Breastfeeding and new pregnancy

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It seems a young mother has just recently left maternity hospital with a small roll in her hands. But in just few months after this joyful event she understands that … she`s pregnant again


It
seems a young mother has just recently left maternity hospital with a
small roll in her hands. But in just few months after this joyful event
she understands that … she`s pregnant again. What should she do? A
newborn baby eats her milk with pleasure, and now it turns out that he
does not let his brother or sister his/her fair share. Should she
continue breastfeeding or quit it? Whom to prefer - a little older baby
or a new, just conceived life?

Strictly speaking, at least 2 years should pass between two
pregnancies. During this time a mother`s organism will be able to
recover from previous work, connected with baby expectation, delivery
and breastfeeding completely, and will also restore reserve of
necessary nutritive materials (minerals and vitamins). If this interval
is not observed, a mother`s organism is put in stricter, if not to say
emergency, conditions of work and often has to spend its own resources
to support a new life. In this case new pregnancy runs great risk.

What expects an elder one

Mother`s milk always remains a unique and valuable, appropriate and
balanced foodstuff for a baby. This value is especially incontestable
during first 6 months of life, when a baby`s alimentary canal is not
adjusted to digest other kinds of food yet.

The trouble is that on the background of hormonal changes, connected
with new pregnancy, milk can obtain unusual and unpleasant taste for a
baby, and then a tot can refuse from breast himself. It is unnecessary
to explain that  in this case you won`t do without a switch to
artificial feeding. But this is only one of possible variants of
development of situation, and may be you won`t face it.

Of course, baby age and health play an important role when you decide
whether to breastfeed him further. If your baby was born prematurely,
received or receives antibiotics, is retarded in physical and/or
psychomotor development, if he is disposed to allergy or pathology of
alimentary canal (obvious problems or a heritable disease), if you
notice signs of rachitis in him, then it`s especially undesirable to
deprive him of breast feeding. It would be good to prolong term of
breast feeding at least till 6 months for all babies.

Testing mother`s health

It`s not a secret, that any pregnancy is a significant shock for
maternal organism, as all organs and systems undergo various changes
and heightened loads during it. If you combine pregnancy with
breastfeeding, stress can become threatening. Will a woman`s organism
be able to cope with it? Certainly, you need to decide it with your
doctor.

General criteria to value such situation are: a woman`s age and health
before pregnancy, presence of chronic diseases, passing of previous and
present pregnancies (whether there is any threat of termination of
pregnancy, a woman`s state of health on its background). It`s necessary
to rely not only on a mother`s state of health, but also on results of
laboratory tests. For example, clinical blood analysis can signal about
low level of haemoglobin, when iron supply is wasted. If a pregnant`s
level of haemoglobin becomes threateningly low, then risk of
development of chronic intrauterine hypoxia increases (constant lack of
oxygen, coming through placenta, what affects, first of all,
development of nervous system of a future baby).

“Golden middle”

During breastfeeding, oxytocin is produced in a mother`s hypophysis. As
it`s known, this hormon causes contractions of uterine muscular system
during delivery. However, at least until the middle of pregnancy (20th
week) nervous cells of myometrium are insensitive to oxytocin. So, if
pregnancy is taking its normal course and uterus is healthy, a real
threat of premature birth while breastfeeding exists only in third
trimester (after 28-30 weeks). Until this term, oxytocin causes no
contractions of sufficient strength in uterus.

However, ablactation in second trimester is considered a “golden
standard” in midwifery - not later than in 20 weeks. By this moment
quantity of produced milk, as a rule, significantly reduces. However,
if there`re complications of pregnancy (threat of termination of
present and miscarriages while previous pregnancies, abrupt lowering of
haemoglobin level in blood, acute form of toxicosis, hysteromyoma
etc.), this can serve as a reason for ablactation much earlier - in the
first trimester, on the expiry of 12 weeks. Quite often heightened
sensibility of nipples, developing during new pregnancy, becomes a
reason for ablactation. Some can notice it closer to the middle of
pregnancy (in 18-12 weeks), others - much earlier, during first weeks
of it.

Support for mother

If a woman decided to continue breastfeeding after consultation with a
doctor, on no account she should forget the fact that now her organism
needs sure and balanced nutritional level strognly. It is not out of
place to support yourself with polyvitamins for pregnant women, but you
shouldn`t hope only for them: firstly, as it`s known, vitamins are
assimilated easier from natural food sources, not from pharmacological
preparations, secondly, you cannot change composition of these pills at
your own discretion, and this is fraught with lack or OverDose of some
components, what can affect a future baby health negatively. You should
pay a special attention to vitamins and minerals of “risk group”, which
are used up during pregnancy and breastfeeding especially actively:
these are calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, folacin. You should
increase consumption of protein, as it is the main “building material”.
And even if a woman stops breastfeeding, she shouldn`t think that she
is not threatened with lack of vitamins and minerals: as till recent
time her organism also had been working in an emergency mode and
without a break, and this means, it deserved heightened attention and
care.

Don`t allow competition!

Besides “pragmatical” moments, which we discussed above, you shouldn`t
forget about psychological side, in particular, state and feelings of
elder baby. Appearance of a second baby in a family is always connected
with competition and jealousy in a varying degree. In case, when babies
are still very little, question of breastfeeding can become a serious
apple of discord: who finally will get desired milk from a mother`s
breast? To avoid such dramas, you should stop breastfeeding of an elder
baby at least several months before birth of a younger one, so that
birth of a brother of sister would not be associated with weaning in a
first tot`s perception. Otherwise, this will only strain the situation.

Fortunately, the younger a tot is, the less time he needs to “forget”
about a mother`s breast. This means, that if there`re no
contra-indications, you can breast feed him little longer, moreover,
mother`s milk has much higher bioavailability for a little baby. During
half a year babies over 1,5 year can remember about breast feedings
with regret and try to recommence this way of nutrition. Such babies
can take hard appearance of a “competitor”. But if it happened, that
previous period of breastfeeding lasts longer, and a new pregnancy has
come on its background, a mother should try to stop breastfeeding an
elder baby as much earlier, so that he could get used to a new
situation and stand birth of a little one without psychic trauma.

It happens, that after birth of a new family member, an elder baby, who
has not managed to forget “the good old times” yet, also strives to
take part in eating milk from a mother`s breast. Here a woman makes a
decision, but in principle, everything is determined by quantity of
milk. Undoubtedly, you should give preference to a newborn one. But if
you have enough milk for two of them, then why not to give a treat to
an elder one? And you shouldn`t worry that composition of your milk
meets the requirements of a newborn one and hardly suits elder baby.
Elder tot needs this priceless product not so acutely from biological
point of view, but from psychological one - breastfeeding is always
useful.

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