Thursday Tip: Breastfeeding and Pregnancy

Nursing through pregnancy; is it possible?

When a woman finds out she is pregnant and she is already nursing a little one both she and others may question whether nursing during the pregnancy should continue.

Most mothers find that their milk supply starts to drop around the 20th week of the pregnancy. Some babies will happily continue nursing in-spite of the decreased milk supply and others will wean at some point during the pregnancy. Toddlers over a year old, who are eating solids and drinking fluids from a cup, are more likely to continue to nurse for comfort as their nutritional needs are being met in other ways. Very young nursing babies may need supplementation to meeting the nutritional needs of their rapidly growing bodies and brains.

In the first trimester many mothers have found that nursing is uncomfortable as their nipples are very sensitive. Often this irritation dimishes after the first trimester. Mothers who want to continue to breastfed may find distracting themselves with a book, television program or connecting with others via social media helpful. Relaxation techniques used during labour such as slow breathing may also be useful. With older toddlers limiting the length of the nursing by counting, saying the alphabet or singing a specific song might be a compromise both of you can live with.

Many people worry that breastfeeding will cause uterine contractions and increase the potential for a miscarriage. The research doesn’t support this theory. Nursing while in labour will significantly speed up contractions but until the body is hormonally ready to go into labour breastfeeding won’t cause it to do so.

The decision to continue to nurse during a pregnancy is a very personal and individual one. It is often made one day at a time or even one nursing at a time.

If you have questions about nursing during a pregnancy or how to wean because of a pregnancy your local La Leche League Leader is a great resource. 


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To encourage, promote and provide breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society