Sometimes, even if you're planning to space out your kids, a surprise will come to you when you least expect it. Congratulations, you're pregnant again!
Having two kids successively surely sounds challenging in many ways, and indeed it doesn't come easy, especially if you're a breastfeeding mom. Providing nutrition for one child alone is physically demanding, what more two? So if you have a toddler and a new baby on the way, be sure to know what you're in for.
What to expect when breastfeeding while pregnant
1. Your toddler may refuse your breast milk.
Breastfeeding your baby is recommended from birth up to 2 years old and beyond, but should you get pregnant along the way, know that your body will go through some changes that will, inevitably, change the quality of your milk.
Around the third trimester of your pregnancy, your milk will shift back to a thick, yellow consistency. Yup, it's your body's way of welcoming the newborn — by making nutrient-rich colostrum. It's all good, actually — until your toddler notices that your milk is less sweet and not as rich as the one he's used to. Don't be surprised if he suddenly prefers formula over your breast milk.
When you're pregnant and breastfeeding, not only does your milk taste funny to your toddler — you may also notice a significant decline in your breast milk supply.
Remember when you were pregnant the first time and how exhausted you always felt? Your body was putting all its energies into making a baby, that's why. And this new pregnancy is no different. Because the developing baby is its priority, making breastmilk may take a backseat, according to Babygaga. Thus, you may need to have a plan for weaning your child from the breast. Be ready to supplement with formula if what you produce does not suffice for your toddler.
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3. It may cause preterm labor.
There's a reason nipple stimulation is sometimes suggested to induce labor: it produces oxytocin that can improve uterine contractions and facilitate faster childbirth. Breastfeeding your toddler has the same effect, thus the fear of premature labor. And while it is said that very little amount of oxytocin is released during breastfeeding, it is best to err on the safe side.