November 06, 2009,
A.V. asks from Big Arm, MT on November 04, 2009
Nursing While Pregnant? - Big Arm,MT
Ok, Moms, I need some advice. I just found out we're pregnant with baby #2 (5wks), but am still nursing our 15 month old before bed each night. I was planning to continue to do this at least until the end of flu season in February. Now, I was wondering if nursing would take away any nutrients from the little one on the way. I haven't talked to my doctor yet about this. We just took the home test this morning. Any thoughts?
J.B. answers from Salt Lake City on November 05, 2009
I did it with my first. My husband kept telling me it wasn't okay-he is a doctor, but not in pediatrics or ob. So most of what I had read is that it was okay. So my daughter was about 14 months when I found out I was pregnant with my second and I went ahead a breastfed for about 2 more months-slowly weening her off in those two months. It is not a problem.
J.P. answers from Salt Lake City on November 05, 2009
If you ask your ob/gyn about it you are likely to get the advice to quit. I think it's simply a lack of complete understanding of nursing through the childbearing years. Here are some wonderful links that will start you on your own education about what is right for you and your babies. You can also find great resources here on the benefits of breastfeeding through two years of age.
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S.W. answers from Salt Lake City on November 05, 2009
It's definitely OK to breastfeed through a pregnancy. I'll echo the recommendations for the book "Adventures in Tandem Nursing," since it addresses this issue thoroughly and accurately. You could order it through llli.org or look up your local La Leche League contact there and call her--she probably has this book available to borrow for free. LLL is an awesome resource. Their Web site is big and comprehensive, and talking with a Leader or going to a meeting is fun and reassuring. You might also like the book "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler."
Studies have shown many mothers experience a drop in calcium while they are breastfeeding. As their babies gradually wean, they experience an intense "re-calcification" of their bones over the following year. There is no need to worry about calcium, beyond your normal healthy pregnancy efforts, and breastfeeding offers some protection against osteoporosis.
Some people have concerns about breastfeeding during pregnancy because they believe it can cause enough nipple stimulation to trigger pre-term labor or miscarriage. New research shows that is not accurate, except in extreme cases. It is safe for you to enjoy nursing your baby while you wait for another baby to join you.
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H.W. answers from Denver on November 05, 2009
Congratulations! Everything everyone else mentioned is right on. The Adventures in Tandem Nursing has been my support, in addition to my La Leche League group. I am four months pregnant. When we found out, my son was still nursing numerous times a day. He has weaned to nursing only 1-3 times per day most days. He can't get the flu shot due to egg allergies, so I, too, am hoping to get us through flu season.
Sore nipples have been a hurdle for me, but knowing what my reasons are for continuing to provide this to my son keep me going, much like overcoming obstacles in the early breastfeeding relationship.
There are many benefits to continuing to nurse the older one, if you wish to, with the second one. One is that the older can help with engorgement issues early on. The other, more important one to my mind, is the reports of there being a closer sibling relationship and bonding, as the older child still gets bonding time with mom while nursing and doesn't feel as "displaced".
There was also an excellent article in Mothering magazine maybe three issues back titled "Unweaning Georgia" about a mom whose 3 yo had weaned before the baby, but there were so many issues after the baby mom decided to try nursing the older sibling again, and the relationships all improved immediately.
I have found it more important to set limits for myself and respect my body. I have been more tired and nauseaus this time around, so have been taking frequent rest breaks, or even resuming the early habit of sleep when the baby sleeps, meaning taking naps if/when he does and going to bed some nights at 7:30 right after him. Exercise has also helped, which I wasn't doing consistently before getting pregnant. Eating food, let alone healthy food, was an issue first trimester, but now that the nausea is going away, I'm finding it easier to resume previously better eating habits.
Good luck in your pregancy and nursing relationship.
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J.P. answers from Boise on November 05, 2009
The only cons I have heard is that as your breast get sore, it can get really painful, also, if you don't plan on tandem nursing, you may want to work on weaning now, so that your son doesn't associate weaning with the new baby. Also, a friend told me that weaning her first fairly early in her pregnancy gave her a chance to have her body back for just a little while before having her next. (Her husband liked that part).
C.H. answers from Salt Lake City on November 05, 2009
I would talk to your doctor about it, but mine told me that it did indeed take nutrients away from the little womb-bound one. She told me I'd have to eat a LOT to get the nutrients for BOTH babies and myself. I stopped nursing. My son was only 24 weeks old when I found out I was pregnant with our third.
A.P. answers from Pocatello on November 05, 2009
Congratulations on yor new baby! It is generally considered safe to continue breastfeeding while pregnant, but often doctors may be unaware. Unless the previous pregnancy had specific high risk issues, it's a "go." Nipple stimulation is the usual excuse given for not breastfeeding. Unless a mother has miscarried three times while breastfeeding, it is not considered "linked." Some moms do notice a few contractions, but these are considered safe and mild for most moms. Milk generally dries up sometimes by the 3rd month, so natural weaning by the older baby is usually in process by the birth. Good luck!
S.L. answers from Boise on November 05, 2009
My friend has her kids really close together (her babies were much younger than yours), and she always tried to keep nursing while she was pregnant. She didn't have much success because the babies decided to quit. She figured it was the change in taste.
I always worried about HER getting the nutrients! She stayed on top of taking her vitamins, etc., because she was nursing or pregnant for many years in a row, with no break! I think the mother's body is the one that sacrifices.
A.S. answers from Salt Lake City on November 06, 2009
I nursed my daughter while I was pregnant. The fetus gets what it needs first, before you or the nursing child. Keep it up, and don't feel like you are doing anything that can harm either child!