When I found out that I was pregnant with Miss S and Cap’n M was still getting 75-85% of his diet from breastfeeding, thousands of questions entered my head, of course. Will my milk all dry up? Will he starve? Is it even safe for me to breastfeed during my pregnancy? Luckily, one of my close friends (and also my doula for this Miss S) helped me out by calming me down and sending me some research, so today I’m sharing some of my thoughts and some of what I learned about breastfeeding during pregnancy.
3 Simple Truths About Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
Is Breastfeeding During Pregnancy Safe?
This was my biggest concern. **trigger warning** I’ve suffered a pregnancy loss before, and I tend to have preemies, so safety during pregnancy is really important to me. The short answer is that more studies and research needs to be done, but everything we have so far points to breastfeeding during pregnancy to be perfectly safe. The long answer can be found here.
Breastfeeding does cause contractions, however, they are more similar to braxton hicks contractions than to anything that could actually cause labor to start prematurely. That said, because I have preemies, I am keeping an eye on it. We may stop nursing during my third trimester if I am contracting to regularly, but so far I haven’t even noticed any contractions so we’re good!
Why Would You Breastfeed Through Pregnancy?
There are a lot of reasons that women would want to continue breastfeeding through a pregnancy, and there are just as many reasons why women would want to wean as soon as the test turned positive. Ultimately, the length of time you spend nursing is a very personal decision.
With Cap’n M, we decided to continue because I was still very much a primary source of nutrition for him. Also, it’s been our goal to make it to 2 years old (as recommended by the WHO) and beyond that as long as he wanted to continue.
Plus breastfeeding is about much more than food. It’s also comfort, snuggles, bonding, immune boosting, and so much more. I didn’t want to cut all of those benefits out without a good reason.
Does Your Milk Dry Up When You Get Pregnant?
This one is debatable. Some women go through pregnancy with their full supply and after they have their baby they immediately have enough milk to comfortable tandem nurse without issue. Other women see a significant drop in supply around mid pregnancy which tends to come up towards the end when her body is preparing for a newborn.
For me? Cap’n M has been slowing down on breastfeeding at the same time that I’ve been getting more and more pregnant. I’m not sure if my supply has dropped because of pregnancy hormones or if it’s because Cap’n M went from nursing 6-8 times a day to once every few days, but my money’s on the latter.
Also, from my total anecdotal evidence of mama’s sharing their story, it seems to be that if your little one is 18 months or older when your supply drops (around month 5 of pregnancy) they are more likely to stick it out and continue nursing. If your little one is younger than 18 months, they see the drop in supply (or drying up) as a way to wean themselves.
This could be because under 18 months breastfeeding is more for the actual milk and after it’s more for comfort, but we don’t really know. Oh, and a fun side note, some friends who’ve nursed older children during pregnancy have found that their milk tastes different according to their little ones.
Ultimately, the decision whether you’ll be breastfeeding during pregnancy or not is a completely personal decision. If you love nursing and want to continue, go for it with confidence! If not, don’t feel guilty about weaning your little one!
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