Labor and Delivery/Postpartum · Pregnancy/Nesting

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Who knew that a woman’s body can be both growing a baby and feeding another one at the same time? That is amazing!!!! I was just under 7 months postpartum with my first baby when I became pregnant with my second. Yes, by that point your baby should be introduced to solids, but they are still very much dependent on milk. And if you are exclusively breastfeeding, that means you will experience breastfeeding during pregnancy.

Reminder: the purpose of this post is to share my personal experience only and is not in any way medical advice. Consult with your healthcare provider for any medical questions or concerns you may have.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links to which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Does breastfeeding during pregnancy affect the baby?

According to La Leche League’s website, it is considered safe both to your unborn baby and older baby to breastfeed during pregnancy.

When I was doing “double duty”, I still made a point to let both my OBGYN and our pediatrician know. That way, each doctor is notified and then can share any specific information that they may have.

You will most likely be able to continue on with your regular dosage of prenatal vitamins versus “doubling up”. But it never hurts to ask your OBGYN if they recommend any additional supplements during this time.

This is the prenatal I am currently taking. I have experimented with several brands, and this is the only one so far that DOESN’T make me want to throw up when taking it (hello, first trimester!) or has a weird aftertaste.

Related: Two Under Two: What You Need To Know

When should you stop breastfeeding during pregnancy?

As long as both babies and your health are all good, there is no need to stop at any point during pregnancy.

Some mothers even breastfeed both children when the youngest is born which is called “tandem nursing”.

You may experience a dip in your milk supply once you become pregnant, which may or may not bother your older child.

Typically, around the 4th or 5th month of pregnancy your breast milk will start tasting different. It will probably be less sweet as your body is getting ready to produce colostrum again.

For some children, this change in taste will turn them off to nursing and wean themselves off. But others will keep on trucking! For my oldest, he was very close to being weaned by my 5th month, so it is hard to know personally if it was the taste change or he was just ready to be done.

Taking care of your health is now more important than ever

This is something I wish I grasped when I was breastfeeding during pregnancy. When you eat, take vitamins, exercise, and sleep, you are doing this for THREE people: your nursing baby, baby on the way, and you!

That is a lot for your body to do!

This is totally doable, but that means you have to put your health at the highest priority. Focus on foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber to give everyone the best nutrition possible.

I was SO hungry that I felt like I ate like a football player. But I wish I worked harder at finding the healthiest options so then I had more energy and felt better.

Please, take naps when you can. In the moment you probably don’t realize how hard your body is working but you need so much rest!

Hang on to that freezer stash!

As you get closer to giving birth, make sure to go through your freezer stash of frozen breast milk.

Frozen breast milk can last in your freezer up to 6 months. So go through your stash and toss/donate what is about to go bad but keep any that will still be good for when your next baby is born. You’re already a step ahead of the game!

Having a hard time tossing milk? I get it-that’s liquid gold baby! Even if your older child is weaned, you can still incorporate milk into their food such as oatmeal.

I did that a lot, and your child probably won’t even bat an eyelash. Phew!

Check if you are eligible for a new breast pump

Through most insurance plans, you should be eligible for a new breast pump every year. When I gave birth in 2019, I was again able to get a new pump for my 2020 baby.

Why would you want a new breast pump?

There’s a good chance that you put some miles on your old breast pump and could stand some new valves and other parts too. If your older pump is still in good condition, then you can have TWO pumps for your next baby. One to keep at home, one to keep at work or in your car!

Plus, you may want to try a different style or brand of pump-now’s your chance to try it out. I recommend working with Aeroflow to figure out insurance. It’s free and they make it so so so easy.

Breastfeeding during pregnancy almost seems impossible, but you can do it! God designed women’s bodies to do amazing things! Along the way if you decide to wean your oldest, that is completely okay too. Be proud of the work that you have done and continue to do for your children, no matter where you end your breastfeeding journey.

Comment below what your thoughts are about this topic, I would love to hear from you!

Take care,

Kathy

Labor and Delivery/Postpartum

Back to Breastfeeding After Exclusively Pumping

When I was getting ready to have my first baby, I was much more clueless about preparing for breastfeeding than I thought I was. Through various issues, I was unsuccessful at getting my breast pump ahead of time (for my second child, I used AeroFlow, so easy!). When we brought our baby home, I was engorged and recovering from a c-section, and he was hungry and had jaundice. Needless to say that was a very stressful first night or two. A family member loaned me their old breast pump until I got my own. I know that’s not best sanitation practices but I needed to feed my baby. This is my long back story as to how I got onto exclusively pumping. Now I would like to share with you on how I went from exclusively pumping back to breastfeeding.

I will say there are so many factors that leads someone to exclusively pumping and so many factors for breastfeeding to work. There is no one size fits all approach. There are women in my life that exclusively pump and it works great for them and some (like me) that really struggled with it.

Just know that whatever breastfeeding issues you may have, there are many options to explore to find the best fit for you and your baby.

Please note: this post is to share my personal experience with exclusively pumping and breastfeeding with you. This is not to serve as medical advice. For medical advice or other professional information, contact your healthcare provider.

How to switch from exclusively pumping back to breastfeeding

The very first step I highly recommend is to work with a lactation consultant!!! Seriously! The lactation consultants that helped me even helped mothers breastfeed their adopted babies, they are amazing!

If you don’t click with one consultant, try another one.

A good lactation consultant will help support you for however long you decide to breastfeed without judgment.

I called lactation and told them my concerns and struggles about exclusively pumping. We then setup a time to bring my baby in and I tried again breastfeeding and they helped trouble shoot latch, position, etc.

Here are the main things to consider when going back to breastfeeding after exclusively pumping:

Be super patient with both you and baby during this process.

There were plenty of times where my baby had zero interest in breastfeeding and just wanted the bottle, and it broke my heart. Even though it’s not true, I felt like a failure.

Keep in mind that for how many weeks or months, your baby has grown accustomed to getting milk out of the bottle. Just like adults, babies are creatures of habit too.

There is still suckling involved with a bottle, but they will have to work harder to extract milk from your breast. Naturally, we all would like less work when it comes to our food.

This helps explain the resistance a little bit, any transition takes time.

Experiment with the timing of breastfeeding attempts too

For some babies, it works to put them to breast when they are hungry and maybe willing to breastfeed so they can get fed.

Other babies, like mine, get way too frustrated if they are hungry. In that case, it may be less stressful to try it in between feedings.

This all depends on the personality type of both you and baby. My baby was very strong willed and let me know that he was not happy! That caused me to get too stressed out. And if you are stressed out, your baby can sense that and may not to try breastfeeding at all.

Definitely keep the pressure off for both of you.

Do TONS of skin to skin with your baby

The smell of your skin and the smell of your breastmilk will be very familiar and comforting for your baby.

Let your baby lay on your bare chest and the two of you bond. It might seem weird, but you can express a little milk and put it on your baby’s lip using your nipple.

This can help remind your baby that they can find milk from your breast and not just the bottle.

Try using a nipple shield

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links to which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Nipple shields are really helpful if you have injured nipples, but they also really helped me in my transition back to breastfeeding after exclusively pumping.

The shield is rubbery, so it gives the feeling of a bottle nipple, but gets your baby close to your breast as well.

Once my baby and I got super comfortable using the nipple shield, I would try without, and it would work!

A tip just from my own personal experience: after my milk would let down, I would let milk “pool” into the nipple shield. Then my baby would get more instant satisfaction like a bottle and was much more willing to do more suckling.

They do come in various sizes, so make sure you get one that fits you comfortably!

How long does it take to wean off of exclusively pumping?

This typically varies depending on how long you have been breastfeeding your child. Our bodies are very quick to adapt based off of demand.

Personally, I would switch out a pump session and replace it with a nursing session. If at the next session, my baby wanted the bottle that time I still pumped but would pump two or three minutes less.

For myself, I saw that my body adapted to these changes in about a week. But you may have a different experience.

Once you are fully transitioned back to breastfeeding after exclusively pumping, you may find that you aren’t producing as much milk when you pump as you did previously.

Typically, pumping causes your body to produce higher volume but “watery” milk. Instead, you may see less but your milk will have higher fat content and is more dense.

If you are ever concerned about your milk supply, contact your lactation consultant and/or pediatrician.

Is exclusively pumping easier than breastfeeding?

The answer depends on who you ask! Like I said before, I know mothers that prefer to exclusively pump, and it works really well for them. There are also mothers who do it but find it really difficult.

Something to consider as well is your current family situation too. Do you work outside the home or stay at home? Does another caregiver want to regularly feed the baby as a way to connect too?

As a stay-at-home mom, I found that I was doing double the work of pumping, feeding, and sterilizing bottles around the clock. Thankfully I was able to transition back to breastfeeding and it greatly reduced my stress.

If you’re interested in trying to go back to breastfeeding after exclusively pumping, give it a shot! What do you have to lose?

No matter how you feed your baby by breastmilk, formula, or a combination, it should be what’s best for you and baby!

Even as exclusively pumping, I still got to sit and bottle feed my baby and sing, talk, and stare at my beautiful baby.

Having that special time together is what is most important. 🙂

Please share your feeding experience below. Did you pump, formula, nursed, all the above? Thanks for stopping by!

Kathy

Labor and Delivery/Postpartum · Parenting · siblings

Diaper bag essentials for a toddler and a newborn

Getting out of the house can take f-o-r-e-v-e-r with little ones. The best way to get out of the house is to be as efficient and prepared as possible. One major step? The diaper bag. Diaper bag=lifeline. So when you have two in diapers, you want to have all your basic supplies packed and ready to go. Let’s talk about all the diaper bag essentials for a toddler and a newborn.

By the way, if you also are preparing to have two under two, check out my post on what to expect here.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links to which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

You don’t need to go out and buy an extra diaper bag

Now maybe some of you laughed at that but I sincerely considered that possibility when I was pregnant with our second child.

I mean, so much stuff is needed for just one kid in diapers, I would need another bag right?

Nope!

A lot of the diaper bag essentials for a toddler and a newborn will be shared so you aren’t going to be adding too much.

Besides, you’re going to look really goofy chasing kids at the park with two bags on you. 🙂

Save your money and use the diaper bag you have

This tip would have come in handy about 18 months ago. I spent hours looking on the internet for an “extra-large” diaper bag that didn’t cost at least $100.

I couldn’t find one nor did I need it. The only reason I would suggest for you to buy a different bag is if you don’t already have a backpack style diaper bag.

When you have two in diapers, you need all the free hands you can get!

This is the closest style of bag I found that I have used for both of my children at the same time. The price range is about $30 and has served me well. There is still a good amount of space even with two sets of diapers and clothes inside.

Plus, it’s leopard-you’re welcome.

Make it part of your routine to check and restock your diaper bag

Sometimes Ol’ Reliable (aka your diaper bag) becomes a black hole for whatever storage is needed on the go.

I seriously feel like Mary Poppins pulling stuff out of the bottom of my diaper bag sometimes!

Try to get into a rhythm of once a month, once a season, or whatever frequency works for you, to check and reorganize your diaper bag.

For me, anytime my children are growing into a new size of diaper or clothing is a good reminder to double check that I have the right sizes in my bag.

Here’s my list of diaper bag essentials for a toddler and a newborn:

  • Toddler sized diapers (1-2 diapers for every 2 hours)
  • Baby sized diapers (1-2 diapers for every 2 hours)
  • Change of clothes for both toddler and baby
  • Wipes
  • Boogie wipes
  • Changing pad
  • Diaper cream
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Disposable bibs
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tide-To-Go pen
  • Small toys and/or books
  • Lip balm
  • Phone charger
  • Seasonal items (hats, mittens, sunblock, etc.)
  • Burp cloth
  • Feeding supplies (bottles, nursing cover, formula)
  • Plastic bag for blowouts and/or big messes
  • Pacifier

Phew! It can seem like a lot, but chances are, you are already on a good routine if you’re getting ready to have another baby in diapers.

Of course, there’s always an adjustment period for after the baby arrives (if you would like to read about helping your toddler adjust to a newborn check out my post here).

But soon enough you will be throwing in extra sets of diapers in your diaper bag and be on your way like it’s nothing!

Let me know in the comments section below, are you planning to upgrade your diaper bag or stick with the one you have? I’d love to know!

Thanks for stopping by!

Labor and Delivery/Postpartum

What I wish I knew BEFORE my C-Section recovery

***This post may contain affiliate links from which I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if a product is purchased through the link.***

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I BARELY skimmed through information about giving birth via C-section. Somehow in my mind I thought if I didn’t think about it too much then I won’t need one! Well, after a looonnggg labor with my baby boy the doctor told me I did indeed need one.

By the time I was pregnant with my second child for various reasons I needed to deliver again via C-section. The difference between the first and second time around was huge, in a good way! So even if this isn’t part of your birth plan or you are about to get your C-section scheduled, here’s a few tips to keep in mind:

Laboring beforehand can impact your comfort level during the c-section

If you are in labor prior to the surgery, your body has already done so much work! The anesthesiologist will make sure that it’s completely safe for them to operate on you; but because your body is more tired you just may feel more sensation during (tugging, pressure, etc.). When I had my second child, it was scheduled so my body was much more rested and able to handle it better.

You will have NO core strength after giving birth.

The surgeon has to cut through your abdomen in order to get to your baby. So all the nerve connections between your abs and brain are disconnected at the incision site.

Be very gentle and careful when getting out of the hospital bed (use those bed rails girl!) and out of chairs. It will get better as you heal!

Postpartum bleeding will still happen after your c-section

It doesn’t matter how you will deliver, your body will still need to get rid of all the excess blood involved in making a baby. The bleeding just might be lighter or shorter, or maybe still the same! It varies from person to person.

Some moms just love the mesh underwear the hospital gives you to wear; I personally did not. These are the disposable underwear I recommend. I used these with both of my deliveries, and they are so comfortable.

Speaking of underwear…. don’t do what I did and NOT buy high waisted underwear. My first C-section I wore my regular bikini style and it rubbed on my healing incision site and it was super uncomfortable.

For my second baby I made sure to buy this exact kind of underwear and it was way better. You can pick out different colors, but I definitely suggest black (no explanation needed there!).

You will be in pain for awhile, but it will get better with time.

Due to potential pain medications you may be taking when going home, you will be under certain restrictions. Typically, you are not allowed to drive for two weeks and not allowed to carry more than 15 pounds (which is basically your baby, diaper bag and/or car seat).

Keep this in mind for enlisting help once the baby arrives (please have a plan BEFORE you give birth)! Due to the possible medications, hormones, weight restrictions, you may have trouble going to the bathroom.

During your nesting phase I would recommend buying some stool softener to have ready for your postpartum recovery kit.

Even though recovery isn’t smooth (and what postpartum period isn’t?), remember that women give birth via C-section every day. The best thing you can do is rest and do what is best for you and your family. These comments are based off of my own personal birth stories; so always consult your doctor for medical information and advice.

You’ve got this mama!