, before continuing to tandem feed after birth. I found resources and information on this really tricky to find, so here are some facts surround nursing during pregnancy and my answers to some of the questions that I had myself.
Can I Still Breastfeed My Baby Whilst I’m Pregnant?
Absolutely, it’s perfectly possible to breastfeed your baby whilst you’re pregnant with another child. This was one of my first concerns when I found out I was pregnant but my midwife was very encouraging!
Will Breastfeeding Whilst Pregnant Hurt My Baby?
Short answer? No. The human body, and our reproductive systems, are incredibly well set up. Your body will put all of it’s resources into caring for your unborn child as its priority. Your baby is essentially a really clever, incredibly cute parasite. If you’re lacking in nutrients, you’ll be the one to feel the effects far earlier than your unborn child.
Will Breastfeeding Whilst Pregnant Make Me Sick?
It shouldn’t do but you may find sometimes it triggers morning sickness – it really depends on each individual’s triggers unfortunately. I found breastfeeding on an empty stomach whilst pregnant made me feel sick, so would be sure to eat prior to feeding. Breastfeeding does take nutrients from you and if you’ve already got a weaker immune system due to pregnancy then it could make you ill more often. A great way to overcome this is to make sure you’ve got your nutritional needs sorted!
What Nutrition Do I Need To Breastfeed During Pregnancy?
A balanced, healthy diet during pregnancy will help to support both you and your babies (born and unborn) needs. Make sure you’re taking in plenty of calcium and plenty of iron to help support growth in both of them without having to lose it from your own personal supplies. Remember that there are various foods that are recommended to be restricted during pregnancy anyway. If you’ve got any concerns, speak to your midwife or your health visitor – I found my midwife the most supportive of this, and the most helpful.
Can I Take My Pregnancy Vitamins Whilst Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can. Both nursing and pregnancy are tough on a woman’s body so doing them at the same time is going to mean you need some extra support in the way of pre-natal vitamins. Be careful to make sure you take pregnancy suited vitamins as it’s adviable not to have too much Vitamin A during pregnancy. You can also take your folic acid as normal.
Will My Milk Supply Be Affected During Pregnancy?
Possibly. I heard multiple stories of milk supplies being reduced or even stopping during pregnancy. Due to my son’s age, I didn’t notice a huge difference in the amount that he fed and it didn’t seem to upset him if it did reduce, it certainly didn’t stop. That said, there was a definite large increase after the baby was born! I believe a large part of breastfeeding is to do with comfort and at this age his nutritional needs were being met with food and water as well, so any reduction wasn’t a huge concern. If your child is younger or more reliant on milk then you may want to look at ways to supplement during pregnancy.
Will Breastfeeding Bring On Premature Labour?
The nights I spent researching this one! It is shown that nipple stimulation is one of the very few things scientifically shown to bring on labour. However, I fed through the entirety of my pregnancy and my daughter hung on in there until 42 weeks! At no point was I advised by medical professionals that there would be an increased risk of inducing labour prematurely by nursing during my pregnancy.
Is Breastfeeding During Pregnancy Painful?
Again, this is something that I think would vary from person to person, dependent on their hormones and pain thresholds. Hormones are rife during pregnancy and your breasts are naturally more sensitive. That doesn’t necessarily mean that feeding during pregnancy will cause you pain, especially if you are well established. I personally found there was more discomfort at certain times but this was minimal. I certainly found that I needed to pay more attention to latch to ensure that didn’t add to it.
What Are The Pros and Cons Of Breastfeeding During Pregnancy?
Maintaining that relationship with your elder child is certainly a huge pro of breastfeeding during pregnancy. It allowed me to give him some focused time together, just him and I. It allowed him to get to connect with my body and his younger sibling from an early stage. But most importantly, it forced me to sit and take things slow for a moment whilst I fed him – something you need when you’re pregnant and already have older children!
On the flip side, breastfeeding during pregnancy can feel exhausting and does take a lot out of your body. You’re handling the demands of children, your own body and growing a human from scratch in there – you need to make sure you take care of yourself as well!
Do you have any questions around nursing during pregnancy that you’d like answered? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to update the post accordingly!