Will getting pregnant decrease my milk supply?(14 Posts)
DS is nearly 4 months old and we're ttc. He's EBF, would my milk supply dry up? If it does, will regular expressing bring it back up? Will I have to stop breastfeeding?
I can only give anecdata, but I am currently pg with DC3 who was conceived when DD2 was 4 mo and ebf. And DD2 is bfing happily right now as I type. So though I can't give any guarantees, it is not a given that you will have to express or give up or that your supply will dry up.
No one can guarantee either way, your supply will dip but how much varies from a little to not at all.
My DD1 stopped feeding when I was around 16 weeks pregnant. I don't know if my supply dried up or if the taste changed. She was older at around 20 months though.
It doesn't happen to everyone, some successfully tandem feed baby and toddler.
Your milk will decrease in quantity as your pregnancy progresses and at some point will change back to colostrum- typically at 20-30 weeks pregnant. Expressing won't help I'm afraid, it's hormonal. This would not sustain a baby under 12 months so you would need to supplement.
Although I wouldn't advocate breastfeeding as a contraceptive breastfeeding does depress fertility, especially as you have such a young baby who will be feeding often.
So don't worry if you can't concieve straight away. As your baby's breastfeeding demands lessen your fertility will rise.
My supply was fine in the first trimester but dipped fairly dramatically around 20 weeks, DS1 pretty much self-weaned at that point. And yes, it's hormonal so if it does drop expressing or more frequent feeding won't make much difference. I'm not sure if even if it just drops a little you wouldn't have to supplement a young baby, it's different when they're older and well established on solids/not feeding so frequently.
Do you have regular periods back yet? Mine came back at 5 months this time and I thought that was quite early for EBF. I had no problem conceiving while BF (twice) once my cycle was back to normal, though I did wait until DS1 was well past a year (more for the sake of my own sanity than BF).
My periods came back at 9 months, we started trying for a baby straight away-, but it tool 12 months to conceive.
In retrospect I am very glad I didn't conceive straight away, it would have been too much having such a small age gap.
A 4 month baby is easy to look after and it can be natural to feel that you have cracked it and would like another immediately.
The next year or two bring a lot of challenges as a baby becomes moblile, moves onto solids and generally creates a but of mayem and disorder in the house- the work load goes up dramatically and the time you have drops. Add a new baby into the mix and you have your work cut out.
It's unlikely to dip right away. It may dip later on, but for most women (even if with some extra work to stimulate supply) it's possible to keep bf right through pregnancy (and beyond, obviously). Have a read of Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower.
Debbie it's certainly possible, I know that - I breastfed thoughout pregnancy and tandem fed for two years, but the concern is whether a baby under 12 months can be sustained by what will be at some point just small volumes of colostrum.
Once the milk changes to colostrum- and it will at some point- only birth will bring back "milk". all the pumping in the world won't produce milk or increase the volumes very significantly.
Of course if you are breasttfeeding an older baby or toddler who is eating a wide range of solids that's fine, but if your milk reduces and converts back to colostrum while your baby is still relatively young- say 6-7 months then you may not be able to produce the milk that your baby needs.
A women won't produce milk all the way though a subsequent pregnancy.
I realise I didn't write what I meant to - the dip can be relatively low or can be an almost complete cessation of milk production. I do know some women who have conceived at around 7 months and they have needed to supplement their babies whilst pregnant.
But, atthestrokeoftwelve, you're assuming OP is going to get pregnant at the drop of a hat, which is unlikely. And as her baby is already 4 months old, the chances are very high that she's not going to be trying to sustain a baby under 12 months on colostrum. If she were pregnant already then, sure, she'd certainly need to be planning on some kind of supplementation (although that could be building up a stash of frozen milk). But she isn't, and if her baby is over 12 months when colostrum comes in then cows' milk will be an option.
Debbie I didn't assume that at all- Read my post:
"Although I wouldn't advocate breastfeeding as a contraceptive breastfeeding does depress fertility, especially as you have such a young baby who will be feeding often.
So don't worry if you can't concieve straight away. As your baby's breastfeeding demands lessen your fertility will rise."
I am simply pointing out the mechanics of breastfeeding while pregnant.
Thanks for all the advice. My periods have returned so I'm assuming I'll be more fertile than if they hadn't. It's probably best to wait a little while so DS is at least over a year while I'm ttc.
atthestroke, I did read all your posts, but was replying to the one addressed to me that "the concern is whether a baby under 12 months can be sustained by what will be at some point just small volumes of colostrum."
But if the OP doesn't get pregnant in the next two months, maybe three at the outside, that isn't "the concern" at all. Because she wouldn't be trying to sustain a baby under 12 months on colostrum.
So either (a) you were assuming that she was going to get pregnant in the next two-three months, and were criticising me on that basis (fair enough, but then in return I was just pointing out that I was assuming that she wasn't going to, which was why I talked about the situation for most mothers and gave advice on that basis), or (b) you weren't assuming that at all, but just thought you'd give me a lecture about colostrum and babies under 12 months anyway just for the hell of it (perfectly reasonable to mention it to the OP -- you'd already done that in your 08:03 post -- but you specifically addressed me in your 09:51 post about what "the concern" was)
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