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Breast Feeding whilst PG?

(9 Posts)
FellatioNelson Wed 15-Dec-10 21:31:22

I only BF'ed my 3 DCs for a few weeks/months each so I have no idea what happens in this situation. If you are still feeding a baby or a toddler and you get pregnant what do you do? Are you advised to stop, or does it make no difference to the unborn baby's health or yours? And if you do continue, what happens when you have the baby? Do you manage to feed both? How do you know the new baby is getting all the colostrum? confused

And if you make the older child stop feeding in order to exclusively feed the new baby does it cause jealousy/anxiety for the toddler?

Sorry for such a dumb random question, but it just popped into my mind and I have to know the answers!

I realise BFing is supposed to act as a natural contraception, but it is not especially reliable, is it?

SantaIsMyLoveSlave Wed 15-Dec-10 21:39:44

There's no problem to anyone's health from continuing to breastfeed. Your supply tends to drop off a bit, and many older DCs self-wean at some point while their mother is pregnant, but if they don't then it's perfectly possible to tandem feed just as it is perfectly possible to breastfeed twins or triplets. It can actually be very helpful in relieving engorgement and keeping your supply up in the early weeks of breastfeeding the newborn.

If you make the older child stop feeding in order to exclusively feed the new baby, when they don't want to stop, then it is quite likely to cause some emotional issues, yes. So if you are dead set against tandem feeding under any circumstances then it's better to wean earlier on in the pregnancy when the older child won't associate it with the new baby's arrival.

Only exclusive BFing every two hours is supposed to act as a reliable natural contraceptive. Past that many women find they get months or anything up to a couple of years of natural contraception, but it's not something to be relied upon and if you are doing natural term breastfeeding and not taking any contraceptive measures you are quite likely to get pregnant again before your first child self-weans.

llareggub Wed 15-Dec-10 21:47:50

I didn't really think about it much. I carried on feeding my DS1 when pregnant with DS2 and obviously carried on after the birth. He continued to feed for about 3 months after the birth of my younger son, and self-weaned at around 2.9years.

The MW in the hospital told me to keep one side for the newborn and one side for my toddler, so that they'd get the right milk. I was too shocked by such a bonkers piece of advice that I didn't challenge it. I should have, I suppose.

It was quite handy having an expert breastfeeder around when DS2 was a newborn, and I have some lovely memories of them both latched on at the same time. I'm sure it helped DS1 bond with his little brother. He used to tell DS2 what to do and hold his hand as they fed.

No one advised me to stop when I was pregnant. In fact, I was very much encouraged to continue as I developed gestational diabetes and breastfeeding helps to lower blood sugar naturally, so it had additional health benefits for me and the unborn baby. It was a lot easier to express milk in advance of the birth in case the baby needed to go into special care, but luckily this wasn't needed.

snowyweather Thu 16-Dec-10 01:03:25

I know someone who kept breastfeeding through out her pregnancy, but stopped when her second child was born. I remember her saying that it was great having the supply of milk ready for the second child and not having to wait for her milk to come in.

llareggub - what happened with colustrum in your case?

shirleyhyypia Thu 16-Dec-10 01:18:58

Aww at DS holding his little brothers hand!! I hope mine do that one day...

EauRudolph Thu 16-Dec-10 02:53:43

I'm 30 weeks pregnant and BF 2.2 yo DD. There's a brilliant book called Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flowers that has loads of information about BF whilst pregnant (including how to wean if you want to) and BF a toddler and newborn if that's what you end up going for.

I'm planning to tandem feed when DC2 arrives in the hope it will make the transition from only child to big sister a bit easier for DD. Also I am too lazy to wean, it sounds like hard work grin

My MW has been very supportive although I think I am the first case she has ever come across (she's quite young), she's been asking me loads of questions!

llareggub Thu 16-Dec-10 09:47:57

I don't really know what happened with colustrum, but I am assuming that it all happened in the way that it should. I certainly experienced my milk supply increasing, so I guess my baby got all the colustrum he needed.

Helpfully my older son increased his feeding massively in those early weeks, which really helped with engorgement.

He is 4 now and is shocked when I tell him he used to breastfeed. He has no memory of it at all!

TiredofTelford Thu 16-Dec-10 09:56:36

Colostrum will still be produced after the birth as it is triggered by hormone changes. If you are bfing a toddler then it is best to have a supply of expressed milk they will take in a bottle so that they have a supply for when you are in hospital and also means the Colostrum can go just to the newborn

TruthSweet Thu 16-Dec-10 10:23:21

Don't have to supply bottled milk for toddler, if they don't need it. Both of mine were fine with cows' milk when they were at GPs whilst I had the next baby (have nursed through 1 pg and tandem nursed through to 8m in the next pg). Plus most women will be producing colostrum from the start of the 3rd trimester so any expressing done after the 2nd (if you could get any milk in any great quantity) would be of colostrum not bm.

Lactogenesis II is controlled by the changing hormone profile following the removal of the placenta not by the amount of colostrum being drunk. We don't recommend limiting twins on the breast in the first few days so one twin doesn't have all the colostrum.

Personally, I have a theory that Colostrum is important for toddlers too, in that it gives the toddler an immune system boost just when it is most needed (the weeks preceding and the days following the birth of the next baby).

I have absolutely no scientific data/studies/etc to back this theory up but it seems to be good evolutionary sense for the most likely candidate to give new baby an illness is given a immunity boost - toddlers have a weaker immune system than an adult's and are more likely to be spending time away from mum thus being exposed to microbes mum isn't until toddler nurses. The act of bfing exposes mum to the microbes so that she can make anti-bodies to a greater no. of bacteria etc, then giving extra protection to mum/toddler/baby.

Plus, it makes for absolutely vile toddler poos! Smells nicer than normal thoughgrinblush

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