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Q&A: Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Elizabeth Keefe


Q I just found out I am pregnant with our second child, however, I am still nursing our 18-month-old. I am having a difficult time nursing her because my breasts are very sensitive and it is now annoying me. I don't mind but she wants to nurse all night long. I am very frustrated. I have tried to start weaning,but am having a hard time. Please help. If I can stand it, can I still nurse or must I wean her for the sake of the other baby?

A Because of the increased production of Estrogen and Progesterone, your breasts will feel tender during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is especially true if you are breastfeeding. This tenderness should only last for a couple weeks and then should get better and eventually pass. To help alleviate the pain, try wearing a good support bra (both day and night if you are full breasted) and apply heat. Also, ask you doctor if you can take a pain reliever. This is what the experts (La Leche League International) say. I found that wearing a bra was too uncomfortable. Try both and see which is more comfortable for you.

Your 18-month-old waking during the night may not have anything to do with wanting to nurse. If she has been doing so since birth, you may want to wean her from night time feedings. Try the tips on Getting Your Baby To Sleep through The Night If this waking at night is a recent thing ask yourself these questions:

Is she teething? Even though she may not show signs during the day, she may be experiencing pain during the night. Watch for drooling, swollen gums and biting. Try giving her some Infants Tylenol to alleviate some of the pain before bed. In the later months, because she should be eating more solid foods now, babies tend to nurse more for comfort.

Is she hungry or thirsty? Make sure she is getting enough to eat and drink during the day. She should be eating 3 meals a day plus a snack in between each meal. Your daughter is old enough to be eating more solid foods than breastmilk, and she needs the extra nutrition and calories.

Is she lonely? Is she getting enough exercise and fresh air? Give her plenty of play time so she will be tired when she goes to sleep. Whatever the reason for waking at night you need to find out what it is and handle it accordingly. Both you and your daughter need to sleep at night.

Unless you feel that you cannot handle tandem nursing after the new baby is born, I do not recommend weaning your daughter right now. Even if you did, she may want to resume nursing when she sees her little sibling nursing. She would feel left out. I recommend that all breastfeeding babies wean themselves. And she will - when she is ready.

Click here to ask your breastfeeding questions

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