Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Breastfeeding while pregnant

There really isn't as much out there as I would have liked on breastfeeding while pregnant. I searched and searched for someone with a similar situation as I was in, exclusively breastfed baby, not eating solids, still nursing every 1.5-2 hours around the clock, and, with a severe food allergy requiring me to eat a very strict diet. I was devastated and petrified that I would lose my supply and I felt like continuing to nurse was essential.

Arie was 7 months old when I found out that I was pregnant with #2. We were planning to wait to introduce solid foods until he was a year old because of the severity of his sensitivities.

He is now over 13 months old and still gets probably 60-75% of his nutrition from breastmilk.

An overwhelming amount of what I read about breastfeeding while pregnant hinted that one of several things would happen: that I would lose my supply, mostly long before baby arrived; that my child would self wean because my milk will change to colostrum again for the new baby; or, that I would find it too uncomfortable/painful/unpleasant to continue and would choose to wean.

One of those things, I had control over. I was absolutely determined that when we end our nursing relationship that it will not be because of me. I wanted this to be available to Arie as long as he wants/needs it.

I carefully and borderline obsessively monitored Arie's weight, behavior, and output making sure that I retained my supply. I have continued to allow Arie to nurse 100% on demand, 24 hours a day. I continued to bed share with him and allow him to nurse all night long, just as we had been.

I was advised by Arie's pediatrician to night wean him because he needed to gain weight (say what?! Yeah, we fired her after that.) and, to wean him completely around his first birthday because "it will just be too hard to breastfed two babies on demand." Excuse me?! I'm pretty sure that's completely up to me.

I completely disregarded that asinine recommendation. I wasn't going to wean him at night and I certainly wasn't going to do anything that might put my supply in jeopardy! All I can do looking back is shake my head at how foolish that was to say.

As the months have gone by, Arie has thrived. Some days he nurses more than others. He is still breastfed on demand and nurses for comfort whenever he's tired, overwhelmed, or gets hurt. Nothing has really changed with that except that he now lays curled around my growing belly instead of flat against me.

This journey has not been without challenges, however. Pregnancy brings nipple sensitivity second to none. There were a few months where, when Arie would latch, I would cry out or have to ball my fists. It was excruciating pain.

There have also been many times where my emotional brain has just had enough stimulation and I want my space and I do my best to get every part of me not touching Arie when he nursed and unlatched him as soon as possible.

We also went through his learning to bite and then not to bite phase while pregnant. And, like I said, nipple sensitivity during pregnancy is unlike any other.

For the first 16 weeks or so, I threw up almost every day, all hours of the day. The vomiting comes and goes, but HG with a baby to take care of brings its own challenges without adding breastfeeding 24/7 as well. I still have bouts of nausea and vomiting. I have breastfed laying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm for fluids from dehydration. (Should have gotten a picture of that madness!)

I can definitely understand why moms choose to wean during pregnancy.

But, I have been determined. We sort of go through highs and lows now. Some days, I don't want to be touched. Some days, I nurse with a barf bowl next to me. Some days, it hurts so bad I can't help but cry out in pain.

Through it all, I'm almost 30 weeks pregnant. I am so very happy that I have stuck it out and I wouldn't trade this for the world. I believe that breastfeeding is the best thing that I can do for my child(ren) and I love that I have not let anything stop me.

I just noticed that it appears as though my milk has changed back to colostrum without me knowing. Something about colostrum makes me so excited. I was so excited when it showed up when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Arie, and it really is this special high that I can't explain. Obviously, I know my boobs "work" but to see the process starting over for number two, so seamlessly, is just amazing. God's design never ceases to amaze me.

Arie is still happily nursing away.

If you're like me, newly pregnant and frantically searching for a success story of breastfeeding while pregnant, you've found it!

I can't wait to experience nursing both of my babies!

2 comments:

  1. I am currently 15 weeks pregnant and nursing my 9 month old. But my milk supply is basically gone. I’ve been trying to drink a lot of water and raspberry tea, I take Funugreek tablets 3-4 times a day, and I pump whenever I can…but I’m still not producing enough for my nursing baby! I’ve been doing this for over 2 weeks now and last night, 4 hours after my daughter last nursed, I pumped for 15 min and only got 1/4 oz. Is there anything else I can try??

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    1. I'm sorry you're struggling! It could be that since colostrum is thicker, it's much harder to pump! How is your 9 month old's output?

      I had bought an infant scale before I got pregnant and I carefully monitored my son's weight and weighed him daily. I also watched to see if he was meeting his milestones. He has grown VERY slowly since about 6 months on but that's when he started sitting up and then crawling and then walking and then running, so he's just burning a ton of calories.

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