What no one tells you when you’re pregnant with your first baby is just how hard breastfeeding is! Somehow, you figure it out and hopefully go on to have a long breastfeeding relationship with your little one. What happens when you find out you’re pregnant with baby number 2, and your firstborn is still nursing? Breastfeeding during pregnancy has given me a whole new appreciation for mothers who extended-breastfeed, to say the least!
I’ve always said that one of my main goals as a mother is to tandem breastfeed. For those of you who don’t know, tandem breastfeeding is when you continue to nurse one child even after you have a baby and are now nursing a newborn as well.
Breastfeeding is tough! Carrying a growing baby and dealing with morning sickness while tending to the needs of a demanding toddler is no walk in the park. I can promise you though, it is so worth it. Here’s what to expect, based on my personal experience:
First, prepare for sore nipples! Actually, sore everything. For some reason, from very early in my pregnancy I had sharp pains shooting through both of my breasts, even when I wasn’t breastfeeding Nugget.
To compound matters, I was in my first trimester when Nugget started to get teeth for the first time. It became a painful game that I didn’t want to play every time he would decide to bite during one of our nursing sessions. Let me tell you, the first time your child bites you during breastfeeding, you’ll question your sanity the next time you think about willingly letting that piranha anywhere near your boobs again.
As I progressed into my second trimester, I had extremely sore nipples for no reason sometimes and actually had to refuse a few nursing sessions. It completely broke my heart to miss any breastfeeding time with my little Nugget, but the pain made it unbearable.
It was around this time that I realized breastfeeding aversion is a real thing. I’ve read stories online of women fantasizing about throwing their babies off of them violently during nursing sessions. While I luckily never got that urge, I can see how that isn’t such a crazy thought. It became like nails down a chalkboard to me sometimes when we would nurse. I can’t explain how or why, but this annoyed feeling definitely takes over.
My best advice for getting through this time is to breastfeed every chance you get when you aren’t feeling sore, and to try to pump to maintain your supply. By supply, I mean the supply in your freezer. From what I understand and from my own experience, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to maintain your milk production while you’re pregnant. Diminished supply or a complete loss of supply all together is just something that comes with pregnancy.
It sucks to see a supply you worked so hard for start to dwindle, but in just a few short weeks or months, that supply will (hopefully) be back with a vengeance after you deliver!
Your little one may actually reject your nursing attempts.
This is the one that surprised me the most. My son was the biggest boobaholic until just before his first birthday. Suddenly, he stopped enjoying our nursing sessions and started wanting his dad more at night to put him to sleep.
While it warmed my heart that the two of them were establishing an even closer relationship, it really broke my heart that my little boy didn’t need me anymore.
Of course he still needs his mama, but the only way to get that little man to sleep for almost a whole year was to nurse, and then to allow him to nurse on demand all night long. Suddenly, I was chopped liver and my husband was all he wanted at night.
He still falls asleep on his chest or will actually crawl over my husband to sleep between my husband and the wall at night. He doesn’t even want to sleep near me sometimes!
I’ve learned that this is all okay and that my son and I have a deep connection in other ways, even though our breastfeeding relationship may be drawing to an end.
The hardest part about breastfeeding during pregnancy is when you’re, well, no longer breastfeeding during pregnancy! We still attempt a nursing session a couple of times a day, but for the most part, my son wants to just poke at me or rub my belly. It’s almost as though he’s forgotten how to nurse some days.
If this is happening to you too, don’t despair. It turns out that lots of toddlers are actually interested in nursing again after the baby comes and they’re watching their new sibling nurse. They usually forget how to latch on, but you can always pump for your firstborn to make sure they’re getting all of the yummy nutrients from your breast milk.
Maybe it’s jealousy or insecurity, but whatever it is, I’ll absolutely welcome it if my Nugget regains an interest in nursing!
At the end of the day, pregnancy and breastfeeding are both such amazing experiences, but they do have an expiration date. One day very soon, I’ll be nursing a newborn and hoping my toddler is interested in nursing now and then. Until then, I’m going to enjoy every moment of our time together before we’re sharing our attention with a new little brother or sister.
Did you breastfeed while pregnant with another baby? Did your toddler wean during your pregnancy but start breastfeeding again after a new baby was in the house? Let me know in the comments!