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Breastfeeding while Pregnant

 

Whether you were hoping to have babies close together or you had a happy accident, one of the first questions you’re sure to wonder about is whether you can continue to breastfeed your baby while you’re pregnant with her little brother or sister. In most cases, the answer is yes.

There are some exceptions in which it’s not generally a good idea to continue breastfeeding while pregnant. These include:

  • You have a history of pre-term labor.
  • You are bleeding.
  • You are experiencing uterine pain.

The main reason doctors discourage breastfeeding under these conditions is that breastfeeding can stimulate contractions. Under normal conditions, this will only lead to stronger Braxton-Hicks contractions, but in cases where pre-term labor is a concern, your doctor may advise against breastfeeding.

There are some considerations to be aware of when deciding whether to continue breastfeeding or to wean your first baby. These include:

  • Sore nipples or breasts. These are a normal pregnancy symptom, but they can make breastfeeding painful.
  • Milk reduction. In some cases, women produce less milk while they are pregnant. You may need to consider supplementing with formula or solids if you aren’t doing so already.
  • Baby may want to wean. This often happens late in your pregnancy, when you begin to produce more colostrum. Your milk will taste different, and your baby may wean herself.
  • Tandem nursing. You will need to consider whether you’re ready to nurse two babies at once. If you are willing to do it, you will want to take some time to research tandem nursing tips.

With all that said, if you want to continue nursing your baby while you’re pregnant with his sibling, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s perfectly healthy for you and your baby. You will want to make sure that you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet with an extra 600-700 Calories and plenty of fluids. Remember, you are not only eating for two, but also to continue producing milk for the one you are breastfeeding.

One final note: If you intend to wean your child before the baby is born, do so at least two months before the new baby is due. Trying to wean your older child while caring for a newborn is more than most moms will want to handle all at once.

Posted in Breastfeeding |
Losing Weight by Breastfeeding

If we’re honest, most of us are eager to lose the baby weight as soon as we can after baby is born. It’s one thing to have a big belly when we’re pregnant, but no one wants to carry around a lot of extra weight afterwards. Believe it or not, studies consistently show that one of the best things you can do to lose weight after your baby is born is to breast feed her.

We all know that breastfeeding is healthy for our babies. Experts typically recommend that you feed your baby nothing but breast milk for the first six months after you give birth. In addition to being healthier for your baby, it carries several benefits for you, including:

  • Self esteem.
  • Lower instances of post partum depression.
  • Lower instances of breast cancer
  • Lower instances of osteoporosis later in life.
  • Closer attachment with baby.

Of course, this is all in addition to the fact that you will find it easier to shed those excess pounds when you are breastfeeding your baby. Lactation, as it turns out, is really good exercise. By simply breastfeeding exclusively, you can burn as many calories per day as you would if you spent two hours jogging or doing some other kind of light aerobic workout.

Most of us don’t have the kind of time, to say nothing of energy, to spend two hours every day exercising, especially when our babies are small and need to eat every three hours or so. Breastfeeding is nature’s way of taking care of our needs and baby’s needs all at the same time. Baby receives the most nutritious food on the planet (for babies, anyhow) and you burn 600 calories per day. Everyone wins.

Of course, losing weight after you give birth takes more than just breastfeeding. It’s still important to eat a nutritious diet and to exercise regularly. But, if you breastfeed your baby, take her out for regular walks, and eat a sensible diet, you’ll find that you drop the weight a lot quicker than others who bottle feed their babies will.

Posted in Breastfeeding |
Can Breastfeeding Help with Depression?

All too often, mothers dealing with postpartum depression are encouraged to distance themselves from their newborn babies. Of course, doing this may require mothers to stop breastfeeding. However, research tends to show that mothers who breastfeed their babies have much fewer instances of postpartum depression. Even those breastfeeding mothers who do suffer from postpartum depression tend to have less severe bouts than mothers who do not breastfeed their babies.

We would do well to consider and deal with some of the other causes of postpartum depression rather than giving mothers what amounts to bad advice. Of course, a number of the factors leading to depression (most notably fatigue) does stem from taking care of the considerable needs of a newborn baby.

In many cases, a mother’s fatigue can be greatly alleviated by having her partner take over as many of the non-feeding baby responsibilities as possible. Dad may not be able to breastfeed, but there’s certainly no reason he can’t change diapers, burp the baby, bathe the baby, or do any of the dozens of other little chores which taking care of a baby requires. If the father is no longer in the picture for one reason or another, consider recruiting your parents or a friend to help out with the baby to give yourself some much needed rest.

Breastfeeding helps to develop the nurturing relationship between a mother and her baby, directly impacting one of the major symptoms of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding forces women to slow down and focus on the act of nurturing and feeding the baby.

It should be noted that if your postpartum depression becomes so severe that you are in need of medication to curb thoughts and emotions which may be harmful to you or the baby, you should absolutely check with your doctor regarding whether or not it is safe to continue breastfeeding. While breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby in most circumstances, there are some instances where medications (whether for depression or something else) can cause your breast milk to pose a danger to your baby, and we certainly wouldn’t encourage you to continue breastfeeding in such cases.

Posted in Breastfeeding |
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