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Every year World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to 7. It aims to promote breastfeeding and improve the babies health globally. This year, the theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2019 is Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a choice that most mothers have to make when they learn that they are pregnant. Some mothers choose to breastfeed their baby while others opt for formula milk. Both are good choices when the mother's health and conditions are taken into consideration.
Ideally, doctors recommend exclusively breastfeeding the baby for its first 6 months and then continuing breastfeeding at least till the baby is one year old. The breast milk must be supplemented by nutritious food suitable for babies.
But what do you do if you become pregnant soon after the first baby is born? Doubts arise in your mind regarding breastfeeding. You start to wonder if breastfeeding through the pregnancy is a good thing. There are a lot of things to consider when considering breastfeeding while pregnant.
The fact is that it is possible and perfectly fine to breastfeed your baby while pregnant. It is also important to be aware of certain things about breastfeeding while pregnant to make sure that you and the baby growing within you are safe.
Today we shall discuss the things that you need to know about breast feeding your baby while you are still pregnant. Read on to know more.
Should You Breast Feed While Pregnant?
You can and should breast feed your baby even if you are pregnant, especially if you are healthy and do not have a high-risk pregnancy. Make sure that you are eating well. You now need to make sure that your body has enough nutrition for both your baby and the baby that is still within you. Your food may need to be fortified with nutrition. Instead of junk food and food with empty calories, you must eat healthy and nutrient-rich food.
What Are The Risk Factors When Breast Feeding Your Baby While Pregnant?
Breast feeding is said to produce the hormone oxytocin. This hormone is also responsible for stimulating labor when pregnant. This is the reason why stimulating the nipples is a good way to induce labor if you are over your delivery date.
The breast feeding and the release of oxytocin can cause uterine contractions. But these contractions are not a risk factor to cause a miscarriage or premature labor.
But if your doctor has deemed your pregnancy to be high risk or if there is a possibility that you may go into labor before time, it might be wise to wean your baby off of breast milk.
Will The Pregnancy Hormones Affect Your Breast-fed Baby?
You do not have to worry about your pregnancy hormones passing onto your baby through the breast milk and harming him in some or the other way. This is because only a little amount of pregnancy hormones are transferred through the breast milk and it is not in amounts enough to harm your baby who is breast fed.
Can You Breastfeed A Toddler While Pregnant?
Breast feeding a toddler can be tiring and when compounded with the pregnancy fatigue, it can be a tough job. But ultimately, it is your choice to breast feed your baby or not. You should know that you may also feel physical discomforts like feeling agitated and restless while you feed your toddler. If you can deal with it, it is a great choice to breast feed your toddler.
Will My Baby Have Enough Milk While Breastfeeding Through Pregnancy?
It is seen that during the fourth or fifth months of pregnancy, the amount of milk produced by a pregnant mother decreases. The taste of the milk changes noticeably too. Chances are that your baby or toddler may decide that he is done with breast feeding and may wean himself off of breast milk.
You may feel sad that your breastfeeding relationship with your older child has finished. But understand that your child has decided that breast feeding has come to an end and you need to respect the decision. You will soon have another child to breastfeed and bond.
What Are The Cases When Weaning The Baby Off Of Breast Milk Is Advisable When Pregnant?
Your doctor may decide that you must stop breastfeeding your older child in certain situations. These situations are:
• If you are diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy.
• If you have a chance of going into labor early.
• If you have had vaginal bleeding.
• If you have had complains of uterine pain.
• If you have been asked to abstain from sex.
• If you have a pregnancy of multiple babies.
What Do You Need To Keep In Mind While Breast Feeding While Pregnant?
• Keep the duration of the feeds short
Make sure that you do not feed your baby for a long period of time. This will cause your nipples to become intensely sore. Chances are that your breasts are very sensitive, tender and sore due to the pregnancy and its hormones. Prolonged breastfeeding can cause the problem to become worse.
• Proper latch
To reduce discomfort, make sure that your baby latches on to your nipple properly. The hormones are responsible for discomfort in your nipples. An improper latch can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.
• Start weaning your baby from nightly feeds
If your baby is habituated to drinking your breast milk to sleep, you will need to change this habit. Breast feeding at night will cause problems when your newborn will need feeding too. You should start alternative methods of soothing your baby to sleep. Like patting, rocking or singing to your baby.
• Good nutrition
Breast feeding while pregnant means that you will need to provide for your breastfeeding baby, make sure that the baby in your womb is not malnourished all the while making sure that you are in good health too. This means that you need to eat 500 calories to support breast feeding and up to 450 calories to support your unborn baby in the third trimester.
How To Deal With Concerned Family And Friends?
Your decision to breast feed while pregnant may cause your friends and relatives to be concerned and worried. They may have the best at heart but in the end, it is your decision that matters.
Tell your dear and near ones that you are healthy and you want the best for both of your babies. Inform them that as long as you are eating right and are resting enough, you will in no way deprive your unborn child, your older child or yourself.