Can you breastfeed while pregnant?

baby being breastfed

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |
Updated on

'Can you breastfeed while pregnant?' is a common question that crops into the minds of many mums who already have a baby but are expecting another. We spoke to Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife to find out.

Can you breastfeed while pregnant?

“Yes, you can,” says Lesley. “When you are breastfeeding and become pregnant with a new baby, it is quite common for your older child/ren to continue to breastfeed.

“It is considered safe to breastfeed through a healthy pregnancy. There is no evidence that doing so could cause premature labour or that your older child would take nutrients from the new baby. Breastfeeding through pregnancy cannot harm your unborn baby in any way.”

Related: A guide to the best breastfeeding apps

What else do I need to be aware of if I’m breastfeeding while pregnant?

“When you are breastfeeding during pregnancy, your milk supply can sometimes slow down or even stop, which may cause a bit of frustration to your breastfeeding child,” explains Lesley. “Also, the flavour of your milk may change, which may lead a few children to self-wean (completely or only during your pregnancy) if they don’t like the taste.

“Another thing to consider is that some women can suffer from nursing aversion during pregnancy. This is when you feel like you do not want to breastfeed your older child because it feels uncomfortable or even painful. Nursing aversion is hormone related and can be felt more or less (or not at all) at different times of the day.

“During pregnancy, you may feel some very mild tightenings whilst you are breastfeeding, but these usually stop as soon as the feed is over and, for most women, are not noticeable. There is no evidence that breastfeeding during pregnancy could cause a miscarriage or lead to premature labour.”

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