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Finding out you’re pregnant while you’re still breastfeeding can confuse a lot of mothers, partly due to how important hormones are when it comes to both of these things. This creates confusion and makes mothers question what will happen next and whether or not they’re about to experience a lot of change. Many even think now is the time to stop.
Breastfeeding while pregnant is natural and often the choice for many mothers and their infants. Milk doesn’t just stop being produced when you see those two blue lines. In fact, breastfeeding can be done for the entire pregnancy and beyond. However, it can feel “different” at times with some side effects which wouldn’t happen to a mother who isn’t breastfeeding. There can be some changes on the horizon and in this article helps to illustrate what kinds of changes can happen for a breastfeeding mum who’s pregnant and how these can impact your child.
Side effects of breastfeeding while pregnant
Sore nipples are more of a side effect of pregnancy, but when you’re breastfeeding it can make them even sorer which can be really painful and uncomfortable depending on how often your baby is nursing. There are some creams which can help but unfortunately, it is a situation which will often be ever-present due to the physiological changes your body is going through during the pregnancy.
Being pregnant takes your energy away from you as does breastfeeding, doing both at the same time and especially towards the second and third trimester can make expectant mothers very tired. If you’re going to breastfeed while pregnant then expect a lot of early nights and constant feelings of exhaustion at all times. It is important for all mothers during pregnancy to rest whenever they can, eat well and look after themselves to help manage the fatigue as much as possible. A solid support network can be vital here.
Although nausea is a completely normal side effect of pregnancy hormones, it can be somewhat worse for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding because they can be more tired than usual. Once again, our advice to combat this side effect is to try and relax and rest as much as possible, eat well and not overdo it.
Irritability is a culmination of all side effects of both pregnancy and breastfeeding during pregnancy. The sore nipples, morning sickness, nausea, lack of sleep and pregnancy hormones all combine to make mum feel under the weather and understandably grouchy. It’s important to support an expectant mother more than ever when there’s already a child in the mix and they’re still receiving breastmilk. It’s hard to prepare to not be irritable and it’s impossible to not be consumed by its effects but try to explain to your support group this can happen, find and accept any help you can get to rest and be sure to apologise if your irritability spills over too much!
Change in the milk
Towards mid-pregnancy, mothers produce noticeably less milk before the milk slowly turns into colostrum. During this time, depending on how frequently you are feeding they may become more frustrated with a lack of milk and gradually naturally wean off it. To some, this is a favourable outcome so they can only focus on the newborn’s breastfeeding requirements. If you cosleep with your older child not being dependant on the breast can help transition them into their own bed.
From month 4 to month 8 of pregnancy, the mother’s mature milk will become colostrum instead, which is a highly concentrated orange milk well suited to feed a newborn. Your older child may not like the change and stop feeding or in some cases, they may even enjoy it.
For pregnant mothers who are not currently breastfeeding this doesn’t happen as there is no mature milk, to begin with, the body will simply start to make the colostrum.
The ability to be able to do this is just another little fact which shows just how amazing and adaptable the human body really is.
Summary – Will I hate breastfeeding while pregnant?
Breastfeeding during pregnancy certainly has it’s challenging experiences for the mother but the child will still continue to get all the benefits of being breastfed throughout. Whether you want to continue or stop the journey during pregnancy is a personal choice, a choice which is made easier by certain factors, such as:
- The severity of the side effects
- Age of the nursing child – most breastfeeding experts would say 2 years should be the minimum for maximum benefits
- Do you have a good support structure around you to cope with the changes?
- Do you co-sleep? Does the baby fall asleep at the breast?
- Have you been thinking about stopping breastfeeding and can use this change as a kick up the arse?
At times, it will be uncomfortable but it won’t be forever. We always feel the mother’s instincts are always right so do whatever feels best for you and your child.
Should I stop breastfeeding while pregnant?
This is a personal choice to make and we hope this article helps you to decide whether or not you want to carry on or not with your current nursing child. However, there’s nothing that stops you from doing so – breastfeeding while pregnant poses no health risk to the mother, nursing child or the unborn baby. In fact, many would argue that in the natural world to continue to breastfeed while pregnant is the normal thing to do. At the end of the day, the mother’s body still produces milk which should be a sign that the body is ready to continue.
Is it OK to breastfeed while pregnant?
It is perfect OK to breastfeed while pregnant but there are some changes and side effects to prepare for. Read the full article to find out more about these.
Can breastfeeding while pregnant cause miscarriage?
There is no conclusive evidence that breastfeeding while pregnant poses any risk of miscarriage.