I want to be able to breastfeed at least two years, maybe more - is this realistic?
We're planning on having a baby within the next year or so, our first, and I'm on this board to learn as much as I can and prepare - hence all the questions!
I'm already thinking about how I will be "mothering" my children, even before conception, up to, well, as long as they'll want me! We are thinking to have them back to back, so I'll be a stay-at-home mom for as long as I can.
I would like to breastfeed for at least the first two years. Is this a realistic goal? Does it really depend on whether or not the baby wants or can take the milk? Or me producing enough? Also, if I remain pregnant again during breastfeeding the first, can I still breastfeed through out the second pregnancy? I may sound crazy!! But it's really a maternal need within me and I know I won't really understand it until I go through it, but mentally I'm already "thinking" it to happen. I have been reading how advantageous it will be to my baby's health and that's all I care about. Advice, thoughts?
I breastfed my soon to be middle child until he was 18 months and I know a few moms that have nursed longer. My understanding is that it isn't recommended that you breastfeed while pregnant because it takes too much out of you. It can also be difficult to conceive while breast feeding because most women won't ovulate while nursing full time.
My sister breastfed her older son throughout her pregnancy and then with her younger son breastfeeding as well. Obviously the older child wasn't getting all his nutrition from his mom or anything, but it didn't stop her from getting pregnant and it didn't wear her out. The age gap between the boys is 3 years. (My sis is a fan of breastfeeding.) I bf'ed 18 months but as far as my son was concerned, it could have been a lot longer -- I had to wean because of going onto the high hormone doses required to do a subsequent IVF try, otherwise would not have quit, 18 months felt early to stop, to me. He wasn't getting a ton of milk by then but he still found it very comforting.
I am still breastfeeding my 2-and-a-half year-old and am now 7 weeks pregnant. I did cut back on my son's nursing to help me get pregnant because it was taking a long time to get pregnant again (and I am also older). He was and still is only breastfeeding about twice a day, once before bed and first thing in the am. I also know many other moms who conceived while breastfeeding. It is totally safe to breastfeed during pregnancy - just keep in mind that it can hurt, as your nipples can get really sensitive, and after several weeks your milk supply really starts to dry up - so you may want to wait until your first baby is at least a year and gets all the milk that he/she needs first.
Thank you all for your insight and advice. You are giving me so much to think about!
Like I've said, it's more of a maternal feeling - I can't imagine the physical feelings, however, it is not deterring me in the slightest! I want and hope to stick to my 24 month plan...24 - 30 months ideally.
Just a few more ques I thought about, if you don't mind. Again, sorry if they sound stupid - I'm 100 percent clueless!
1. By me drinking milk, will I produce more milk? Juices, smoothies - would they also help produce more?
2. I have been told breastfeeding is like a contraceptive, however, many remained pregnant with twins...can someone explain how? It sounds like they would cancel themselves out, no?
3. Can baby be fed formula too, in between breast-feedings? I'm thinking just to help me out when/if I get pregnant with #2 during this time.
4. Would it be appropriate to "force" baby to feed from breast when s/he starts weanning too "soon?" I mean, I wouldn't never avoid formula!! But would I be able to "force" a hold on him/her closely to me for feedings?
Sorry for all the questions - I'm trying to learn!! THere are so many books too - I don't know where to start with them!
1. Fluid in your system helps you produce milk, not milk products per se.
2. Don't understand "however many remained pregnant with twins"
3. Baby can be fed formula between breast-feedings. But if you are pregnant again and that is why you want to formula feed, don't bother. By then baby #1 will be on solid foods to some extent, and will be doing the nursing largely for comfort, not for nutrition. If every bottle of formula the baby drinks is some milk he or she is not taking from the breast, that will reduce your milk supply. (It's definitely a situation where sucking stimulates the ability to keep producing milk.)
4. The baby will not wean himself if he likes breastfeeding. If you are worried that he will wean himself too soon and you want him to actually keep getting breast milk, you can pump and feed him the breast milk. But usually moms have the opposite, exasperating problem of a kid in the grocery store who is old enough to clearly articulate "nurse! nurse!" while putting his hand down Mommy's shirt in front of the interested cashier, before they have the problem of a young baby who gets disinterested in nursing.
where I said "fluid in your system produces the milk, not milk products per se," I meant fluid in general is productive or milk, but cows'-milk products do not have an added advantage for the mom in terms of making more milk than do other fluids. In fact, my doc told me to drink non-alcoholic beer.
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