We are running a series on tandem nursing this month on our blog and have recruited stories from great moms across the globe! You will hear stories about nursing while pregnant, challenges of tandem nursing and the joys of nurturing your babies. Our third story comes from Carla Molina Martins. Read on to share in her story of breastfeeding while pregnant.
by Carla Molina Martins
My husband and I are one of those couples who knew immediately after our first born arrived that another baby was in our near future. Dessa arrived in the summer of 2007 and we decided in all fairness to her, we’d wait a year to try and get pregnant again. We reasoned it would give us a good year and then some to devote solely to her, to really get to know her. When we got pregnant with our second baby, I was surprised at how many of my emotions centered around Dessa and not the new baby in my belly.
One of my biggest concerns when I got pregnant again was if Dessa would continue to breastfeed. When I got pregnant, she was over a year old and still nursing a lot, mainly in the evenings. I’ve loved breastfeeding since the beginning and it broke my heart to think our decision to get pregnant so soon was going to rob her of such special bonding. I did research and spoke with my midwife; everything told me one of four things might happen – a. the change in my hormones would alter the taste of my milk to a flavor my daughter might not like and, as a result, gradually wean herself off or b. her natural instinct to wean would just happen to coincide with my pregnancy or c. the change in hormones in my body might cause me to stop producing milk or d. if I were really lucky, my daughter would just keep at it like nothing.
As optimisitc as I am, I was sure my pregnancy would lead to an abrupt, unnatural end to Dessa’s breastfeeding days. Despite my instincts, I kept on nursing on demand. We hit the 14 week mark – still breastfeeding. We hit 24 weeks – still going strong; 30 weeks – still loving the boob. Don’t ask me why but I still didn’t believe I’d make it all the way to the end of my pregnancy successfully breastfeeding. Now I’m 39 weeks and still nursing our first born. She doesn’t nurse quite as often or for quite as long but we still have our quiet, snuggly moments together.
The key to my lasting breastfeeding relationship with Dessa is based on three components – faith, mutual desire and a great support system.
I had complete faith in what my body could do and faith that Dessa would let me know if she still wanted to nurse. Even though I had anticipated not going all the way, I stayed positive; I’m a firm believer that your attitude towards breastfeeding makes a world of difference. Mutual desire was also a key factor because we both want to keep doing it. If at any moment Dessa or I didn’t want to nurse anymore, then we’d stop.
A solid support system is essential at any stage of breastfeeding – if you’ve got one little one, twins or one in arms and one in your belly – having folks who support you is priceless.
I have my husband, our families and amazing friends who all believe in the value of what I’m doing. For every weird look I get for mentioning I’m still nursing a 22 month old, I know I’ve got at least 3 people who think what I’m doing is awesome.
If you’re thinking about getting pregnant with your next child and are still nursing your first, keep my story in mind. I’m just one example of what’s possible. I know not everyone wants to nurse through a pregnancy so if you don’t want to, be sure to look for resources on how and when to best wean your first child. If you’ve been able to nurse your first child, then you’ve already given them a great gift. Nursing through a pregnancy is just a nice bonus for mom and baby.
Have you nursed while pregnant? Do you have questions that Carla or our other guest bloggers can answer?? Please share your experiences and post your questions here!