Since Shira was born, several people urged me to start using birth control. The reasons suggested were various: my body needs time to recover after a pregnancy; having a baby and a child under two is nearly impossible to manage (I wonder, what about people who have twins then?) and finally, if I fall pregnant while breastfeeding, I will either run out of milk on my own, or must wean immediately.
Now, I'm not under an illusion that it's impossible to fall pregnant again while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may reduce the chances of another pregnancy, but I have heard of more than enough women who became pregnant while breastfeeding, even exclusively, when their baby was still very small. I might find out I'm one of those very fertile women. And of course it would be very sad to wean my little Shira too soon, or to switch to formula. But is it true that breastfeeding during pregnancy is impossible?
From the La Leche League website:
"Relatives, friends and health care professionals may express doubts about breastfeeding while pregnant. Their concerns might include that you would be risking the health of your unborn baby. It may be reassuring to know that in a normal pregnancy there is no evidence that continuing to breastfeed will deprive your unborn child of necessary nutrients."
"Women who breastfeed while pregnant often find their milk supply decreases around the fourth or fifth month. If your breastfeeding baby is less than a year old, watch his weight gain to be sure he is getting enough to eat. It's also not uncommon for the flavor of your milk to change. These changes may prompt some older toddlers to nurse less often or to wean entirely."
My mother told me that when she got her period again (I was 7 months old), I immediately sensed the change in flavor of her milk, and liked it far less than before, and then gradually self-weaned. I'm not sure I can have any control over the flavor of my milk in case I get my period again, and/or become pregnant, but I heard there are some supplements that can boost milk supply. I plan to research this if need arises - I'm still very new to breastfeeding, as you know.
Obviously, being pregnant and nursing would put a strain on a woman's body, which is why adequate nutrition and proper rest become even more important. If I become pregnant when Shira isn't at all close to reasonable weaning age, I plan to make every effort to continue breastfeeding her during and even after pregnancy.
Once again, I will pass a question to you ladies: do any of you have experience of nursing an older baby while pregnant again? Did any of you nurse a newborn and an older sibling/s? How did it work out for you, and what recommendations can you give?