Can I Continue Breastfeeding While Pregnant?

young mother tenderly breastfeeding babyBeing pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to stop breastfeeding your child. Many years ago, doctors believed that breastfeeding while you were pregnant actually took away nutrients from the baby inside you; however, research today has shown that that is not the case. Even today, though, we have people that still believe this, and they will argue with you whenever you even dare mention the fact that you are or plan to breastfeed while pregnant. Only you can decide if you should stop breastfeeding your toddler or not. Don’t let someone else make that decision for you.

Reasons to Stop Breastfeeding
A few reasons you might want to stop breastfeeding may be if you are feeling constantly drained of energy. Or perhaps your child has started to bite (ouch!). Sometimes, your milk will just dry up; this is a way that your body can tell you that it has had enough and that it’s time for you to take a break from breastfeeding. Mastitis could play a big role in making you stop immediately as well. Mastitis is an infection in the breast when it isn’t expressed enough and gets engorged.

Stopping or Weaning
If you do plan to stop breastfeeding because you are pregnant, make sure that it is for the right reasons. If your child has reached a certain age, it might very well be best. But never just yank it away from them. Your child might wonder why it is being taken away. The might wonder if they had done something wrong, or they might even become discouraged about the new baby coming. Some children decide to wean themselves; this is always a pleasant help to you, and you shouldn’t feel so guilty about this. You can choose to do it cold turkey, or you can choose to slowly wean him/her off. Opting for the cold turkey route can have some bad results, however. A much better means of weaning your child off breastfeeding is by limiting his/her feeding times to certain hours, and, as time passes, take away additional feeding times. This will help your child quickly stop on his own so it won’t be quite such a traumatic event.

Continuing to Feed
If you do plan on continuing to breastfeed while you are pregnant, be sure to talk with your doctor about it. Not all doctors will agree with your decision. Sometimes, your doctor may see something in your health that you don’t see. Be sure to listen very carefully and find out if it is a health reason or simply your doctor’s personal belief. If it is the doctor’s belief, you can always seek out one that agrees with you. Being pregnant is hard enough at times; when you know that you have someone supporting your decisions, you’ll be relieved of some of that stress.

Don’t be surprised if your family and friends want to say something about it; in fact, expect them to give you all kinds of advice on how to stop and various books & articles they’ve read. Nicely explain to them that it is your person decision to make, and that you’ll do what you believe is best for your children. Try finding a support group in your area so that you have someone to vent to or talk about these issues. Check out if there is a La Leche League near you or online that you can join.

Remember that as long as you take proper care of yourself and your body, you’ll be able to safely breastfeed while pregnant.

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