Recently one of our mommy readers wrote to us with this question, ‘I am pregnant, do I have to stop breastfeeding?’ My immediate reaction is no, of course not! However, I thought there might be some medical reasons as to why someone might have to. So I delved a little deeper into finding her an answer. Lo and behold, there are some medical reasons one might have to stop breastfeeding, however, for the most part, keep on feeding mama!
Do you have to stop breastfeeding when you’re pregnant?
Will it make me go into preterm labor?
You may have heard that breastfeeding can cause mild uterine contractions. While you are correct, as long as your pregnancy is a healthy one, breastfeeding will not put you into preterm labor. How can breastfeeding cause contractions you ask? When you breastfeed, the hormone oxytocin is released (which stimulates contractions) however the amount that is released is so small, you have nothing to worry about.
Should I stop?
There are some instances in which you should stop breastfeeding once you learn you are pregnant. All of these should be discussed with your doctor (because I am no doc). If you are considered high risk or there is a risk of preterm labor, you should stop breastfeeding. If your doctor has advised you to steer clear of sex while pregnant, then he probably also informed you that you should stop breastfeeding. If you experience bleeding or any uterine pain, then stop. All of these things are related to preterm labor. The idea is to keep both babies healthy and it means stop breast feeding one, to make sure the other is safe, I would. The other time you might be told to stop breastfeeding is if you are carrying twins. Let’s be real here, it is possible to breastfeed twins and a toddler, but I know I wouldn’t want to do it. Even in that case, you most likely wouldn’t need to stop until your twins are born. But you might want to think about weaning.
Will it affect my milk supply?
Simply put, yes, your pregnancy may very likely affect your milk supply. You can combat this by making sure that you’re taking in enough calories to make up for the fact that you’re technically eating for three people now. No, that doesn’t mean double down on the triple scoops of pickle ice-cream, but talk to your OB or midwife to come up with a nutrition plan that meets everyone’s needs: yours, your nursing baby and the baby growing in your womb.
The bottom line is if your question is ‘I am pregnant do I have to stop breastfeeding’ my answer to you is no, most likely not. Consult with your doctor to be sure there are no real safety risks to be aware of concerning your specific pregnancy. However as a general statement, just because you are pregnant again, does not mean you have to stop.