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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What should I be eating for breastfeeding whilst pregnant?

    I am breastfeeding my almost seven month old daughter fully (with some solids and water) and have found out that we are expecting number two. What should I be eating so that all three of us are getting sufficient nutrition? I have been taking Blackmores Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Gold since the beginning of my first pregnancy, and have continued through breastfeeding.
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  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Do keep in mind, however, that nursing while pregnant won't necessarily be a walk in the park. For one thing (as you'll undoubtedly recall), pregnancy (especially during the first and third trimesters) is an arduous endeavor. Pair that with the toll milk production takes on your body (and energy level) and you could have a recipe for sheer exhaustion. For another, the combination of nipple sensitivity in early pregnancy and nursing a hungry baby can be a painful one. What's more, breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin (the hormone that causes contractions), so don't be surprised if you feel some stronger-than-usual Braxton Hicks contractions toward the end of your pregnancy. (Stay calm — in most cases, these “practice” contractions are completely safe and uneventful.) If double-mommy-duty is taking its toll on you and weaning feels like the only option, don't feel guilty about it (there'll be plenty of time to prove your maternal prowess in the years to come!).

    One potential snag you'll need to watch out for when you're a breastfeeding mom-to-be is a reduction in your milk production. In the beginning, you might have to keep a close eye on your supply — and your baby's weight gain — to gauge whether you're still producing enough milk or if a formula supplement might be necessary. (If your baby is old enough for solids, it might not become such an issue.) Keeping up your milk supply shouldn't be too difficult, so long as you make sure you're getting plenty of extra calories (after all, you're eating for three now!). Aim for a total of 500 to 800 extra calories (300 for the fetus and 200 to 500 for milk production), four servings of protein, and six servings of calcium each day. And don't forget about drinking: Focus on getting at least eight glasses of fluid per day.

    Do be sure, too, to talk with your practitioner (and the pediatrician) as your pregnancy progresses. If you need help, ask for it (especially if you do continue breastfeeding both of your children once the new baby is born).

  • Joy Anderson

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Joy is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has a special interest in … View Profile

    Arlene has made some good points, although I disgree that breastfeeding/milk production makes the mother more tired. I would like to add that if your milk supply diminishes during the pregnancy, then you may not be able to do much about that. This is caused by the pregnancy hormones, and it varies between mothers from there being no effect on the milk suppy to a complete disappearance of breastmilk, and anything in between. Your breastfeeding child may still want to suck even if there isn't much there, as breastfeeding is more than getting food. Regardless of this effect, your milk will revert to colostrum before the new baby is born. This may cause your breastfeeding child to have loose stools if she is still breastfeeding.

    The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a page on breastfeeding during pregnancy at https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/breastfeeding-through-pregnancy-and-beyond There is also a very good booklet about this topic. See http://www.mothersdirect.com.au/catalogue/aba-booklets-2/breastfeedingthroughpregnancyandbeyond

  • Dr Carolyn Ee

    Acupuncturist, GP (General Practitioner)

    I'm a Sydney GP with a special interest in women's health especially menopause and TTC ( trying to conceive). I specialise in acupuncture, and am … View Profile

    Hi there, congratulations on your new baby! You would want to focus on foods that are high in protein such as lean poultry and meat, eggs, dairy (but avoiding the soft cheeses - yoghurt is excellent and hard yellow cheese is fine), legumes and nuts. Ensure you have planned for three meals a day plus some snacks in between and don't forget the water.

    You will find that your seven-month-old will gradually reduce her feeds anyway and a lot of mums will find that by 12 months their babies/toddlers are only feeding once or twice a day and usually more for comfort. Solid food becomes more of an important part of their diet (and is important because breastmilk does not contain enough iron beyond the first six months).

    Do speak to your obstetrician early on about this, and get things like iron levels and Vitamin D levels checked so that you can supplement where necessary.

    All the best - it is possible to keep breastfeeding while pregnant, but remember you have to do what works best for you and your two babies, so “going with the flow” is the mantra for you :-)

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