This is my third pregnancy and my second pregnancy while still breastfeeding. I’ve been breastfeeding for nearly three years, and obviously will be going on for another few after this one is born. Basically, I know what I’m doing and I also know my limits. If I start feeling too tired, overwhelmed or uncomfortable, I will start the weaning process. If not we will just continue onwards as we have been. I don’t imagine nursing three children at once, but I also don’t imagine my first born all of a sudden deciding to wean. As I always say, we will see. I don’t really care what others think either, what works for us, works for us. What works for you, works for you. What bothers me is when people decide to tell me something that is first of all incorrect, and second of all, just silly.
Apparently it is the California process to make sure you see a counselor at least once during your prenatal journey, so I saw the one assigned to me by the clinic this morning. She was lovely, very friendly and engaging, and made me feel completely at ease. Until she asked me about my diet and hydration and I mentioned that it was hard to drink enough water when all I wanted to do was vomit it back up, and that I really forced myself to down 3 liters a day as I was still breastfeeding two kids.
She said: “you do know that after 6 months there are no more benefits in breastmilk for the child, right? It’s only for comfort after that.” I just responded that my doctor and nurse were both perfectly comfortable with me tandem nursing while pregnant, and while she did say that I should at least wean one, she backed down and said “but in the end you know best as the mother.” My eyes must have begun to flash daggers! I no longer feel like an inexperienced mother when faced with these types of situations, but I know that when I was I would feel upset and confused. So let’s get some facts straight here.
1). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend the introduction of solids until 6 months, see here for more information, and advocate breastmilk and/or formula to be the main source of nutrition for the first year of life.
2). Solids are introduced little by little over the space of 6 months, so by the time the child reaches the age of 1 he or she will be enjoying 3 meals a day as well as snacks – although this is by no means always achievable. Some babies take longer than others. It is still important to remember that breastmilk and/or formula are recommended as main source of nutrition until at least one year of age (see above).The AAP do not recommend the introduction of cow’s milk until after one.
3). Breastfeeding AFTER one year of age provides a whole slew of benefits, listed in detail HERE. These benefits are in addition to any nutritional benefits come from eating solid food. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend breastfeeding until at least two years old (and beyond).
Breastfeeding benefits do not magically disappear once a child starts his or her first spoonful of pureed avocado or smashed banana. Breastmilk DOES magically change its breakdown based on the age and needs of a child, even on a day-to-day basis. It just drives me quite insane that even in today’s world people who have a certain influence on what a pregnant woman may or may not do can spout nonsense. Whether you are planning on breastfeeding or not, it’s so important to be able to find out proper information from those who are supposed to be professionals. And professionals who talk to you about breastfeeding/formula feeding, introducing solids and weaning should always be aware of the latest recommendations. Granted, these do change quite often, but it’s really not too difficult to read the updated AAP website or medical papers once in a while. We now know that introducing solids before 6 months can cause issues down the road, and that rice cereal really isn’t the best first food. So even if our mothers or grandmothers or great-grandmothers may say that they did it their way and no one died, I still believe in science and research. (For example, I always put my babies to sleep on their backs even though my mother put us to sleep on our tummies. Research has proven that this is the safest way for babies to sleep). So yes, all I want to say is while Dr Google is not always the best place to go for questions, it is always good to do some research and ask different people about breastfeeding rather than listening to someone who has outdated and incorrect advice to give. Breastfeeding can be really difficult for some at first, and lack of support and/or correct information can lead to women giving up before they are really ready to.
(As a side note I have to say that I chose the prenatal clinic I go to because of how they promote breastfeeding and non-intervention birthing. Both my doctor and my nurse practitioner are 100% behind me and don’t have any issues with me breastfeeding while pregnant. I think this counselor just had very outdated views and I probably should have mentioned that to her while I was there. I’m just not as outspoken as I would want to be at times, which often leads to ranty blog posts!).
I love this information page on breastfeeding by UNICEF – it brings up a lot of important points and really provides a great overview. Kellymom is my go to website for any questions – although I haven’t found much about tandem nursing while pregnant, so if there is anyone out there reading this who has done it please get in touch!