You have mastered breastfeeding your child and you find out you are pregnant again.
Do you need to wean your child? The answer is no, not unless you want to. That’s pretty vague, right?
Like many things, it’s a personal choice!
There are some things to think about whether you decide to stop breastfeeding our child, or want to continue while pregnant.
Let’s discuss the pros and cons to breastfeeding while pregnant so you can make an informed decision for yourself.
Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding While Pregnant
First and foremost, let me just say that it is absolutely safe to breastfeed while pregnant! The pros are fabulous, and the cons are mostly smaller issues that you can easily overcome if you want to keep breastfeeding.
On the other hand, if you feel like the cons outweigh the pros and you want to stop breastfeeding, that’s okay, too. It’s your choice. Don’t let anyone push you into either direction. Weigh both sides and decide what is best for your family.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s check out the pros and cons of breastfeeding while pregnant!
Pros of Breastfeeding While Pregnant
It is safe!
I know I mentioned this above already, but it bears a little more detail. A lot of people believe that breastfeeding while pregnant can lead to a miscarriage because of the hormones that your body secretes while you’re feeding your baby.
Yes, you do secrete oxytocin, and yes that hormone is connected to contractions, but studies indicate that it doesn’t have much effect on your uterus until right before you’re ready to give birth. If it did, then we’d go into labor every time we kissed our partners or experienced the feeling of love!
It’s good for your baby!
You already know that breastfeeding is good for your infant, but did you know that there are pros to extended breastfeeding as well?
According to the Mayo Clinic, breastfeeding beyond age 1 can help provide balanced nutrition and boost immunity in your toddler. It can also help reduce the risk of certain diseases in YOU!
Gives you a reason to sit down and relax!
I could have put “it’s exhausting” under the cons, but I choose to look at it as a pro! You are (most likely) going to feel exhausted. This is not necessarily from breastfeeding a young child, but just from being pregnant.
The good news is that if you continue to breastfeed, you will be forced to sit and rest for a bit! Put your possibly puffy feet up and bond with your child in the quiet.
Cons of Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
There is an exception to the “it’s safe” rule
Like all things in life, there is an exception to the “it’s totally safe” rule. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, that oxytocin could play a role in bringing on pre-term labor. Talk to your doctor at the beginning and throughout your pregnancy to find out if you fall into this risk category.
You may have stronger Braxton-Hicks Contractions
Since breastfeeding releases oxytocin (which we established plays a role in contractions), you could experience strong Braxton-Hicks as you get towards the end of your pregnancy. While these aren’t dangerous, they can be super uncomfortable!
You will need more calories to keep up
You already know from breastfeeding that you are going to need more calories, and you already know from being pregnant that you will need additional calories as the weeks go by.
Depending on how old your breastfeeding child is and if you are supplementing with solid foods, you will need about 500 and 650 extra calories, and this is in addition to the extra you need to grow your new baby.
Things to consider while making your decision
As you decide whether the pros or cons win out, keep these things in mind:
You can breastfeed for part of your pregnancy
I know a few women who chose to continue to breastfeed throughout part of their pregnancy and then stopped at 7 or 8 months. This is also an option!
Go as long as you can. Do not feel badly if you feel the time has come to wean your child.
You’ll need a schedule to accommodate both kids when your new baby arrives
The closer it gets to your delivery date, the more you might be thinking that breastfeeding two children at the same time (or not at the same time) might be a little much for you.
If you are not ready to completely wean your child, think about just breastfeeding at night. Many women do this!
Only YOU know what’s best for your baby
Only you know your child and how she will handle being weaned, as well as how she will react to having a new little sibling.
Something to think about if you decide to wean your child before the new one arrives, is how is she going to react when she sees her new baby sister or brother eating from the same place you just weaned her from?
Of course, you will be preparing her for this new arrival and making her feel as a part of it and comfortable as possible, but kids have a way of throwing us off our game at times.
There are endless potential pros and cons to breastfeeding while pregnant. It may or may not be easy, but it is a choice you have as a mother. Whichever you choose, do not feel badly about your decision.
You can consult your friends or even other Facebook mommies out there and get their opinions and experiences on breastfeeding while pregnant and beyond, but ultimately the decision is up to you!