So you just found out you are pregnant but you are still breastfeeding or you are trying to get pregnant and are still breastfeeding. And you are filled with so many questions.
- Can I get pregnant while breastfeeding?
- Can I actually breastfeed while pregnant?
- Will if effect the baby?
- How will I feel?
- What will people say?
- What do I say to my doctor?
- What is tandem nursing?
I know when I found out I was pregnant and my oldest was only 10 months I had so many questions. And not only did those around me not only didn’t breastfeed but didn’t understand why I would want to continue.
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Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
If you need support because no one else around is supportive of your choice please do not hesitate to reach out to me! I am more then willing to be that support.
Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding?
The short answer is yes, you can and if it is not something you are wanting then you need to take the same precautions as you would if you weren’t breastfeeding. It is true that in the first 6 months breastfeeding feeding can stop you from ovulation. Which is one of the amazing benefits of breastfeeding for moms. But if you are not exclusively breastfeeding and breastfeeding through the night this won’t ring true. Also you can most certainly catch your first ovulation and get pregnant before your period ever returns.
Your safest bet in not getting pregnant while breastfeeding is to use some sort of contraceptive. Whether your family chooses birth control, iud, or condoms you need to play it safe if you are not wanting your kids close in age. And no hate to burst your bubble the “pull out method” is not a safe bet! Sorry guys it just isn’t.
Once your period returns it will not always be back to normal. Your cycle may be longer or you may skip a month altogether as your hormones are still up and down. That is normal and can totally freak you out, or if you are trying can be a total let down.
And that change of hormones can do a number on your emotions. When I got my first period I was more emotional then I have ever been. I cried on and off for days and over the weirdest stuff. A song on the radio, a music video, any emotional video on Facebook happy or sad I would cry and then when I thought about them I would cry again!
Oh what a joy right!
Can you breastfeed during pregnancy?
When I was pregnant with my second I knew I wanted a VBAC and because of that I was going to have to switch hospitals because the one I delivered at with my oldest didn’t allow VBACs but I was high risk after having 3 miscarriages before my first and I took progestrone and I wanted to make sure all was good before I made it in to the new doctor.
Upon arrival and telling the nurse I was still breastfeeding she imiedetaly told me I had to stop and now, and when I said I had done my research and that was not the case she left the room and brought in another nurse to tell me the same thing and then said “see I told you.”
I was frustrated and sad and rather happy I would be switching OB’s. While the OB herself didn’t say I needed to stop I was angry with the nurses who felt they needed to gang up on me.
So what happened at the new doctor office? They told me I was amazing for continuing to breastfeed and that studies have shown it doesn’t effect anything but to make sure I get enough calories to keep up.
Our bodies are amazing and that sweet little peanut in your belly will get the first pick of the nutrients and then your body will try to keep up with breast milk and last will come you. So you must take care of yourself, take some vitamins especially D and calcium and eat a healthy variety of fruit, veggies, and protein.
Related Post: Healthy Breastfeeding Snacks
Don’t be surprised if your milk dries up and your oldest dry nurses. Your hormones change during pregnancy and often times won’t produce milk any more or your supply will drastically drop. If your oldest is not old enough for just food you will need to supplement to keep them healthy.
This drop in supply can happen at 8 weeks for not until the second trimester. Then often during the 3rd trimester colostrum starts but this is just a small amount. I had some milk through my whole pregnancy but not a lot.
Some children will wean when the supply drops or when your milk switches because the taste is different. This isn’t to say they won’t want to nurse again when baby comes. Or maybe they will be done. My oldest never stopped and when baby came she might have nursed more than the baby.
Related post: Tandem Nursing: My Journey
Some doctors are uncomfortable with you breastfeeding while pregnant due to the chance of early labor because breastfeeding stimulates a release of the same hormone that starts labor, but your body is already so use to the small amount of oxytocin.
I had some irritable uterus starting at 32 weeks which means every few minutes I was having little contractions. They were annoying but weren’t doing any dilating. I was so worried he would say I need to stop nursing, but he just said we don’t know why it happens but it does sometimes! I was so relieved when he said this and I wasn’t going to have to put up a fight.
My advice is to read and do your own research. And remember the doctor works for you if you are not happy then don’t be afraid to speak up.
How will I feel while pregnant and breastfeeding?
I won’t lie to you breastfeeding during pregnancy is exhausting!!!
Dealing with nausea while caring for a baby or young toddler is hard work. Nursing through that nausea is not easy. You just want to lay down, but you have a child who needs you.
Then you have to deal with nursing aversion. If you have never heard of nursing aversion it is a feeling of anger or touched out when you are breastfeeding. Sometimes it makes your skin crawl and other times it just causes an anger you didn’t know you had.
This happens to most women during pregnancy and most of the time is subsides when baby is born. So what should you do? I have heard that magnesium supplement helps but I have not tried it myself. For me I had to set limits on how long she could breastfeed for. This was hard but I distracted her and that helped both of us a lot.
Related Post: How to set boundaries with a breastfeeding toddler
Finding some moms who have been through the same thing and can lend at the very least some understanding of your feelings can be all you need to know it is normal and you are not alone. For me that was a Facebook Group of Tandem Nursing Moms.
For me the mommy guilt of my oldest having to share sooner than she should have to was the hardest for me. Mommy guilt is so hard but it is also normal and you know what Adella is such a great big sister! She has taken on the role of a little mom and half the time it is exhausting how bossy she is! HAHA
What will people say about you breastfeeding while pregnant?
I didn’t have many people say much, but I am sure they were thinking some things. I just told them the truth.
Yes, I am nursing her still. And yes I do plan on nursing both of them when baby is born.
If you want to you can give them more information, but I think unless it is something they have been through or might go through in the future they really won’t care. They have formed their opinion on it and it is what it is.
You might get told “well baby won’t get what it needs.” First you need to think how much research has that person done on breastfeeding while pregnant? None I’m sure! Second, you have done yours and you know that the one who suffers is you.
Maybe you will hear “how weird it is to breastfeed past a year or even 6 months.” Well, it is only weird because those around them haven’t done it.
Side note my second baby was born at 40 weeks and 2 days, after 8 weeks of irritable uterus, 3 weeks of prodromal labor, while breastfeeding and she was 8.1 pounds! I would say she didn’t suffer!
In the end don’t let what others think or say change your mind. You are the mom and if you don’t want to wean or feel your child isn’t ready then don’t!
What is tandem nursing?
Tandem nursing is when you breastfeed two children. Whether that is twins or two children of different ages. If your child doesn’t wean while you are pregnant then tandem nursing is the next leg of your journey. I shared it above and I’ll share it again with you now.
Here you can read about my tandem nursing journey and the ups and downs we have had. I sit here today typing this 2 days short of tandem nursing for 16 months and my oldest is 3 weeks away from being 3! I never thought I would make it this far and I remember how in awe I was when I would read about women who made it a year of tandem nursing.
We are talking about trying for another I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to force Adella to wean because she is sensitive but I know how uncomfortable I will be with 2 kids nursing while I’m pregnant. I will have to talk with her.
That brings me to my next point. While you are pregnant make sure you talk to your oldest about sharing your milk. Adella calls nursing “meme” so we would talk about a new baby needing some meme and how she would have to share so the baby can grow big just like her.
Now that we are talking about trying for our third I am having to talk to all over again about a new baby needing her meme one day. She is just excited about a baby! HAHA
I am happy to share we never dealt with jealousy. It wasn’t an issues until Delta started doing things and when we would cheer her on Adella would have to do the same thing. But I will take that any day over angry jealousy.
Would I do it again?
Yes, I would and if we get pregnant with out third any time soon I will be doing it again. It may have been exhausting but the bond between the girls was totally worth it. Part of me thinks Delta might wean if my supply tanks. She just isn’t as emotionally attached as Adella is.
Of course there were days where I was wondering why didn’t I wean her, I’m exhausted and just want my body to myself. I am not one to act like it is always sunshine and rainbows, because it’s not!
Those feels are normal, never have you had to give up yourself as much as you do while you are breastfeeding then you add in pregnancy and between hormones and exhaustion not every day will go smooth. But look at them holding hands. I live for these moments.
Do you have an questions? Have you thought about breastfeeding through a pregnancy?