Plus, I need to be prepared- I'm sure people will be asking me why in the world I'm letting Malia BF while I'm PG. People already think I should be weaning- but I feel strongly that she needs my milk still, and if she doesn't self wean during pregnancy I do not mind tandem nursing.
What do I need to know?
The most important thing you need to know - as long as you are a 'low risk' pregnancy, it is perfectly safe to continue to nurse throughout pregnancy. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
At 13 months, Malia is still a baby - the WHO recommends breast-feeding until at least 2 years....If you want to tell people anything (and you would be well within your rights to tell people to mind their own business!), just tell people that that is your goal (a minimum of 2 years) to maximize the health benefits of breast-feeding for Malia.
Be prepared to feel annoyed with the breast-feeding while you are pregnant...that is normal. Your milk supply will probably drop at some point - also normal.
All the health benefits of breast-feeding remain for your nursling while you are pregnant. And nursing during pregnancy isn't dangerous in a low risk pregnancy. What else does anyone need to know?!
Good luck, and good for you.
I know, that's not helpful. But I've found that when people ask questions like that, a "why do you want to know?" response puts them off.
Many mamas here can attest to the fact that it's not so simple to tandem nurse, but worth it in the end. And nursing while pregnant isn't always great, either. I had a lot of pain each pregnancy ... which surprised me the first time, because I figured, hey, I'm already nursing, what do my breasts have to do during this pregnancy to get ready for the baby? Right? They should already be ready, in theory, you know? Nope. And it hurt like crazy sometimes.
Also, I sometimes encouraged even more nursing, because no matter if it hurt, I would be so exhausted that I needed to lay down, and getting the little one to nurse let me do just that.
And we have a history of miscarriages, so whenever I'd hear that nursing brings on labor I'd get nervous, but it didn't happen. Though I will say with baby#3 my water broke after nursing DD for her nap ... but it was already into the 10th month, so that was fine with me.
Good luck ... and eat well ... and drink like a fish ...
I guess I would just say drink lots of water and get lots of rest. That made a huge difference for me!
Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven. PROUD to be a Catholic! :
I dont want to discourage you, but I feel there are things you SHOULD know.
Tandem nursing comes naturally to most women I have spoken with, but is not easy for most of them.
For example, during my pregnancy I never questioned whether I should wean my 2 yr old. I knew I would continue to nurse her because she still needed it. I knew it would not be easy to nurse two, and read a bit about the problems one is faced with when nursing siblings, but figured that my DD needed me to do this for her.
Well, now the baby is a little over two months, and its not easy.
Most times DD sees DS nursing (hes almost asleep...YaY I get a break- nursing) she comes over to ask for mimi. When I ask her to wait until the baby is laid down, she whines and cries, usually waking him. Then he gets repositioned and we all have a nurse fest (which sounds better than it is). Nursing them both at once makes me wish I could climb the wall... Most of the time its too much stimulation and I have to tune it all out with deep breathing. I dont enjoy it very often. Yes its sweet when she reaches over and pats his belly while they nurse, but I dont think it makes up for all the times she has come over and pulled back on his forehead to get him off my boob. She is too young to realize that when she wakes him up, she has to wait longer, and every second she waits she whines and cries, waking him up more.
I realize that some of this is normal toddler-sibling behavior, but it is made worse I think because she feels she must compete with him. She nursed only 3 times a day before he was born, but now wants to nurse all the time. I usually remind her that she will nurse again at her next (naptime-bedtime, etc), but sometimes its not enough.
When its just her, its still not enjoyable anymore for me. Sometimes it is really hard not to just tell her no more. Her suck is painful now, it drives me crazy, and really irritates instead of relaxing me like before. Most of my feelings are hormonally realted, to protect the new baby, my body tells me to wean my older one. It is easy to accept that factually, but when you are experiencing that, its horrible.
I think my DD feels that I am not happy nursing her anymore, and she tries to nurse more to make me happy again. She is distressed, I think not only by the new baby who has swept away the attention that was 100% hers before, but by how I feel about nursing her now. It used to be our special time to relax with each other, but its turned into something that is hard on us both.
In order to try and restore some of the joy, I have attempted to limit her nursing to 3 times a day... The less, the better, it turns out. I feel better about it when we stick to only a few a day. I also have a plan for weaning her over the next 6 months, in time for her 3rd bday. Knowing that makes me cherish these last few months of her nursing and ready her for moving on.
My advice is to really think about tandem nursing, because once you nurse into your pregnancy you are commiting yourself to it.
If I knew how I felt now, I'm not sure what I would have done. My DD has grown out of the needy stage she was in when I decided to keep nursing her, but I still feel she needs me. Whether her need extends to a need for nursing or only of closeness now, it doesnt matter. I wont wean her for a while beacuse I want her to be ready and not feel replaced, as much as I think she is ready to move on. But I cant say Im not looking forward to only nursing one again.
I did read some of the negatives of tandem nursing when I was pregnant, but I read so many benefits to it too... Im sure that they will materialize, and that things will get easier as my 2.5 yr old gets through the phase she is in, and my DS starts nursing a little less frequent during the day.
I just want you guys to know that if it gets hard, you aren't the only one experiencing it like that. It took time for me to admit, even to myself that I wasn't happy with the way things were, in part because I heard so many great things about tandem nursing.
Would I do it again? Yes, if I felt my toddler wasn't ready to wean, I think I would do it again without hesitation.
As far as your health/baby within's health goes...you're right: you need to keep yourself healthy. Eating healthy, increasing your protein and calcium intake, drinking plenty of water (good for you and helps keep milk supply up), and increasing your caloric intake by 500 calories for being pregnant PLUS 250-500 calories for nursing are the basics of what you'll need to do. Your bodywill take care of the fetus first, then the nursling, then you. If YOU are healthy, everyone else will be too!
You may experience dips in your milk supply several times during pregnancy. You may experience breast pain. You may experience agitation when your nursling is nursing. All of these are "normal".
As for people making comments to you...To the "You're STILL nursing and your pregnant???" type questions, an enthusiastic "Yes!!! Isn't it WONDERFUL?" usually does the trick. "WHy do you want to know?" is also a useful response. To the "You're hurting your unborn child because you're nursing" type comments, you can say something like "Actually, I'm not. I'm happy to say that the research shows that what I'm doing is safe for me, my nursling, and baby-within." or "Where did you hear/learn/read that?"
Useful info: Uterine contractions while nursing are less intense than those during orgasm. Nipple stimulation doesn't work to induce/help along labor in women who have nursed through pregnancy.
I nursed my older son through my younger son's pregnancy, then tandem nursed my boys through their little sister's pregnancy and am currently nursing three (3.5 yrs, 2 yrs and almost 6 weeks).
Mama to A (12), Z (11), H (9), C (5), A (3) and 4 angels.
When people say something to me about weaning him, I have been saying that I think it will be better for him if he continues to nurse when the baby arrives in March. It seems to me that he might feel displaced if the baby gets Mommy milk and he doesn't.
I am a little disappointed that I never got back to my pre-PG weight. I'm still 10 lbs over what I was. Did anyone else keep on the last 10 lbs because they were nursing? It seems most of my friends lost all their weight quickly while nursing. I know that I seemed to be more hungry while nursing then while PG. Now that I have another "bun in the oven" I'm not as hungry anymore. THIRSTY? Yes! I'm hoping the extra weight will come off when I'm done giving birth to all my kids.
Also, can anyone recommend a good book on tandem nursing? My LLL book doesn't go into much detail about the subject. I assume you would want to nurse the infant first and then allow the toddler to go. I know you can nurse together too, but I what to make sure that the infant gets enough. With ds, he would always fall asleep whenever he ate so I had to keep switching him from one side to the other. Any hints? Thanks! Gotta go get some more water!
mom to five on earth (11 ,9, 7 and 5) and one on the way October 19, 2012
One in heaven July 2006
I am lucky because I never had the early pregnancy breast tenderness so continuing to nurse him was not painful. I did notice a sharp drop in supply as soon as I entered my second trimester. Ds has not seemed to mind though, and still nurses 4-6 times a day, although most of those are the "drive-by" variety. The one thing that I did do that helped was to night-wean him. Night-time nursings were occurring about 4-5 times, usually just after I had fallen asleep after getting up to pee again! It was a little rough, but we made it through and I am convinced that is why I am still able to nurse him throughout the day with no bad feelings. Unfortunately he is teething (molars) so he has been up the past couple of nights but does fine with rocking him back to sleep or walking the hallway to fall back to sleep. Of course dh can help with this so I can still get some rest!
Anyway, I just wanted to add my support for your decision, you are not alone and I think it is important for those of us that make these decisions to come together and help each other when the times get rough. My family has had some difficulties with my parenting decisions, but it seems like the more I do, the less shocked they are! I feel justified because my ds is a great kid, we are wonderfully attached and my family sees this. My baby-inside is growing well too and I think that helps them with my decision to nurse while pregnant too.
Good luck, and by the way, when is your due date? Mine is November 16.