The Safety of Breastfeeding during Pregnancy
Women who find out that they are pregnant while still breastfeeding always worry about it. This is because breastfeeding can cause mild uterine contractions, but these should not be a concern for a healthy pregnancy. The contractions do not cause preterm labor.
The contractions are caused by the hormone oxytocin which is released during breastfeeding. Despite the hormone stimulating contractions, it is produced in small amounts, insufficient to cause preterm labor.
Furthermore, the contractions are harmless to your unborn child and rarely increase the chances of a miscarriage. There are also pregnancy hormones which pass into your milk, but they pose no risk to your breastfeeding child.
When to wean your child from breastfeeding while pregnant
Breastfeeding during pregnancy is generally considered safe. Nevertheless, there are situations when weaning is advisable. Such situations include:
- If you have a high-risk pregnancy
- If you are have a high risk for preterm labor
- If you are carrying twins
- If you have been advised to avoid sex in pregnancy
- If you are bleeding during pregnancy or you have uterine pain
In the event that you experience these symptoms, it is best to talk to your doctor to determine whether weaning is a plausible option. Remember there are 3 people to consider in your decision: you, your nursing child and your unborn child.
Your child’s readiness
Before you think about weaning, consider your child’s personality and psychological and physical response to your pregnancy. During the fourth and fifth months of pregnancy, breast milk significantly reduces. As a result, the milk becomes distasteful to your child and he/she becomes ready for weaning. However, your child’s attachment to breastfeeding may hinder you from weaning him/her.
Children who are six months and below and are exclusively breastfed should be closely monitored. You may require additional feedings for proper nourishment of your infant. As you continuously reduce your milk supply, your baby can get used to other foods more than breast milk.
There is really no problem with breastfeeding during pregnancy. It is beneficial yet it has its own challenges. Some of these challenges include:
- Nausea due to the let-down milk
- Sore nipples
- You should not be afraid that breastfeeding will add on to your fatigue because it is not tiring. You can sit down while breastfeeding to help you get the extra rest you need.
Focus your attention on something else other than the discomfort you are going through. This will help you alleviate the discomfort. Concentrating too much on the sore nipples and nausea will take a toll on your mental and physical energy.
Eating well during breastfeeding
Lastly, if you decide on breastfeeding during pregnancy, don’t forget to eat well. Your health and that of your nursing and unborn child depend on your nutrition. You will need some supplemental calories, 350 during the second trimester and 450 during the third trimester. The first trimester does not require any additional calories.
Your decision on breastfeeding during pregnancy should be based on your relationships and feelings. You must consider your feelings, those of your nursing child and those of your unborn child. Leave your options open depending on the situation. The ultimate decision lies with you.
Have you announced your pregnancy yet?
If not, here are a few creative ideas for pregnancy announcement: