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Breastfeeding While Pregnant & Tandem Nursing
~ A Message Board Archive
My daughter is 15 months old, and I just found out that I am pregnant. She is still breastfed, and I don't think she will give it up for a while. Is this safe for my unborn baby? Will my milk change back in time for the new baby to breastfeed? ~ Jamie
Hi Jamie, I can give you my experience, though I am sure yours will be quite different! I had a nearly 2 year old when I found myself pregnant with my sweet Sean. I was still nursing the toddler and continued to do so through out the pregnancy. I took extra vitamins, drank extra fluid, and all went quite well! The milk nearly dried up at 3-4 months, but that didn't seem to phase the toddler much and when it switched over to colostrum, he was in seventh heaven! He looked up at me with those sweet blue eyes and said "mmmm good milk mommy!" I am thankful that I did continue nursing throughout, as the baby had a severe birth defect and was unable to nurse for seven weeks. If not for my nursing toddler, I would likely have dried up, as it was a very stressful time with little time left for pumping (though I did manage to get a good supply set aside!).
Some doctors will say you should wean immediately, others don't really care either way. If you had a problem with pre-term labor in your previous pregnancy, you should be careful and make sure to drink lots of water as nursing can occasionally start contractions. I did have pre-term labor with my special baby, though I drank a lot of water. The nursing did not seem to affect contractions, so I was able to continue throughout.
My toddler felt really good about being able to help make milk for "baby Sean." And when we came home and the baby was nursing, they took turns, and later they ended up each with their own side. IT was pretty weird, or should I say I looked pretty weird! One side was a lot bigger than the other as my older boy only nursed at nap and bedtime while the baby was nursing a whole lot more often than that! Eventually because of surgery and other things, the baby stopped nursing all together, a very sad time for me, but I am so thankful that my older boy was able to nurse and it really helped both of us through some tough emotional times (I was at the hospital for 6 weeks with the baby, and nursed the toddler when he came to visit . . . kept us in touch in a very special loving way).
I think one of the things that helped was that he saw other little babies nursing before his baby was born . . . we talked about how babies eat and that his baby would be able to eat (drink!) mommy milk the same way that he did. He was able to eat real big people food while the baby could only have mommy milk. On those one or two occasions when he seemed to need a bit more caretaking, I just nursed them both at the same time! The great thing about nursing is that it is supply and demand, the more sucking the more milk you produce. And, if you do try both at once, when you switch sides with the baby, he/she will get that good rich hind milk which has more calories and stuff in it (plus as long as the older child nurses, she will get those good antibodies you produce helping to keep her from getting sick!). Take care, and holler if I can help! ~ Heidi
Hi Jamie! Trevor was 17 months or so when I became pregnant with Anna. By 20 months, he weaned himself. I admit that I did try and persuade him not to nurse at 3 am anymore; I needed my sleep! (He wasn't sleeping the night until he weaned at 20 months) But I wasn't stopping him from any other time; he just lost interest as my milk changed. I will also admit I was very concerned about nursing two. I think for those it works for, fantastic. And if Trevor had continued, I probably would have, though the pressure from my family and others would have been too much for me. I know how they are; they all wanted him weaned by 12 months. I had only one friend who supported tandem nursing. I commend you for your choice to continue, but do be aware baby doesn't always want to. Congratulations on your pregnancy!!!! ~ Leigh
I have been breastfeeding for six years, I have three children and have been breastfeeding since our oldest was born. I tandem nursed for a little over a year when our second son was born and am tandem nursing now with our 3.7 year old and our 4 month old daughter. I nursed through two pregnancies, my milk diminished and then the colostrum came in a few weeks before baby was born. If you are considering tandem nursing read Adventures of Tandem Nursing. I have three healthy children and have had a great experience! ~ Mommy to 3
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