There’s no denying the incredible health benefits breastfeeding offers to both the nursing mother and her newborn. Not only is breastmilk vital for the baby’s developing body, but it also plays an important role in helping the little one build immunity.
This and many other benefits are exactly why many nursing mothers decide to continue to breastfeed their little ones while expecting another baby. Whether you’re interested in breastfeeding while pregnant or simply want to learn more about it, here are five important tips to keep in mind before embarking on this journey.
Make Proper Nutrition your Number-one Priority
As a nursing mother, your number one goal is to make sure your little ones are full. While following a well-balanced diet is generally a good idea, it becomes even more important when you’re breastfeeding while pregnant. Think about it – you are helping your baby grow while meeting a large part of your toddler’s nutritional needs at the same time. Eating well is vital both during and post-pregnancy, so make nutrition your number one priority.
Start by consuming the additional 500 calories or more, depending on your toddler’s age. As your pregnancy progresses, you will need to take in extra 350-450 calories, depending on the trimester you’re in. Just make sure to eat a well-balanced diet and boost your caloric intake accordingly, and you’ll be fine.
Keep Track of your Milk Supply
Ensuring your newborn gets enough milk is key. For that to happen, you will need to keep track of your milk supply. During those first days post-birth, you may need to limit the feedings with your toddler. That way, the newborn will be able to get the colostrum. Until the milk comes in, it’s best that you feed the newborn first and then the toddler.
When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with an expert in the field and check with them before making any decisions. In fact, talking to a reputable lactation consultant could help clear any doubts you may have about breastfeeding while pregnant. What’s more, they can also help address any concerns a nursing mom has, as well as give valuable advice. This can help mothers continue their breastfeeding journey during pregnancy and beyond – and do so sans any worry.
Switch up the Breastfeeding Positions as your Pregnancy Progresses
Moms have different approaches to breastfeeding. Some may nurse on the clock, while others may breastfeed on demand. The same goes for positions in which they feed their little ones. From laid-back and side-lying breastfeeding to cradle and football hold, there’s a variety of positions to nurse your baby in.
What’s tricky is that, even though you’ve found the most comfortable breastfeeding position, that may change once you reach a certain period of your pregnancy and your belly does not allow for the traditional position where the nursing child is in your lap if your toddler is used to falling asleep while nursing, it may come in handy to introduce an alternative way postpartum to help your little one doze off, even if you continue to nurse them to sleep.
Be Prepared for Multiple Challenges
While breastfeeding while pregnant can be a great choice for mothers, it’s definitely not an easy one. For starters, the tenderness in the breasts during those first few months of pregnancy can result in breastfeeding discomfort. Latching onto the breast may be painful, so it pays to talk to your toddler about biting and how to avoid it (if they’re verbal).
Your nipples may also become sore due to numerous hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. It’s advisable to keep the feedings short in those times, so try negotiating them. Add extra foods and drinks to your toddler’s diet once the milk supply normally starts to decrease at some point during the pregnancy, and make sure to get some extra sleep during the day to compensate for pregnancy tiredness and fatigue.
Prepare your Toddler for a Transition
Welcoming a new baby to the family is a major transition for everyone, but especially your toddler. This is especially true when it comes to sharing what’s been only theirs for the past year or so. This is why you want to make sure to introduce your toddler to the idea of sharing their milk before the baby arrives.
They may be reluctant at first and may try to resist it in various ways. Still, it’s important that they get used to the idea of sharing the milk supply with their sibling early on, as this will help them prepare for what’s ahead.
Unless you’re carrying twins/multiples, experience bleeding or uterine pain, or your pregnancy is deemed high-risk, there’s no reason to wean your toddler during pregnancy. That said, just like breastfeeding in general, nursing while pregnant may not be for everyone. Consult with your doctor and decide whether breastfeeding while pregnant may be the best option for you and your little ones. While it’s not always easy, it is undoubtedly the best start to life.