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