So… after many questions related to this topic and tons of research it comes down to the same basic concepts, despite the source. I am happy to share with you the results of my hunt for the facts about breastfeeding an older sibling during early pregnancy of a new member!
One of the common myths is that it can induce pre-term labor or miscarriage. Although nipple stim is used in the delivery room to help get Oxytocin flowing in an effort to induce labor, that is only really true after week 38. Before that point the uterus is smart enough not to pay much attention to Oxytocin as the receptors are mostly napping and are very sparse. Once 38 weeks hit, your uterus’ Oxytocin receptors gradually increase and go to an average of 300x the amount after labor has begun! It is reported that miscarriages are usually not caused by anything mom did or didn’t do but instead something wrong with the way the baby is developing. (Things such as implantation, chromosomes, etc). So even though Oxytocin is still being released in small amounts during feeding or pumping, it has not been linked to miscarriages or early pre-term labor. In fact, the amount released during pregnancy with nipple stim is actually less than when a woman is not pregnant.
Something that does tend to happen at different times in the new pregnancy is a possible decrease in milk supply or a different taste in the milk itself. Some babies don’t skip a beat and keep right on schedule. Others however, esp if over a year old, can start to self wean. It is not necessary to wean your baby if you wish to continue breastfeeding. In fact, there are some astonishing numbers for moms who not only choose to continue feeding their babe in early pregnancy but, continue all the way to tandem feeding with the new baby! Experts of all kinds say it is a great way to introduce the new addition and keep your older sweetie feeling loved and cared for as well. It is a great way to continue to bond as well as bonding with the newborn.
Although weaning for the health of the pregnancy may be advisable for some women’s individual situations, during most pregnancies however, continuing to nurse or deciding how long to nurse is a parenting decision, not a medical question.
A great resource for a one stop shop would be www.kellymom.com which I recommend for all breastfeeding and lactation issues. They are a great place to start as well as talking to your local LC, Pedi office and even OB or midwife. The LeLeche League is a great community support as well.
Leave your questions here if you have other questions or topics you want to hear about!