You have a five months old baby and then you discover that you are pregnant……..
Is it safe to breastfeed while pregnant? Amid the confusion and disbelief of the newly discovered pregnancy, mothers often wonder if they should still continue breastfeeding their babies during the pregnancy or if they should stop. Many mothers who get pregnant while still breastfeeding have concerns on whether breastfeeding will be safe for their unborn babies. According to experts, breastfeeding while pregnant is completely safe. It can even go on after the baby is born in what is known as tandem breastfeeding.
However, a breastfeeding mum-to-be should be ready to deal with a number of issues. First, pregnancy may cause the nipples to be highly sensitive due to hormonal changes in the body. This may make it uncomfortable to nurse a hungry toddler who may sometimes suckle hard. In addition, there is likelihood of milk reduction. As the mother, one has to be careful to have a healthy balanced diet to sufficiently feed the toddler and the unborn baby. It is also important to increase the protein servings to four per day and to have at least six servings of calcium to boost milk production and be adequate for fetal development. Mothers also need to remember to increase water intake to avoid dehydration.
Towards the end of a woman’s second trimester, breast milk becomes colostral, which is a thick and yellowish type of milk produced during pregnancy and the first days after birth. This type of breast milk may taste different and the toddler may refuse to breastfeed. If this happens, the mother may seek alternative feeding options for the toddler or start by introducing formula if the toddler is young. It is important to select good quality formula and baby feeds from a trusted brand.
Another concern for a breastfeeding pregnant woman would be the risk of early labor. When one is breastfeeding, the hormone oxytocin is produced to stimulate milk production. However, the hormone also plays a role in contractions during labor. As a result, normal contractions during pregnancy may be stronger for a woman who is breastfeeding. One needs to be careful about this and assess the potential risk. Any mothers who may have a previous history of early labor or miscarriage is advised not to breastfeed while pregnant.
Before a mother decides to breastfeed while pregnant, it is important to consult with a medical practitioner to establish whether it is safe for both the breast feeding baby and the unborn one. Mothers need to assess from an informed perspective on what is best and knowing that one is doing what is best for both babies, will be fulfilling.