Adaobi is a nursing mother. Her son is ten months and some days and she had breast-fed him exclusively for six months. For some couple of days, she has not been feeling so well. She and her husband Adeyemi have gone for family planning and pregnancy was not expected until in at least two years.
To their surprise, the doctor announced to them during her visit to the hospital that she is three weeks pregnant. The news of the pregnancy was not a very happy news for the couple and for Adaobi in particular. Childbirth was very painful for her and she’s been finding motherhood very challenging. How could she possibly cope with her ten months old baby and another one on the way?
Adaobi had promised herself she would breastfeed all her children for two years. Her baby is just ten months old; can she still breast-feed him now that she’s pregnant? Is it safe to breastfeed while pregnant? Would he be harmed in any way if she continues to breast-feed him? Would her unborn baby be negatively affected if she continues to breast-feed?
If you are currently in Adaobi’s shoes or if as a woman,you have always wondered if it is possible or safe to breastfeed while pregnant, the following information should help:
- Your body would continue to produce milk even while you are pregnant, you can therefore continue to breastfeed your baby during pregnancy as long as you are healthy
- Do not entertain any fear that your older baby might use up your milk before your new born is delivered. Your body will continue to produce enough milk as needed
- Your breast’s milk supply would lessen during the fourth and fifth months of pregnancy. This may be a source of concern if your baby is feeding exclusively. Additional feeding would be necessary to ensure your baby is properly nourished
- It is very important that you eat well and ensure it is a healthy balanced diet. This is crucial for the health of your feeding child and unborn child
- It may however be necessary to wean your baby if: you’ve once had a miscarriage or premature labor, have some bleeding, you are expecting twins, have been advised to abstain from sex, and you have a high-risk pregnancy
- Nausea, fatigue and sore nipple is not uncommon during pregnancy. If you do experience any of these, you can still breastfeed your baby
- After giving birth, you can breastfeed both your new-born and older baby if you wish to. This is known as tandem feeding.
- Tandem feeding can reduce your risk of mastitis (an inflammation of the breasts)
- Ensure you wean your baby before delivery if you do not wish to feed him and your new-born at the same time
The decision to breastfeed or not during pregnancy is largely a matter of choice. Your baby would not be harmed in any way if you choose to breastfeed him/her while you are expecting your new born. Antenatal is very important; try not to miss any of the sessions and follow the instructions given to you.