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Breastfeeding while pregnant and tandem feeding

5-minute read

Key facts

  • You can carry on breastfeeding while you’re pregnant, without harming your older child or your unborn baby.
  • The taste of your milk will change as you start to make colostrum.
  • You can breastfeed more than one child at a time — this is called tandem feeding.

Is it safe to continue breastfeeding while I’m pregnant?

It’s usually perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding if you get pregnant and your pregnancy is normal and healthy.

However, seek advice from your doctor or midwife, if you:

If you continue breastfeeding while pregnant, your body will:

  • carry on making enough milk to nourish your older child
  • provide all the nutrients your unborn baby needs

Does my breastmilk have enough nutrients for my older child?

Your breastmilk will provide your child with the nutrients they need. However, the taste of your milk will change as you start to make colostrum. This might lead your older child to wean themselves at some point during your pregnancy.

Colostrum is a natural laxative, so your older child’s poo might become more liquid than normal. This is nothing to worry about.

How can I look after myself?

Breastfeeding while pregnant can make your nipples tender. You can relieve the discomfort by being careful with your position and attachment while breastfeeding. It may help to lie down while feeding.

Tender nipples may clear up after the first trimester, but for some women it lasts the entire pregnancy.

You may notice that your morning sickness is worse when you’re feeding. This may be due to hormonal changes and being hungry, thirsty or tired.

You can look after yourself by:

Can I breastfeed both children after my baby is born?

You can keep breastfeeding your older child after your baby is born. This is called tandem feeding. Tandem feeding can help connect your toddler with your new baby.

There are different ways of tandem feeding. You can feed both children at the same time. Or you can feed your newborn first and then your older child.

You might find your older child wants to feed all the time because you have a lot of milk. If you like, you can limit their feeds.

You might need some cushions to prop yourself up or you might find it easier lying down.

You might also find that your newborn has trouble coping with your let down reflex because you are producing so much milk. Changing your feeding routine may help.

How do I wean my older child?

If you decide to wean your older child, it’s a good idea to do this while you’re still pregnant. This means that there is one less change for them to cope with after your baby is born.

If you would like to encourage your older child to wean while you are pregnant, you could try:

  • reducing the number of feeds you offer them
  • offering a short feed and then a bottle

For more tips, you can read the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby article on weaning.

Resources and support

It's important to know that many breastfeeding issues can be solved with the help of someone skilled in breastfeeding support.

For breastfeeding support you can contact:

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2023

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Need more information?

Breastfeeding through pregnancy | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Can I breastfeed if I'm pregnant? 

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Tandem feeding | Australian Breastfeeding Association

You may not have planned on feeding two at once, but there are advantages!

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Pregnancy | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Congratulations on your pregnancy! We’ll help you take the first step towards preparing for breastfeeding whilst you are pregnant.

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Getting pregnant while breastfeeding | Australian Breastfeeding Association

All about breastfeeding and sex, fertility, contraception and birth control.

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What to look for when you go to buy a nursing bra.

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Religions that include fasting all have rules to ensure safe fasting during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Learn more about religious fasting.

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Breastfeeding and medications | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Wondering if your medicine, drugs, antibiotics or pills are safe while breastfeeding?

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Insomnia in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Read more to learn about causes, symptoms and how to improve your sleep.

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Pregnancy and breastfeeding | Dietitians Australia

Your body needs extra nutrients during pregnancy and breastfeeding. You should also limit or avoid some foods and drinks. Here we look at the do's and don't's of eating while pregnant and breastfeeding, and when you should seek the services of an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).

Read more on Dietitians Australia website

Eczema during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Eczema is the most common skin condition in pregnancy, it can also occur when breastfeeding. Find out more about symptoms and treatment of eczema.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

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