[Disclaimer: Before continuing breastfeeding during pregnancy, please consult your doctor, your midwife, or a Lactation Consultant. While breastfeeding during pregnancy is normally fine, every mother/child pairing should be evaluated for any potential complications.]
I’m still breastfeeding while pregnant. I’m 5 months pregnant so it’s a bit obvious now to the general public that that’s what I’m doing. Although, the general public says nothing whatsoever. Most people here could care less. My friends, on the other hand, seem astounded. Well…maybe just one.
In the past, one particular friend has asked me if I still breastfed my son. This occurred when he was about a year old while I was newly pregnant. Not too long ago, we went and visited her again, and she made the assumption that we had weaned. “You’ve stopped breastfeeding, right? I mean you’re pregnant,” she asked after we were talking about her pumping still.
“Nope. We’re still breastfeeding,” I replied followed by a demonstration.
“When are you planning on weaning him,” she inquired.
“I’m not. I mean whenever he decides he wants to stop,” I said.
“But doesn’t that mean he’s going to just keep going until age 7,” she laughed.
“Actually, historically and biologically children don’t usually wean until age 3 to 8,” I explained which was followed by a gasp. “In Africa, for example, they still breastfeed their children that long.”
“But that’s Africa, they don’t exactly have food,” her husband interjected.
“Sure in the US we have good nutrition so yeah, it’s not necessary,” I said. Then the conversation turned to something else.
It’s happened; I am now an oddity. If I lived in Africa, a pregnant, breastfeeding-a-toddler-still mom would not be looked at so funny. However, here in the United States, I’m strange. Oh, well.
My husband and I have talked about this before. He’s perfectly fine with what I’m doing. In fact, my friend and my husband (and myself actually) are very interested in what’s going to happen when I tandem nurse. There are some benefits to tandem nursing, but that’s another post. Suffices to say that while I’m an oddity, I’m also interesting.
For those who want to know about breastfeeding while pregnant, I’ll repeat some of the things that I’ve said before. It’s perfectly fine as long as you don’t normally or are currently not experiencing pregnancy complications. Yes, the uterus still contracts, but it doesn’t hurt the baby. My 2nd son is 5 months gestation and appears normal in his ultrasound. Milk production changes. Usually, you have less of a supply, and the milk turns clear in color. Towards the end of the third trimester, you’re milk will turn into colostrum again. This can cause your older child to temporarily or permanently wean, but not always. Breastfeeding while pregnant is sometimes painful for your nipples. For me, I find it initially is uncomfortable, similar to a nip from teeth, but that immediately subsides. Other mothers complain of something similar.
In other words, it’s perfectly fine, normal in fact, to breastfeed while pregnant.
Article by Laura Weirich
Laura Weirich has been married for four years and has two sons. She's been breastfeeding for nearly two years and currently tandem nurses her toddler and infant. A big proponent of breastfeeding, she's been educating her friends and family about the benefits of breastfeeding and helping other women along the way. When she's not nursing, she chases a toddler all day, washes cloth diapers, tries to catch a few zs and reads up on the latest research about children.
Laura has written 33 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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