nursing while pregnant

i love nursing my babies.  with henry, it came quite easily.  no latch issues, no supply issues, just a baby that latched on in the delivery room and dubbed me the nickname “the natural” with the nurses.  with ezra, it wasn’t so easy.   in the hospital, he latched on easily but would unlatch and scream.  when we got home, he started losing weight and i deduced that i had an overactive letdown.  with the use of a nipple shield, ezra started nursing like a champ and gaining weight again (he lost a lot that first week).  we weaned off the shield in a little over two weeks, and he never had any issues after that.

 

i desperately wanted to get pregnant without weaning ezra.  i wasn’t going to wean ezra just so i could have another baby.  he is a baby, and self-weaning was always my plan for him.  even after months of trying with no success, i couldn’t bring myself to wean him.  i am so very glad i didn’t.

 

we conceived baby #3 when ezra was 23 months old.  i found out right before ezra’s second birthday that i was pregnant.  i wrote a post all about it.   my heart overflowed with thanks and love and excitement at the idea of this new baby, but i was just as excited that i’d get to try tandem nursing.  see, i’ve always seen tandem nursing as such a beautiful way to introduce the older baby to the younger one.  a way for them to bond, in the comfort of mama’s arms, sharing the milk they both are so very fond of.  i have a few friends that are currently tandem nursing and seeing their pictures just melts me.  i think it’s a stellar way to get two babies comfortable with one another, to show the older nursling that he isn’t lost in the shuffle or removed from his place in mama’s life.

 

now, i’m well-aware of the fact that many women aren’t able to nurse through their pregnancy, that the nursling weans somewhere along the line for one reason or another.  pain while nursing and pregnant is NO JOKE.  i had pain initially, but it faded pretty quickly.  i’m 16 weeks today, and in the last week or so, the pain upon ezra latching has become pretty bad.  but it’s nothing that i can’t handle, and he’s still enjoying nursing so i’m okay with holding my breath for a second so he can latch on.  i don’t have much milk left, but there’s still something in there because i can still manually express milk.  i’m thinking that whatever is there is minimal, because the sensations i’m feeling lately while nursing him are akin to those i’ve heard that accompany “dry nursing,” or nursing when no milk is present (so basically just nursing to pacify).  we didn’t give ezra a pacifier, while we had them in the house, he didn’t take to them and we had gone through such a journey with henry and his binky, we decided to forgo the binky altogether with ezra.  i’m so thankful for that decision now, because i truly believe it will aid in my goal of getting to tandem nurse.  ezra pacifies by nursing, not by using a binky, so even if the milk is gone he still nurses to pacify and that means he’ll likely keep nursing regardless of my supply evaporating.

 

i’m  happy to say that nursing while pregnant hasn’t been too bad at all for us.  ezra actually increased his nursing at the beginning of my pregnancy, and now he’s nursing as much as he ever has.  he still nursing to sleep at night, and on the rare occasion he naps (both my boys stopped napping altogether at two, so that was awesome).  he still nurses throughout the night, several times, though not for long each time.  ezra nurses during the day whenever he feels like it, and i love when he does because he crawls into my lap and positions himself like he would nurse as an infant.

 

my suggestion to mothers that are nursing and want to get pregnant, and want to continue nursing through the pregnancy is to do it. try it out.  it may not work for you, but it may not be that bad.  every situation and nursing relationship is intimate and the details particular to that duo.  i will say that there’s no reason to force weaning if it’s not in your heart.  i desperately wanted another baby, but i also wanted ezra to nurse until he felt he was done.  i had to wait, and wait i did.  it took me so much longer to conceive this sweet soul than it did with both boys, but i can now say on the other side of my struggle to conceive while nursing, that it was well worth it.  if i had weaned ezra and still had not been able to conceive, i would’ve been devastated.  truly.  so although my dreams didn’t become reality in the time frame that i desired, they came to fruition in the most beautiful way and i’m so grateful for that.  who knows?  if i would’ve conceived earlier, maybe ezra would have weaned.  the younger a baby is when you conceive, the more likely it is that baby will wean.

 

all things in good time.  everything happens for a reason.  all those cliches are true, as much as i hate to admit it.

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  • http://www.skymommy.com Abigail

    I’m glad nursing is working for you still so far. I always have been curious about tandem nursing since I hope to breastfeed as long as possible, but I’d still like my kids to be fairly close in age. I look forward to seeing how this plays out for you.
    Abigail recently posted…38 WeeksMy Profile

    • admin

      well, time will tell! for me, it was more important to continue breastfeeding the baby i had than to wean him just to conceive another baby! if i wouldn’t have gotten pregnant, we would’ve night-weaned, because often that is the reason women don’t conceive while nursing. between the hours of 11-5, that’s when our progesterone production is at it’s peak, so if you’re nursing a lot between those hours, it can affect fertility. my first two are 4 years apart; the next two will be 2.5 years apart. hopefully, the rest of our babies will be around 2.5-3 years apart. anything less than that and my husband and i feel like you can’t adequately give the attention to each child, and they deserve at least two years of your time without becoming a “big” sibling. that’s just OUR opinion, though! plus, we feel very strongly about self-weaning and cosleeping, as well as the other tenets of attachment parenting. and your ideals may shift and change once that baby is ACTUALLY in your arms! you’d be surprised how quickly time seems to lapse when you have a baby! those first two years speed by in the span of a moment. just remember this (as a mama to almost 3 kiddos, i’ve learned this!): remember that just because they’re mobile or verbal doesn’t mean they aren’t babies. i’ve seen so many people move onto the next baby once their baby turns one, and one is still SO LITTLE. i didn’t realize that until i had my second, how truly small and dependent they really still are at two. remember that although YOU may be ready for another baby, your baby might not be! just a little friendly advice from another mama that made the mistake of thinking her first baby wasn’t a baby because he was speaking in sentences at 13 months old, and walking at 9. it was one of my biggest regrets with henry.

  • http://jgrimbleby.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    I just stumbled across your blog from Playing House Full Time and I am so glad I did. This post spoke to me right where I needed it. I am nursing a 17 month old and am really ready for baby #3, but don’t want to wean. Problem is, I still haven’t gotten my period back. What I try to tell myself over and over is that my daughter is still a baby and needs me and this is my body’s way of telling me that as well. Thanks for this post and the encouragement it brought me.
    Jessica recently posted…10/52My Profile

    • admin

      hi jessica! i am so glad that this post brought you encouragement today! i remember feeling exactly the same way, and torturing myself with my yearning for another baby. but i came to a place where i realized how little my boy truly was and how his needs far surpassed my desires. i finally conceived baby #3 when we stopped trying and i started enjoying the baby i had! i so hope it happens for you soon, but if it doesn’t, know that this time you get with your nursling is nothing but beneficial. when writing this post, i had hopes of helping someone and i’m so glad you found some support from it! thanks again for reading and commenting, i appreciate it so very much!

  • http://whenbabysleeps.blogspot.com abra

    i love your story. and how your focus was on ezra and still is. and still with your other babies! you have such a beautiful heart. you exude a woman of faith and perseverance and patience!

    • admin

      abra, coming from you, this means so very much to me. i think of you as that example, a woman that has a soul full of the Lord’s love and yet is dedicated to her sweet family in every sense of the word. you’re an inspiration to me, to so many moms and women, and i’m so thankful i know you. your words did a lot for my weary spirit today.