Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Dear yayas,

I’m 6 weeks pregnant with baby #2. My first is only 11 months old and still nursing (with no end in sight!). My goal is nurse her until the World Health Organization’s recommendation of breastfeeding until a minimum of age 2, but that means nursing while pregnant and then nursing her along with my newborn. Do mamas nurse through pregnancies? Is that a “thing?” Have any of you ever heard of nursing two babies at once?

– Pregnant & Pumping

Hi Pregnant & Pumping! Nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing are definitely options for a healthy mom with a healthy pregnancy. I nursed my toddler through my second pregnancy with no issues. Some mommas experience a drop in supply, which I had initially, but it came back within a few months. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I developed a slight nursing aversion but we got through it. After my milk came in with the baby, the taste changed enough that my toddler wasn’t as into nursing and weaned within 4-5 months. It was gradual and an easy process, and I encourage you to give breastfeeding through pregnancy a chance if it’s something you want to do! The bond it makes for you and both your babies is super! –Cortney

Dear Pregnant, Short answer: Yes, it’s definitely possible to nurse throughout pregnancy. With that said, my best advice is to listen to your body and your babies. Some mothers have little to no issues BFing while pregnant and others may need to wean for various reasons. –Diana

Dear P&P, Yes! Welcome to the world of tandem nursing! There are so many of us and yet so few. It’s not something that’s talked about very often, but once you find other tandem moms, you’ll see how many of us actually do nurse through pregnancies and then tandem after. Moms of twins are automatic tandem nursers (that thought often normalizes it for people who haven’t heard of it). I encourage you to join tandem nursing support groups online (think FB discussion groups). You’ll learn a LOT just by reading their questions and stories. I’ve nursed every day and night with no breaks for over four years (three kids), which means I’ve successfully nursed through two pregnancies and tandem nursed twice. There are some things to consider: you’ll need to pay attention to calorie intake, read up on nursing aversion, and educate yourself about tandem nursing since a lot of OBs are not familiar with it. This isn’t medical advice, just a heads up that this is an area I’d encourage you to research for yourself. There are a few books on tandem nursing as well. Best wishes on your BFing journey, mama! Hugs, Lori Beth

Dear Pregnant, Absolutely, this is a thing and it can be a healthy choice for you and your children. Read up and talk to other moms and your health care practitioners so you will be ready for the challenges and rewards of this experience. And, most importantly, listen to your instincts and honor them along with your body. Mothering is not a one size fits all endeavor. Having the goal to nurse your kiddos until they are two is fantastic. However, I encourage you to be conscious to not cling to achieving this goal at the expense of the mental or physical health of yourself, your littles, or your family as a whole. My wish for you is that tandem nursing will be a wonderful experience and that you will always give yourself permission to honor your body and your instincts. –Karen

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