Are you thinking: hey, if I'm breastfeeding aren't I safeguarded from pregnancy? Think again. If you find yourself knocked up while nursing, you're going to need some help. Luckily, we're here to hold your hand and guide you through pregnant breastfeeding and tandem nursing. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
Isn’t it Impossible to Become Pregnant During Breastfeeding?
This is a common misconception. While some women do not have periods during breastfeeding, others do and breastfeeding should not be relied upon as a method of contraception. It is entirely possible to become pregnant, even while exclusively breastfeeding so you should use another form of contraception, unless you are trying to become pregnant again. It’s important to note that breastfeeding has an effect on the uterus and can cause mild cramping. If you do experience cramping, have a history of preterm labor, or are concerned, always talk to your doctor or midwife about whether it’s safe to continue breastfeeding.
How Will Breastfeeding While Pregnant Affect Me?
Doctors advise that, in most cases, it’s safe to breastfeed while pregnant. You should always talk to your own doctor to review your personal circumstances, though. It’s important to eat healthily during pregnancy and breastfeeding, anyway, but obviously, it’s even more important if you’re doing both at once, so ensure you eat a healthy diet and take care of your body. When nursing during pregnancy, it’s common to have sore nipples, so try different positions if this affects you.
How Will My Milk Be Affected?
Around the second trimester, it’s normal for your milk supply to decrease as your body prepares to make colostrum for your newborn. Your milk’s taste may also change. These factors could lead your older child to wean from the breast on her own for the remainder of your pregnancy, but she may well become interested to continue nursing once her younger sibling (and your milk) arrives.
How Do I Feed Two Babies at Once?
It’s always recommended to feed your baby on demand and your newborn is likely to need more frequent feedings than her older sibling who will also be eating solid foods, so you will likely not be feeding both at the same time. However, if the older child wants to feed at the same time as the newborn, and you wish to feed both together, you could try a double clutch hold, which is also a great way to feed twins.
Where Can I Find Support?
There are lots of sources of support, so don’t feel alone! Your midwife will be a great source of support and advice throughout your pregnancy, and you can also find help from your local breastfeeding support group or La Leche League group. It’s a good idea to talk to other mothers who have been or are going through the same experience but you might not know anybody locally. Momtastic’s own BabyandBump forums have an active breastfeeding community and there’s even a long standing thread where people share advice, chat and help each other through breastfeeding during pregnancy and tandem nursing which I would recommend you take a look at. There’s also a book called Adventures in Tandem Nursing which is published by La Leche League International and includes the experiences of many tandem nursing mothers.