Is Breastfeeding During Pregnancy Safe?

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.
Facts about breastfeeding during pregnancy.

La Leche League International Supports Breastfeeding during Pregnancy.

Many mothers worry that breastfeeding during pregnancy is not safe. Many fear they will have to wean their baby or toddler immediately in the event of a pregnancy. If you find you become pregnant while breastfeeding you do not necessarily have to wean your baby or toddler. La Leche League International supports breastfeeding during pregnancy. That said, many doctors and well meaning friends may have other opinions about breastfeeding during pregnancy.

You may find well meaning friends and family express concern about the health and well being of your unborn baby if you continue breastfeeding during pregnancy.

Here are some facts you should know about breastfeeding during pregnancy. These facts should arm you with the information you need to know to make appropriate decisions regarding your health and that of your unborn child.

  • Tandem breastfeeding is common. You don't necessarily have to wean your toddler or baby if you become pregnant while breastfeeding. You may decide to continue nursing both your babies after your pregnancy.

  • Breastfeeding during pregnancy will result in some uterine contractions, but uterine contractions are experienced regularly throughout pregnancy as with exercise or during orgasm.

  • Breastfeeding will not necessarily increase your risk of miscarriage, unless you are already at risk for miscarriage during pregnancy.

  • You will need extra rest and will probably feel more fatigued if you continue breastfeeding during pregnancy.

  • You will need to eat adequate nutrition to support your breastfeeding relationship and support the nutritional needs of your unborn baby. You may want to consult with a nutritionist to ensure you are eating enough to support both your children's needs, as well as your own.

  • Many women who breastfeed during pregnancy find their nipples are more tender than normal. You can try switching your baby's position to help alleviate this discomfort or try pumping with an appropriate size nipple sheild to protect them.

  • Many women find that their supply of breast milk decreases during their second trimester. You may need to supplement at this point if your baby isn't getting enough nourishment. Other times, the flavor of your milk may change around this time, and some babies self wean because they may not like the change.

  • Proceed gradually regardless of the decision you make. If you do decide to wean you should take your time so as to minimize the impact on your nursing infant.

Many moms find that if they do wean, their toddler asks to nurse again when the baby is born. While some latch on just fine, others may find the taste unappealing or others forget how to nurse correctly. If you prefer not to tandem breastfeed you might consider offering your child a sip of breast milk in a cup and involving your older child in your breastfeeding relationship in other ways.

Breastfeeding is a tender time for both mothers and babies. Many women find breastfeeding during pregnancy incredibly rewarding, while others prefer to wean their babies after becoming pregnant. Regardless of the decision you make, you should feel supported in your efforts. If you are looking for breastfeeding support while pregnant, check out La Leche League International, an organization that offers support for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. You can contact them at La Leche League.


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