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Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

If you’re breastfeeding your child and you become pregnant, there’s no reason to wean the older child immediately, unless you want to. It is possible to continue to breastfeed while you’re pregnant.

When you’re pregnant and breastfeeding, you’ll need to get plenty of rest. In fact, breastfeeding time is a great time to take a break and rest, even as you’re feeding your older child. You’ll also need to be sure to eat a healthy diet and consume enough calories. You will – after all – be eating for three.

It’s also especially important for you to stay hydrated. You’ll experience more frequent urination in early pregnancy as your blood volume begins to build and your uterus begins to press against your bladder. Make sure to offset this increased urination with plenty of fluid intake. It’s also important to avoid beverages with caffeine, as they tend to cause you to become dehydrated.

In the fourth or fifth month of your pregnancy, you may experience a decrease in breastmilk production. If your child is old enough, you may want to consider weaning at this point, but there’s no reason you must. The La Leche League suggests a gentle “don't offer, don't refuse” approach. For example, you might offer a distraction or snack at times when your child would usually nurse. Be sure to provide plenty of physical contact, including hugs and kisses to help your child cope with these changes. But again, there’s no reason you have to wean your older child at this time. Even if you do wean your child, they may want to breastfeed again when they see the new baby nursing. You can let them nurse at this time or offer them breastmilk in a cup.

As your tummy grows during pregnancy, you may need to find different positions for nursing your older child. Your older child will probably be an accomplished nurser at this point and will be able to successfully latch on in a variety of positions.

The only time when breastfeeding is contraindicated during pregnancy is when the mother has a history of miscarriages or has previously had a premature baby. For these women, the uterus may be especially sensitive to uterine contractions and to the hormones produced during breastfeeding. There is, however, no medical evidence that indicates that other women are more predisposed to miscarriage or preterm delivery if they continue to breastfeed while pregnant. In fact, the uterine contractions experienced during breastfeeding are similar to the uterine contractions experienced during sexual intercourse and orgasm.

As you near the end of your pregnancy – or even as early as the fourth month – your milk will begin to change to colostrum. Some women have even noted that during the last month of their pregnancies, their milk is mostly colostrum. Your older child may not like this change or may not notice it at all. There is, again, no reason to stop nursing. The colostrum is still healthy for your older child and your body will continue to produce it until after your new baby is born.

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