Friday, June 18, 2010

Inquisition Friday

Sorry I skipped yesterday. It was a... day.

So I had another question on Facebook about breastfeeding while pregnant. I also get a lot of "You can do that?" questions in person (even one last night!).

I sent the original questioner to She knew a friend who was advised by her OB to wean because of pregnancy. For most moms, this is not necessary (see the FAQ I linked to).

I do experience uterine contractions while breastfeeding sometimes. I also get uterine contractions when we have sex. The contractions I get while breastfeeding are definitely not on the same level as orgasms. And most women can safely have sex during pregnancy. Obviously there are times when sex is not advised (threatened miscarriage, etc.) and those might be times when you would decide to not nurse for the time being.

Some women experience a drop in supply. Some women completely lose their supply. There really isn't much you can do: sometimes hormones win out. Breastmilk also changes in pregnancy to be less sweet and more salty and into something called weaning milk. In general, as a child nurses less, the taste and content of milk changes (this usually happens over years). In pregnancy, that process is sped up into months and so some children will wean because taste. And then there are other kids who simply don't care if you're producing milk or mud and will continue nursing anyway. I think Margaret is one of those.

Personally, I did experience a drop in supply around 4 months. Margaret started suddenly eating a LOT more food. But she kept nursing, especially for naps and bedtimes. In our current situation, I am making colostrum and have been since about 5 months or so. Margaret does like to nurse longer now that there is something there. She also has more runny poos. Colostrum is a natural laxative which is important for newborns who need to get meconium and bilirubin out of their systems. It has upset our ECing a little bit: Margaret had no poopy accidents from October until about 2 weeks ago. With the loose stools, she can't get to the potty as quickly as she used to, but that's normal and expected.

Some people worry about nutrition, but usually in pregnancy and nursing, eating and drinking until you are satisfied is a good rule. What changes most in breastmilk is the kind of fat present, so I take cod liver oil to make sure that there are plenty of omega-3s for the unborn and for my breastmilk. There is a good chapter on nutrition while nursing during pregnancy in Adventures in Tandem Nursing.

I know some people think, "Well after ____ given time, nursing isn't about nutrition anymore..." with an implication that either nursing is a selfish act for the mother or the child. Even if what the child needs at that moment is cuddles, they are still getting all the stem cells, immunities, and even those vitamins and water that breastmilk contains. There is nothing out there as nutritionally dense as my breastmilk for Margaret. I could get her juices and toddler formulas, but none of it would compare. The nutritional value doesn't suddenly disappear after a certain date.

Speaking of supplements, Emily asked, "Do you take any natural supplements in pregnancy? Do you take prenatals, fish oil, or do the Nature's Sunshine 5 W labor prep or anything? Just wondering on your thoughts about supplements."

Right now I feel like I'm taking everything in the book. I take cod liver oil for the omega-3s and vitamin D. I also take liquid chlorophyll and I've recently started taking Floravital, both to increase my iron levels. Now that it's nearing my due season (the solstice is Monday!), I'm trying to build up my iron levels to prevent hemorrhage when the big day comes. I will continue taking both of those as I recover postpartum. I also need to remember to make up my red raspberry leaf tea. I'm very forgetful in that area. Because I seem to be dealing with a chronic UTI and possible kidney infection or stone, I take a cup of cranberry juice every night before bed. I've also ordered some D-Mannose for that. I want to avoid taking antibiotics for it because I don't want to create yeast/thrush issues, though if the D-Mannose doesn't help, I may go see a urologist. I should probably cut out sugar.

As for a prenatal I sort of and sort of don't take one. I take one, but I don't take the recommended amount (4 a day!). I only take 1 because I do try to eat well. I figure that little extra can make up for day to day differences in diet.

We also just started getting our CSA box and right now the fridge is full of kale and chard and all kinds of goodies for green smoothies. I'm very excited for that.

Happy Friday everyone!


  1. Surprisingly, I never really got asked too much about nursing while pregnant. You have some good information. I never thought about taking more Omega-3's. But, Bug I guess I don't have to worry too much about it. I'm afraid of burping fish smell all day if I take fish oils!

    I feel like I'm taking a lot right now, too. I'm getting ready to go on vacation, and have been packing all my supplements for the week. One prenatal a day, nine alphalpha pills a day, two Tums a day (when I have horrible heartburn), one packet of RRL tea a day, and stevia to sweeten my tea. Phew! And I even stopped taking my B-complex, because it gave me a weird taste in my mouth!

    And on top of all that, I've been eating fabulously this pregnancy! I mean, who craves cucumbers over brownies???

  2. Wow, I had no idea about stem cells in breastmilk. Thanks for the info. ;) Certainly a nice piece of ammo for us extended breastfeeders.

  3. My son is one of those "would drink mud" nurslings. I have weaning milk and have for quite some time (not pregnant, we just don't nurse as often anymore). Still, when my son does ask to nurse he doesn't mind the weaning milk. Weaning milk compared to regular breast milk is kinda gross. It's thick, like glue and just tastes like salt. I'm still surprised my son hasn't weaned all together yet.

  4. I know how much you hate RRL tea... have you tried taking it in pill form? *B

  5. Thanks for answering my question! I'm going to try the 5W supplement since I have heard a lot of good things about it. It has RRL among other things that are supposed to help prepare the body for labor. Hope it helps!

  6. I've had some pretty bad antibiotic-resistant UTI's before, and all I can say is D-Mannose is great stuff! I would put my dose into my water bottle, so I would be sipping it all day for several days and not even notice it, really. I hope it works for you!

  7. Summers Camp- I'm getting used to the RRL. If it's chilled, the smell doesn't get to me as much and so the taste isn't as strong. :)

    The D-Mannose did show up and I've been using it. I haven't tested my urine since using it, but I do feel better.

  8. Natalie11:39 AM

    Hi Heather
    Quick question! How has babywearing worked since you have been pregnant? As the mother of 1 (so far) I just wondered if you have managed to wear Margaret at all.


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