Gossip Girl's Kelly Rutherford has said that she has continued to breastfeed her two-year-old son throughout her pregnancy, and many pregnant moms want to know if that's okay. Some worry that the baby in utero won't get enough nutrition or that their nursing child won't get enough milk.
Experts agree it is perfectly safe to nurse while you're pregnant. "Millions upon millions of women around the world choose to continue breastfeeding while pregnant," says Alan Greene, M.D. However there are some things you should be aware of.
1. It's important to eat and drink—a lot. Roger W. Harms, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, says eat healthy and stay hydrated. "Supplemental prenatal vitamins, especially vitamin D, may be needed as well"
2. Your child may not like your breast milk any more. The content of breast milk changes throughout the pregnancy and it could change the way the milk tastes, says Dr. Greene. Sometimes this leads a child to self-wean.
3. There may be a decrease in your milk supply. "In the beginning, you might have to keep a close eye on your supply (and your baby's weight) to gauge whether you're still producing enough milk," says Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting. "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!
4. You might want to stop nursing at some point. Being pregnant is exhausting as is making milk, not to mention you'll have sore breasts and sensitive nipples. If you do decide to stop breastfeeding, "don't feel guilty about it," says Murkoff. "There will be plenty of time to prove your maternal prowess in the years to come."
5. Breastfeeding can trigger uterine contractions. Although these mild contractions aren't a concern for most women, caution is important, says Dr. Harms. "Breastfeeding during pregnancy generally isn't recommended for women who have a history of preterm labor." Check with your health-care provider to be sure.
Are you breastfeeding while pregnant? How's it going? Or did you decide to stop?