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Stop breastfeeding first-born since pregnant again?
Q: I recently found out I'm pregnant, and I'm still breastfeeding my first child. Should I stop breastfeeding? He's old enough to eat foods and drink from a sippy cup, but I have a hard time getting him to do that.
A: While it's physically possible to breastfeed your first child during your second pregnancy, it isn't always advisable. First, your body requires additional nutrition and energy to provide nourishment for two babies, and it may be challenging for you to avoid fatigue. Be sure to include a calcium supplement and adequate fluids if you continue to breastfeed. Second, suckling can cause uterine contractions. If you have any risk or history of pre-term labor, it would be best to avoid any stimulation to your nipples during the second and third trimester of the pregnancy. Perhaps the most compelling reason is that your first child may have an easier time weaning while there's no visible competition for your breast. It's hard for many babies to give up something as soothing as breastfeeding, and even harder if your child is also dealing with being displaced. If you wean your child now, you can provide him with extra attention and offer alternative activities to replace nursing. This becomes more difficult when you have a newborn in your arms much of the time. Ask your pediatrician for specific hints on ways to help transition your son away from nursing.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist