Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Weaning

There isn’t a lot of information about breastfeeding during pregnancy so I thought I’d share my experience.  My goal for breastfeeding was to make it at least a year.  Right after Avery’s first birthday, I found out I was pregnant.  At that time she was nursing about 4-5 times a day and usually once at night.  I have never had a high risk pregnancy or any pre-term labor so I felt comfortable continuing to breastfeed during my pregnancy.  I probably should have said something to my OB about it, but I kept forgetting. 

When I found out I was pregnant, I was 3 weeks 3 days, so it was super early.  I wasn’t having any symptoms at that point but I was a little sore during feedings.  Nothing bad and I planned on continuing as we were.  Around 5 weeks, my morning sickness kicked in.  At that point I cut out the middle of the night feedings.  Besides it being way overdue, it just made me more nauseous which in turn made it harder to fall back to sleep.  Mike got up with her for a while in the middle of the night and in a couple of weeks she was sleeping better.  I was still nursing her about 4-5 times during the day.

Then the pain started.  Nursing was painful before the morning sickness kicked in but it got a lot worse a few weeks in.  I don’t remember exactly at what point the pain became excruciating but it was around the same time or shortly after the morning sickness started.  I’d compare the pain to the pain when nursing a new baby.   It was that bad.  Not bad, like after a few weeks where it only hurts when the baby latches on, bad like in the very beginning when it feels like your skin is going to fall off the entire time the baby is nursing.  I wanted to cry. 

I didn’t quit though.  Avery really loves nursing and wasn’t a huge fan of sippy cups at that point.  We slowly cut back though.  I started with mid-morning and mid-afternoon feedings first, one at a time.   Those were easy to cut out, she didn’t really care about them and didn’t usually eat very long at either. 

We continued to (very slowly) cut back on nursing sessions until the only one left was before bed.  I was glad to still be breastfeeding at least some, and she really enjoyed nursing right before bed the best anyway.  I wanted to continue until 18 months, to help with cold and flu season.  I thought that if we could at least keep up with once a day, if she were to get sick we could increase as needed and my milk would help keep her healthy.  My nausea was still pretty bad but not really made worse by nursing once a day.  The pain was still excruciating.  We ended up weaning completely, right before she turned 15 months, I was about 14 weeks pregnant.  I would say it was harder on me than on her, but the pain was just unbearable.  She seemed to do fine with it and hasn’t really seemed to miss it at all. 

Part of me wishes we could have gone longer, but I think that would be the case no matter how long we lasted.  I never had any problems with engorgement with weaning, low supply before weaning, and Avery didn’t seem to be bothered with any change in milk flavor (when she’s normally pretty picky about such things).  I was super worried she would get sick right away but she hasn’t.  I only lasted 10 months with Garrett so I’m pretty proud of myself for making it 15 months with Avery. 

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6 thoughts on “Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Weaning

  1. I think it’s fantastic that you were able to nurse Avery that long! I did 13 months with #1 — I wanted to do it longer, but he just completely lost interest. Because of preemie issues I didn’t get to nurse #2, but I did pump for him for a few months. #3 loves nursing and I’m hoping he’ll go 12-18 months. =)

  2. The pain of nursing during pregnancy can be pretty torturous! I nursed during my last 2 pregnancies and it was a huge struggle. You did great, breastfeeding for that length of time!

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