Nursing While Pregnant

QUESTION

Dear Lactation Consultant,
I'm a month pregnant and am also nursing a 7-month-old. She's interested in starting solids, but still enjoys nursing. Do you have any special advice?

Shall I aim on weaning her over the next month or two?

Thank you in advance for answering my question.

ANSWER

Congratulations on your new baby!

You're asking good questions. The one thing you might want to keep an eye on is your 7-month-old's weight gain as your pregnancy progresses. Usually a woman's milk supply begins to seriously dip and then turn to colostrum around the fourth or fifth month. Since your current baby will be less than one year old at the time, it may be necessary to supplement. Your baby's weight gain will tell you if this is necessary.

Ideally a baby in the six months to one year age range should be gaining about 2 to 4 ounces per week. If the weight gain is in this range, no supplements are needed. If it is less than 2 to 4 ounces a week, you may need to give some formula in addition to whatever solids your baby is taking. Talk to your pediatrician about his or her recommendation about an appropriate supplement for your baby.

Regarding weaning, there is no reason to wean unless you were planning to do so anyway. There is no evidence that continuing to breastfeed through a pregnancy has any disadvantages to a well-nourished mother with a normal pregnancy or her unborn baby. In fact, after the birth some mothers nurse both the older and the new baby. It's entirely up to you. Your milk supply will adjust to nursing two.

-- Nancy, IBCLC

Kathleen Tackett

Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a health psychologist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Research Associate Professor of Psychology specializing in women's health at the Family Research Lab, University of New Hampshire. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in both the Divisions of Health Psychology and Trauma Psychology. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a La Leche League leader, chair of the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Taskforce, and the Area Coordinator of Leaders for La Leche League of Maine and New Hampshire.

Dr. Kendall-Tackett is author of more than 140 journal articles, book chapters and other publications, and author or editor of 15 books including The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood (2005, Hale Publications), Depression in New Mothers (2005, Haworth), and Breastfeeding Made Simple, co-authored with Nancy Mohrbacher (2005, New Harbinger). She is on the editorial boards of the journals Child Abuse and Neglect, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse and the Journal of Human Lactation, and regularly reviews for 27 other journals in the fields of trauma, women's health, interpersonal violence, depression, and child development. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is the "Ask a Lactation Consultant" columnist on Pregnancy.org and serves on the Board of Directors of Attachment Parenting International.

Dr. Kendall-Tackett received a Bachelor's and Master's degree in psychology from California State University, Chico, and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in social and developmental psychology. She has won several awards including the Outstanding Research Study Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and was named 2003 Distinguished Alumna, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California State University, Chico.