Breastfeeding while pregnant – the second trimester

In those early weeks following Talitha’s birth, I found it difficult to blog about anything happening in our life, mainly because there was so much change. No sooner would I draft a post about her sleeping habits or my general weepiness than a sudden shift would occur and the topic no longer seemed relevant. I think that’s been the scary thing about blogging through breastfeeding in the present tense. I don’t know how this story goes and I don’t know how it ends – I’ve never known.

After the first trimester, where I was finding it plainly unpleasant, followed by weeks where she seemed to be losing interest and on the clear path to weaning, I doubted I would be writing this update. Yet here I am. I’ll be 26 weeks pregnant on Friday and she is two-and-a-half years old. We’re still breastfeeding. And it doesn’t look like we’re stopping though, you never know, next week it might. It’s so strange, living without certainty, but there’s something freeing in it nonetheless.

My feelings about breastfeeding while pregnant continue to be mixed. On one hand, I love that breastfeeding still brings her so much comfort and, indeed, joy. The other morning, she climbed into bed and asked: “Mummy, just a little bit of milky?” When I agreed, she literally yelled: “Yippee!” We all laughed. She had quite a nasty fall the other day but was quickly soothed by the breast. Now that my colostrum is in (at least a bit on one side), she tells me it tastes like apple.

Sometimes, it helps her to make the transition from being fully awake to fully asleep but she generally no longer falls asleep at the breast. Usually, she takes herself off and asks me to cuddle her or sing to her. Otherwise, I take her off because I still find it uncomfortable and can only stand it for short feeds.

Breastfeeding while pregnant - the second trimester

And that’s part of the other hand. I’m still finding it physically uncomfortable to breastfeed her and nursing aversion comes at times to visit at times. I then get a powerful urge to throw her off me. But there is no need. Generally, if I tell her to let go, she will and even if she protests, she will accept it. In the rare instance that she won’t, I let her latch again with the warning that we’ll be counting to ten, at which point she has to let go and she will. Sometimes, she’ll just say she doesn’t want to count and we’ll instead get up for the day or she’ll roll over and go to sleep. Morning and bedtime are the only significant feeds she has. She’s mostly not interested at any other time and she’s given up naps (though I did argue her into one today).

Yet it’s such a change to just a while ago when I was convinced she was weaning because she only asked to breastfeed once every few days. She told me then that my milk would return when the baby was born and laughed when I asked if she would still be breastfeeding. Now I tell her that when the baby is born, the baby will need to have lots of milk. She asks cautiously: “I have milky too?” I ask her: “Will you want milky?” She always takes a moment to think about it, then says: “I will share with the baby.” I’ve explained about the baby needing more milk than she does but I don’t think I need to worry, and any case, it may not be a bridge we have to cross.

She still occasionally will randomly ask for a feed but only latch for moments. I get the impression that she just wants to make sure it’s still there; to be certain that she still has access. And she does. I don’t want to rush her independence and at the moment I don’t feel like I need to, which I’m glad of. The pain has been quite bad at times but it hasn’t paralleled the agony my nipples were in during my first pregnancy (when I wasn’t even breastfeeding!). The discomfort has been horrid but it’s been an opportunity for her to learn boundaries, which is healthy, and those boundaries have made me feel able to allow her to continue.

Yet, every now and then, I wonder, for how long? Rationally, I know that all children wean, weaning does happen and there is wisdom in allowing nature to unfold. The impatient side of me wants to know for sure what’s going to happen. In a few months time, will I be breastfeeding two children? What will that be like? Will she wean soon after? Will she wean before? I cannot know. All I know is all I’ve ever known – that this is what we’re doing now. Oh, and I now know that colostrum tastes like apple, apparently.

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9 Comments

  1. November 13, 2013 / 7:48 pm

    Thank you for such a lovely, honest post, Adele. The bit about her having feeds to check that she still can really resonated with me – I’m seeing this too, that it’s moving away from being about the milk (because there’s really not much there now) but he still needs to know that it’s not suddenly a forbidden zone!

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      November 13, 2013 / 8:13 pm

      Breastfeeding is about so much more than milk and that becomes clearer as they get older, doesn’t it? How wonderful that you’re letting things move at a pace you’re both happy with.

  2. November 14, 2013 / 9:47 pm

    You are completely right to say it changes all the time. I have found the same. Arlo was much like Talitha whilst I was pregnant – I really thought he was winding down the breastfeeding and that we were well on the way to weaning. Half a year later, and he’s back on the boobs BIG TIME. So much so that I’m really not feeling in a good place about our BFing relationship… But I’ll save that for another blog post that’s brewing away in my head.

    • November 22, 2013 / 12:04 am

      I know a few people who are feeling similarly to you about their older nurslings. It’s encouraging to know that Talitha may well continue after the baby’s born but also to be reminded to be open to whatever may happen. I hope you find something that works for you, whether that’s limiting feeds or gently moving towards weaning. x

  3. Jennifer Howze
    November 15, 2013 / 4:40 pm

    What a nice, frank post. You’re so right about blogging in the early days — you think about blogging about something then a while later you can barely remember how you used to feel.
    Jennifer Howze recently posted..Restuffing a stuffed animal: Moomoo never dies

    • November 22, 2013 / 12:02 am

      Thanks, Jennifer. It makes me wonder about blogging after the second one’s birth. I might hesitate more before talking about how it’s all going.

  4. Aba
    July 18, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    Thank you for your post. Your experience is very insightful for me because I’m almost 26 weeks pregnant and my son is almost a year and still breastfeeding in the morning before we start our day, the evening when I get back from work and maybe once during the night. I’m torn about whether to stop or leave it for him to decide. I’m also finding it extremely painful but don’t have the benefit of him being old enough to communicate with me. He gets very distressed when I take him off or when I dry up before he’s satisfied. Any tips would be grately appreciated

    • July 18, 2017 / 11:13 pm

      Hi Aba, that’s a lot on your plate – not an easy place to be in with a baby so little and almost into your third trimester. How wonderfully sensitive you are to your son’s need but your need is strong too. Only you can decide whether or not to continue but I can see why you are torn. Many mothers who breastfeed while pregnant find that they surprise themselves by weaning or continuing –
      decisions they couldn’t have predicted beforehand. Have you read Adventures in Tandem Nursing? If there is an LLL chapter near you, you may be able to borrow it. I found it really helpful to read other women’s experiences in it. My children were older when I breastfed through pregnancy (I did it again a few years after this post) but I found that when I couldn’t bear it, I needed my husband to take on the night time parenting. Is there another adult who might be able to try rocking your little one or settling him in a sling perhaps? Have you tried using other tools like these to settle him after a feed? Or for daytime feeds, distracting him with a snack after a while. It could also be worth getting back to basics and making sure he’s latched deeply as it’s easy with older babies to let them latch on quickly but maybe not as comfortably as possible. Could anything here be helpful too? https://www.laleche.org.uk/pregnant-and-breastfeeding/

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