04 April 2014

Breastfeeding during pregnancy

It's not that I ever intended on breastfeeding throughout my pregnancy, it's just that I never really put an expiration date on my breastfeeding relationship with A. So when I found out that I was pregnant with J, it didn't occur to me to wean her just because I'm pregnant. If anything, it made me more determined to keep on nursing, as I knew just how much comfort she derives from breastfeeding and I felt that with things changing, it was the one thing that could remain the same. 

Breastfeeding while pregnant certainly wasn't a walk in the park. 

In the first trimester my nipples were super sensitive, making breastfeeding excruciating at times. In fact, it was one of the things that prompted me to do a pregnancy test (because of breastfeeding my cycles were irregular anyway). I soldiered on though - breastfeeding calmed A down (she was just about to turn two - need I say more?) and as always, it was a surefire way to get her to sleep. And seeing as I was tired all the time in those first three months, I didn't have the energy to change our current setup and often fell asleep with her.

The second trimester started out with strong nursing aversion, which took me by surprise. I had read about it before, but didn't think it would happen to me. I felt horrible and I could see that A didn't understand why I suddenly reacted like this to our special bonding time. I also didn't feel those strong sensations with every breastfeeding sensation, sometimes it would be just like old times and then - wham! - it would creep up on me again with the next breastfeeding session. The unpredictability made it difficult to manage. 

My milk dried up about half way through my pregnancy, but A still nursed for comfort. She was breastfeeding less frequently and also for shorter periods at a time at this stage though. This was a huge sigh of relief for me in the midst of the nursing aversion. I could manage 2 or 3 times a day, not 6 or 7. Thankfully the aversion went away around the sixth month of my pregnancy and I was enjoying cuddling with her again.

The last trimester went smoothly, though didn't last very long as Mr J was keen to see the outside world and arrived at 32 weeks. His arrival made me even more thankful that I had persisted in breastfeeding A throughout my pregnancy - breastfeeding is helping her cope with the new family dynamic and adjusting to life with a sibling. Nursing A also helped tremendously in getting my milk production going and keeping my supply up while J was in NICU - after all, it's much more pleasant to breastfeed a toddler than to hook yourself up to a breastpump! 

Did you breastfeed during pregnancy? Did you know it's possible? Share your experiences in the comments!

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