Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
By Jennifer Clark, IBCLC. Revised September 2022.
Breastfeeding throughout a subsequent pregnancy is not unusual but many mothers get concerned that it may not be safe. The recommendation is to continue to breastfeed your child up to the age of 2 years and beyond and continuing to breastfeed throughout pregnancy is a special experience for both of you and your nursling. There are no definitive contraindications to breastfeeding while pregnant and there is no evidence that breastfeeding causes preterm labour or miscarriage. The milk is safe for your baby/child when pregnant.
Breastfeeding releases oxytocin which may result in you experiencing some uterine contractions, these are rarely harmful and are a normal part of pregnancy. If you are at all concerned then contact your midwife. You may find your nipples are more sensitive in pregnancy so ensuring your baby/child has a deep latch is key. Bring them in close as this can help with positioning. Reach out for support if you’re struggling with this and see our guide to positioning and attachment. Breathing techniques and distraction for yourself will help with this as breastfeeding aversion and agitation is more common in pregnancy.
Due to the hormones of pregnancy you may notice that your milk supply drops in pregnancy, most commonly around the 4th to 5th month. This can also change the taste of your milk meaning that some may wean or refuse to feed. If your child is under the age of 1 they still require milk as a large part of their diet and nutrition. If under 6 months you may need to introduce formula and if under 1 years you may need to increase water and foods for your baby to meet their needs.
Ensure you prepare for when you go into labour by getting someone to care for your baby/child and giving expressed milk if needed.
Picture ID. A mum breastfeeding a toddler around her pregnant stomach. Picture says Baby on board.