Breastfeeding & Lactation
Written on 25 May 2021
Yes. Breastfeeding your toddler while you are pregnant with your second child will not harm your pregnancy or the baby growing in your womb.
Even after your baby is born, you can breastfeed both your newborn and your toddler. This is called tandem feeding.
Breastfeeding during pregnancy is fine if your pregnancy is going well, and you are healthy. Make sure you're eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking enough fluids, so you and your baby are getting all the nutrients you need. If you are suffering from nausea and pregnancy sickness, just eat whatever you can cope with, though.
In early pregnancy you may have sensitive nipples because of hormonal changes. This may mean your nipples are sore when you breastfeed. Your body releases a hormone called oxytocin when you're breastfeeding to let your milk down. Oxytocin is also important in labour, but your uterus (womb) won't react to oxytocin until the end of your pregnancy, after 37 weeks.
However, there are situations in which it is best to wean your child such as if:
By four months or five months of your pregnancy, your breastmilk changes back to colostrum. This is the rich, nourishing pre-milk needed by your new baby in the first few days after the birth.
Your older baby will notice the difference, because your breastmilk will taste different, and there'll be less of it. If he is already on solids, he might choose to drink less milk on his own. He may decide to wean himself at this point, or he may be happy to carry on breastfeeding. Don't worry about using up your colostrum, as your body will continue to produce it until your new baby needs it.
If your baby is less than a year old and you are breastfeeding him while you're pregnant, make sure that he is still putting on weight after your milk changes.
Whether or not you want to carry on feeding your older baby once your new baby arrives is a personal decision. If you do, the good news is that mums who tandem feed are less likely to get mastitis than mums who feed one baby.
You might notice that during or after a feed your uterus hardens. Nipple stimulation through breastfeeding or making love can often trigger mild uterine contractions. For most women, these are not strong enough to create a problem. However, speak to your doctor if you're at all concerned.
As your tummy gets bigger, you will need to find a breastfeeding position that doesn’t put any pressure on your womb. Lying on your side with your baby or toddler next to you might be the easiest way to do it.
Though tandem feeding works for many mums, you should give a thought to how long you want to continue breastfeeding your older child. If you wean him once your new baby arrives, he might feel left out at a time when he’ll already have lots of adjustments to make. So if you are sure you do not want to breastfeed both your children at the same time, it is probably best to wean your older child while you are still pregnant.
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