If you’re still breastfeeding an older child, you may have a few questions. Is it possible to continue breastfeeding while pregnant? Is breastfeeding while pregnant safe for both my current and future child? How will this impact my milk supply?
Don’t stress, whether you choose to continue breastfeeding or want to start to wean, we’ve got the information you need!
According to childcare experts, the claim that it is dangerous to breastfeed while pregnant is old wives’ fables that have no scientific backing,
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the experts dismissed the notion that breastfeeding while pregnant can cause sickness to either the mother or the baby, noting that nursing mothers who got pregnant should not be afraid of breastfeeding their babies.
The paediatricians said what the women who find themselves in such a situation require is a strong mental state to be able to deliver on the two tasks properly.
One of the experts, a Consultant Paediatrician with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Dr. Chisom Ulasi, said while it is untrue that the baby or the mother would fall sick while breastfeeding, what may happen to the mother is that she may expend all her energy in nursing the baby and become burn out eventually.
According to her:
“I don’t know of any challenge a woman may face besides the fact that she’d probably be expending more energy because you have a baby that is feeding off you and your body needs to make breastmilk as well, so your caloric intake has to be quite high the woman may end up suffering.
“It’s either your breast milk stops or your baby will start getting slimmer. Either way, the woman needs to have the right mindset. With those, everything is good to go, you won’t have any issues whatsoever.”
Continuing, she said,
“All I’m asking is that she should learn to avoid anything that will stress her because if she is not mentally ok, something will give.
“It’s either the breast stops producing breastmilk or the baby in the womb might end up being affected in some way. Avoid all stress and everything will work out.”
Ulasi added that such women should strictly comply with the recommended intake of calcium as it is very important for both the baby in the womb and the infant being breastfed. She said:
“I know for a fact if you are pregnant and still breastfeeding, the Obstetrician and Gynaecologist must place you on calcium.
I don’t know what food intake you’d be taking that would provide sufficient calcium for you to breastfeed and at the same time provide enough calcium for your baby so nature has a way of making up for what is deficient.
Therefore, if the mother is not eating enough or maybe taking supplements that are rich in calcium, the body goes to your bones to extract the calcium that is there, that is why sometimes after giving birth you’d see a woman visiting the dentist because of multiple holes in her teeth.
There are other foods that are very rich in calcium, yoghurt is one of them. During my pregnancy, I was taking calcium once or twice a week and I noticed a difference.”
Ulasi urged the mothers to consume foods rich in calcium such as yoghurts, eggs, milk, and cheese.
Speaking in the same vein, childcare advocate, Dr. Ayodele Renner said no known evidence to prove that breastfeeding a child while the mother is pregnant would cause the child to fall sick.
He, however, said, “because both pregnancy and breastfeeding make huge demands on the body and the mind of the mother, she may opt to stop breastfeeding.”
Renner, also noted that if the mother has an underlying condition or the pregnancy is high risk or complicated, “one needs to discuss with one’s obstetrician about the appropriateness of breastfeeding in pregnancy.”
Renner was speaking in a post shared on his Instagram page.
While there are no risks associated with breastfeeding while pregnant, Webmd.com, a medical information site reveals in a recent article published online that lactation takes up energy in addition to pregnancy. It explained:
“Breast milk remains nutritional throughout pregnancy. However, its contents, quantity, consistency, and taste may change over time due to hormonal changes.
“Breast milk can become saltier, and its production may decrease as your pregnancy progresses.”
It can also cause nipple tenderness and breast soreness to the mother, the site stated in the article.