Note: This post is part our series in observance of World Breastfeeding Week and is sponsored by Woman’s Hospital.
Nursing While Pregnant
My daughter was only 6 months old when I got pregnant again in October 2014. I was nursing her and pumping at work regularly without any inclination that anything would change other than a once again growing belly. While my milk supply was never abundant and there wasn’t much of a freezer stash, I was making enough for her daily bottles.
By January, my supply had gradually dropped. I had researched and read that it is possible to nurse throughout a pregnancy and that sometimes only the taste may change, which could affect the baby’s desire to continue. However, it is also possible that your supply will drastically decrease due to high levels of estrogen and progesterone or for your milk to revert to colostrum in preparation for the new baby. My situation ended up being the latter. I had tried everything that was suggested (and safe to do during pregnancy) to boost my supply – even eating oatmeal cookies just about every day. I wanted to continue breastfeeding because I enjoyed it, but nothing I did could help keep it up.
A close friend who had her baby just weeks after mine had a good sized freezer stash that she graciously gave me when I finally just wasn’t producing enough on my own. I wanted to at least make it to my daughter’s first birthday in April so this was such a gift. With her curled around my little belly bump, I nursed in the mornings and evenings while she drank the other milk during the day.
As the extra milk was running low, we finally started mixing it with a formula I had chosen to get her familiar with the taste. And eventually she drank only formula for a little over a month until she turned one. Luckily, she weaned easily and acted as though she really didn’t have much of a preference. She even adapted to whole milk after her first birthday with no problems.
I would have loved to have nursed my baby for her full year, but I hadn’t realized that sometimes nursing and pregnancy don’t work together simultaneously. Did I feel like a failure? No. Was I ashamed of using formula? No. It was what worked for us in our situation, and I was glad to have nursed for as long as I did. I just decided that next time I would wait until after I’m done breastfeeding to get pregnant again.