Breastfeeding while pregnant or pregnancy while breastfeeding? The wording does not matter. And yet these are two different approaches to the issue.
Pregnancy While Breastfeeding
Pregnancy while breastfeeding often occurs when the eldest child is under the age of 1 year. Supplementary food may not even be introduced at this age. Therefore, it is quite obvious that the child still needs mother’s breast and her arms. It is vital for them. So, it turns out that raising the elder child is more important. But how can one child be more important than the other one? Yet, the practice shows that in the situation when the second baby is still in the womb the mother involuntary, subconsciously faces the choice. It’s impossible to say whether it is right or wrong. Mother’s behavior is dictated here by the instincts of saving the offspring.
In this situation, a mother should know that breastfeeding while pregnant is possible. It is even necessary. What’s more, it is quite possible to breastfeed two babies at the same time.
It should be noted that sometimes there are situations when the mother has to stop breastfeeding while pregnant. These situations are caused by the danger of maintaining the pregnancy. Yet, there is no reliable statistics and scientific evidence that breastfeeding while pregnant is always dangerous for the mom and the fetus. So, it’s up to parents to decide when and why to stop breastfeeding.
Also, there is an opinion that through breastfeeding the baby gets information about the birth of new life under their mother’s heart. It would be wrong to interrupt this invisible connection. Subsequently, this may change the relationships between siblings. A child’s mind is extremely fragile and hard for adults to understand. That’s why we can’t say with certainty that such a sudden “disappearance” of a younger brother or sister will pass for the elder child without a trace.
Breastfeeding While Pregnant
The second approach to breastfeeding while pregnant often occurs when the elder baby is more than 2,5 -3 years old. It’s not that it becomes more important for a mother to give birth to the second child than to feed her first one. At this stage, it becomes obvious that the elder baby does not need mother’s milk so bad. So, parents may start weaning. But, in any case, weaning should proceed smoothly. That’s why the mother will probably still have to breastfeed while pregnant for a couple of months. It’s good if the weaning takes place 2-3 months before the birth. The elder child will easily get used to the idea that breastfeeding now is only for a smaller one. What’s more, they will probably not be able to suck the breast physically. The grown-up kids forget this skill very fast.
It’s extremely important here to make sure that psychologically nothing but the stopping of breastfeeding has changed. After all, the elder child still needs their mother. They want to be with her as often as they were before. And they still need to feel that they are loved and nothing has changed with the birth of the second baby.
Following recommendations of doctors and psychologists, many women continue to breastfeed up to 2-3 years. With the beginning of a new pregnancy, it is necessary to consider all the pros and cons of continuing breastfeeding. If the pregnancy develops safely and the mother has an opportunity to fully eat and rest, then there are no medical contraindications to breastfeeding. In many respects, the burden on the mother depends on the age difference between children, the frequency of breast applications of the elder child, and the number of assistants a pregnant mom has.
Should You Plan Tandem Breastfeeding in Advance?
Experts do not recommend planning children born a year apart and tandem breastfeeding. Tandem here is simultaneous breastfeeding of children of different ages. In general, a woman needs a break of 3-3,5 years between pregnancies, on the average, to fully recover. Still, if the second pregnancy occurs earlier tandem breastfeeding can be a good choice. The elder child does not suddenly become an “adult” just because they now have a younger brother or sister. Mother’s milk and communication with her through breast attachments are still very necessary and important. For some mothers, tandem breastfeeding can be too complicated. In such a situation the mother will have to wean the elder child.
Specialists claim that tandem breastfeeding is a possible option in a difficult situation but it is hardly worthwhile creating this situation intentionally.
How Will the Quality of Milk Change After the Birth of the Second Baby?
The organism of the nursing mother is oriented precisely to the born baby. So, after the birth, colostrum will come as usual, and only when the baby is ready to take other food milk will come. If the elder child is fed only from time to time, then do not worry that the newborn will receive less colostrum or milk. But if the elder one is applied often enough it is recommended that each of the children select “their own breast”. Also, do not restrict the stay of the youngest child at the breast.
What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?
Breast milk remains beneficial and necessary for a child at the second and third years of life. Do not forget about the psychological component of breastfeeding. This unique way of communicating with their mother is really important for children in the first years of life. The younger the elder child is the more important for them the preservation of breastfeeding is. Therefore, if the difference between children is less than two years it is highly desirable to preserve breastfeeding and try tandem feeding. With older children, tandem feeding can help to cope with jealousy and to facilitate care for both.
How to Wean the Baby from the Breast?
The most important thing is to avoid violent actions and drastic changes. If the mother realizes that the load on her is too great or the doctors advise stopping the feeding to save the pregnancy the mom can gently wean the elder child from the breast, systematically reducing the duration and number of attachments. It is better to avoid such methods as “leaving the baby”, “smearing your breast with something bitter”, and other methods of abrupt stopping of the feeding. This can lead to lactostasis in the mother and unnecessary stress in the child suddenly separated from the mother. If necessary, the feeding of the elder child can be resumed after the birth of the second baby.
Is There Enough Nutrients for the Second Child, if During Pregnancy Mom Keeps on Breastfeeding the First One?
With a normally developing pregnancy, lactation will not be a hindrance. However, the woman should remember that nature aims, first of all, at protection of the weakest link in the chain “mother – baby – fetus”.
This means that all the resources of the female body will first be directed to the development and growth of the future baby, then to the nutrition of the already born child, and, lastly, to the woman herself. Therefore, before planning a pregnancy while breastfeeding, you need to make sure that you’ll be able to cope with it. A nursing woman pregnant with another child should rest and eat three times more than before.
Breastfeeding while pregnant is an additional burden on the mother’s body. The more often the elder child is attached to the breast the more resources are spent on the production of milk. The food should be high-grade. The mother’s diet must include animal proteins and fats and a large number of fresh vegetables and fruit. If there is a need the use of food and vitamin supplements is possible after consultation with a doctor. With a reasonably organized diet, rest, sleep and walks, the children and their mother will have enough energy and nutrients.
What Are the Main Features of Breastfeeding While Pregnant?
Mothers who have gone through this often note the following:
- The sensitivity of the nipples and soreness of the breast. Hormonal changes in the body on the background of pregnancy can cause sudden attacks of pain in the nipples or breasts. The usual remedies for this pain or correction of application are often ineffective;
- Tiredness and fatigue. Early pregnancy hormones often cause drowsiness in women, although it is hard for a mother to make time to take a nap. Fatigue, in this case, is associated with hormonal changes in pregnancy rather than with continued breastfeeding. Usually, it decreases as pregnancy progresses. A pregnant woman with a small child (no matter whether she is breastfeeding or not) needs to have time to rest when the child is asleep;
- The decrease in the number of feedings and the amount of milk production. About 70% of moms say that the amount of milk has decreased during their subsequent pregnancy. The majority of children at the time of new pregnancy suck not so often as in infancy. As the duration of pregnancy increases, the amount of milk usually reduces. Sometimes children are weaned during this period. If the baby is already able to speak they can complain that “milk is gone” or “it pours too slowly”;
- The difficulty with choosing a position for feeding. At the last stages of pregnancy, the mother’s belly can be so big that it becomes difficult for a child to get to the breast. In this case, you can experiment with feeding the child in a variety of poses. If a grown-up baby is determined to continue to apply to the breast, then they will certainly be able to find a way to do it.
Pay Special Attention to the Following:
- Changes in the taste of milk. As pregnancy hormones begin to affect the glandular tissue of the breast, the amount of lactose in milk decreases, and the amount of sodium increases, changing the taste of milk. “Talking babies” can clearly explain what milk is like or just show by gestures that it is not the same as it used to be;
- Uterine contractions. Women may experience uterine contractions during breastfeeding. However, there is no documented risk for the mother or fetus because of the fact that the mother continues to breastfeed during a healthy, normal pregnancy not complicated by the threat of premature birth. However, if the contractions become painful or regular you should immediately consult a doctor!
To sum up, it should be noted that if the mother chooses to continue breastfeeding while pregnant, then she has two options for further development. The first option is the completion of breastfeeding which often occurs closer to the end of pregnancy if there are no medical or other contraindications. The second option is tandem breastfeeding – feeding a newborn and the elder child at the same time.
Breastfeeding while pregnant is a serious issue. In this situation, a woman needs to consult a doctor. However, a mother needs to take into account the interests of both children. The baby born first needs mother’s attention and milk just like the second child. All children during the first three years of their life need mother’s milk. They need the opportunity to be applied to the breast. They also need mother’s hands and a lot of her attention. Regardless of the age difference between children, the mother must try to make sure that both children receive everything they need.