As if you needed any more reason to believe that the female body is incredible, here we are talking about breastfeeding while pregnant!
For some mamas, it’s always been the plan. But for others, maybe baby #2 is coming along a bit sooner than expected, and you’re wondering what the rules are around breastfeeding while pregnant.
If you’re having a successful breastfeeding journey, you might not be inclined to wean just yet, but want to know whether it’s safe for you, and your babies, to carry on nursing.
Well, wonder no more. We’re here to answer all your questions about pregnant breastfeeding and what the journey might look like for you.
In this article: 📝
- Can you breastfeed while pregnant?
- Is it OK to breastfeed while pregnant?
- Can breastfeeding cause miscarriage in early pregnancy?
- When should I stop breastfeeding during pregnancy?
- How long can you nurse while pregnant?
- Breastfeeding while pregnant milk supply
Can you breastfeed while pregnant?
So, can you breastfeed while pregnant?
You sure can, mama.
It’s completely okay to continue breastfeeding your baby or toddler as long as it is what you want to do, it feels comfortable for you, and you’re medically safe to do so.
If you decide not to breastfeed while pregnant, and your child is older than 12 months, you may be ready to wean off nursing and bottles entirely.
If your child is less than a year old, it might be time to make the switch to formula. Remember, breastmilk or formula should remain their primary source of nutrition until 12 months of age.
Is it OK to breastfeed while pregnant?
Only you can decide what’s best for you and your family and whether it’s OK for you to continue breastfeeding throughout your pregnancy.
Breastfeeding while pregnant can place a heavy demand on you physically.
Ensuring you’re eating plenty, staying hydrated, and resting as much as possible will mean you’re in the best shape to continue providing nutrition and comfort for all your babies, born and unborn.
If you’re planning to breastfeed through pregnancy, talk to your doctor to make sure there’s no medical reason why you shouldn’t (more on that later…)
Can breastfeeding cause miscarriage in early pregnancy?
Breastfeeding can trigger mild contractions, since the hormone that stimulates your milk ducts to eject milk ‒ oxytocin ‒is also responsible for promoting uterine contractions in labor.
However, this is not linked to an increased risk of miscarriage in the first trimester or later in pregnancy.
When should I stop breastfeeding during pregnancy?
Talk to your doctor about continuing to breastfeed while pregnant to rule out any reason not to.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, are carrying twins or other multiples, or have a history of preterm births, your doctor might recommend you wean your older child off the breast.
How long can you nurse while pregnant?
You can continue right up until you birth your baby, if you’re able to.
But even if there’s no medical reason to stop breastfeeding while pregnant, changes to your body during your pregnancy can make nursing downright uncomfortable.
Your growing belly and other pregnancy symptoms like nausea and muscle aches can make it difficult for you and your breastfeeding child to get comfortable enough to feed.
Nipple tenderness, which is common in pregnancy, can make breastfeeding painful and stressful, too. There’s no right or wrong here.
Breastfeeding while pregnant milk supply
Breastmilk supply tends to decrease the further through pregnancy you go, so you may find your breastfeeding child starts noticing a change around the four- to five-month mark.
If your baby is younger than 12 months and you suspect you’re not making enough milk for them anymore, talk to your pediatrician about possibly supplementing with formula.
Your breastmilk might also start to taste different, and these changes can mean your breastfeeding child naturally weans themselves off the breast.
Others won’t mind the changes and continue to feed as normal.
When your colostrum starts to develop in preparation for the new baby, you might notice your breastfeeding child’s poop becomes more frequent and watery, as colostrum is a natural laxative.
Offering water alongside their feeds will ensure they don’t become dehydrated.
So what happens after the new baby is born?
Some mamas will choose to breastfeed both their toddler and newborn, which is called tandem feeding.
Your milk supply will naturally adapt to provide enough for you to breastfeed both children for as long as you want. Ah-mazing!
💡 More from The 411:
7 Breastfeeding Positions to Try
20 Breastfeeding Tips for New Mamas
What is the Best Breastfeeding Diet?
Breast Milk Storage Tips
Your Breasts after Breastfeeding: What’s normal?
10 Foods to Increase Milk Supply
How Many Burp Cloths Do I Need?
Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?
How to Sleep When Pregnant
Can You Donate Blood While Pregnant?
A Guide to Using a Heating Pad While Pregnant
How to Stop Breastfeeding (When You’re Ready)