What You Need to Know About Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is such an exciting time. From waiting to feel little kicks to comparing baby’s size to tiny and adorable fruits, there is truly no feeling more magical (or nauseating) than feeling life literally growing inside of you.
But of course, with all the awe and wonder also comes a LOT of questions:
“Can I really not eat cold deli meat?”
“When will I be able to enjoy a hot bath again?”
And, for some, “Wait- can I still breastfeed while pregnant?”
If this is you, I have some good news. The short answer is YES! You can still breastfeed, so long as you and your care provider feel comfortable with you doing so. However, as your body changes, there may be some obstacles to be aware of, so for the sake of preparation, let’s dig in!
Your Supply May Drop
This is potentially the most significant challenge many breastfeeding mothers face during pregnancy. Around the fourth or fifth month of gestation, you may experience a sudden decrease in milk supply. This is due to hormonal changes that alter the amount of milk you produce and the composition of your breast milk. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to remedy this natural occurrence, and offering the breast or pumping more frequently will not increase your supply during pregnancy. For this reason, many women (or children) choose to wean, although some children will continue nursing again at a later stage.
Your Nipples May Be Sore
Another one of the primary reasons why women decide to wean during pregnancy is due to physical discomforts, such as increased nipple sensitivity. It is reported that approximately 75% of expecting mothers experience sore nipples during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this common problem. For some women, this may resolve on its own after the first trimester, but for others, it may persist throughout their pregnancy. For this reason, some expectant mothers may choose to wean or switch to pumping.
You Might Experience Fatigue
Ok, let’s be honest- you WILL experience fatigue. Granted, that can’t-get-out-of-bed feeling usually subsides during the second trimester (only to reappear once more towards the end of the third), but pregnancy fatigue is no joke. For that reason, some mothers may find continuing to breastfeed to be too exhausting. After all, the calorie expenditure required to grow a baby inside of you and sustain your milk supply may require some extra effort, which brings us to our next point…
You Will Need To Increase Your Calories
If you continue breastfeeding throughout your pregnancy, be prepared to take an extra 850-1100 calories daily. This is comparable to approximately two Big Macs per day in addition to your regular diet. While being able to eat an extra meal or two every day may sound like a treat to some, others may experience nausea or food aversions during pregnancy which may make getting in those extra nutrients extremely challenging,
Are There Any Circumstances in Which Nursing While Pregnant ISN’T Advised?
Although breastfeeding during pregnancy is generally considered safe, there are some cases in which weaning may be advised at the discretion of your care provider. Some of these circumstances may include the following:
– You have a high-risk pregnancy
– You are at risk for preterm labor
– You are carrying twins or multiples
– You are experiencing bleeding or uterine pain