Breastfeeding Through Pregnancy – Is She Getting Enough?

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For some mums, breastfeeding through pregnancy can be stressful.  One of the biggest concerns is  milk supply.

A lot of mums talk about their supply “drying up” during pregnancy.  I don’t know if this happened to me, because I just breastfed.  I wasn’t expressing milk or measuring how much came out of me.  I was still breastfeeding my son on demand (frequently – every few hours day and night).  I wasn’t focussed on letdowns or watching him swallow.  I just breastfed my son, and that’s all there was to it.

That said, something DEFINITELY changed at around 16 weeks.  My son’s stools and wind developed a foul, ripe odour that made my eyes water and my husband gag.  During pregnancy, your milk may change to colostrum, which is a natural laxative (to help your newborn pass their meconium).  I was very thankful that my son was doing all of his poo on the toilet at this age.

But as for whether or not I had “enough” milk, well, let’s look at the facts:
– Breastfeeding is about more than how many millilitres are being consumed.  No pump can measure how much love and comfort my son was getting from breastfeeds
– If he was still happy to breastfeed, then I was meeting his needs (whether his needs were nutritional or emotional didn’t really matter – whichever the problem was, breastfeeding was the solution)

If your child isn’t big on solids, don’t panic.  Keep your concerns about solid food in perspective – consider your child’s overall health and energy levels, not just what he’s eaten that day.

My son always breastfed throughout the night and in my second trimester, I night weaned him.  I felt he had increased his night time feeds, and it’s possible he was cluster feeding because my supply had been decreased.  However I feel it was more to do with the fact that I was pregnant and he was very aware that big changes were happening.

You may feel your child’s behaviour changes as your pregnancy progresses.  Considering the situation from your child’s perspective will allow you to address it more appropriately.  She doesn’t need more milk or food – she needs reassurance that life may change, but you will still be there for her.

We are always looking for new ways to doubt ourselves, but the truth is that women have been breastfeeding through pregnancy since the beginning of time.  If you’ve successfully breastfed up to the point of falling pregnant again, then you have every reason to trust your body’s ability to work the way it’s supposed to.

This information is general, and does not replace the advice of a medical professional.  If you have concerns about the health of your breastfed child I would encourage you to seek the support of an IBCLC.  You can also call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 MUM 2 MUM

 

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4 Comments

  1. I breast fed my first and second son whilst pregnant. My first son weaned himself around the 3 months pregnant mark, but I had to wean my second son around the 4 month mark as I was just too tired to keep it going.

    1. Some mamas definitely find breastfeeding through pregnancy really exhausting. I was lucky enough to find it relaxing – a perfect excuse to have a lie down and a rest several times a day!

  2. I breastfed right up until 8 months pregnant, when I weaned my son (then 16 months old). I don’t think I ever produced a lot of milk, so I doubt he would have noticed a drop!! I was working throughout my pregnancy too, so tiredness was a huge factor, but we soldiered on.

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