Nursing While Pregnant
Above is a picture of my precious 18 month old baby boy, Joshua. He recently reached a big milestone. He stopped nursing 1 week ago.
I know there will be several different thoughts on this. Some may say “you’re crazy, that’s way too long”. Others are probably thinking, “Wow, that’s amazing and you still nursed while pregnant”. And yet other’s view points will be “the world health organization says it’s best to breastfeed for at least 2 years”.
But you know, I don’t think us moms should focus too much on all these differing view points. We need to do what’s best for us and our babies.
When my first baby was born 7 years ago, I decided that 18 months would be a good length of time to nurse. Then several months later I learned that I was pregnant again. I was still determined to nurse for at least 12 months. This meant letting Sariah nurse as often as she wanted so I wouldn’t loose my milk supply (which was very often) and yes it does hurt to nurse while pregnant. It was what I wanted to do, though.
As Sariah’s first birthday approached and I was 23 weeks along with Rebekah I decided that it was time to wean. It did not go well. There were lots of tears and tantrums and finally I just cut it cold turkey 3 weeks before Rebekah was born, who was born on her “due date” at exactly 16 months after Sariah’s birth.
A few months later I decided I did not want to put another child through what I did to Sariah so I made a personal commitment to allow Rebekah and all future children to wean themselves. For Rebekah that was 27 months and while I was 8 weeks into my pregnancy with baby #3, Miriam.
I figured that’s about the time babies are supposed to wean themselves so I was very surprised when Miriam very easily weaned herself at 14 months during the 4th month of my pregnancy with Joshua. Now Joshua has weaned at 18 months and I am currently 23 weeks pregnant with baby #5.
Don’t worry I am not beating myself up over weaning Sariah before she was ready. Sariah is the perfect first child. Very forgiving and adapting well to changes. I’m glad she allows me to become the mom I am striving to be.
I do want to use this blog post to highlight some myths surrounding nursing while pregnant.
Myth #1: Breastfeeding will cause you to miscarriage.
Unfortunately many doctors will tell a nursing mom that their miscarriage was a result of breastfeeding because they simply do not know why it happened and feel that moms just want an answer. If you are pregnant your uterus will not contract during nursing in the same it would if you are not pregnant. Just be sure to eat a healthy balanced diet and keep well hydrated. However if you do have a history of pre-term labour or miscarriages you may want to talk to your caregiver (OB or midwife) about nursing while pregnant.
Myth #2: Your milk dries up when you become pregnant.
If you are eating enough, keeping hydrated and letting your baby nurse as often as he or she wants, chances are high that your milk will not dry up. Letting your baby nurse often is the biggest obstacle, because it is true that your supply will begin to decrease and your little nursling will want to to nurse a lot to keep that supply up. As I mentioned earlier, you are very tender during early pregnancy so if you want to nurse while pregnant you need to be determined. Some babies will not like the new taste and just give up on nursing.