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 Kellymom.com. 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!
Friday, June 18, 2010
Sorry I skipped yesterday. It was a... day.