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:
- are at risk of preterm labour
- have had a miscarriage in the past
- are expecting twins, triplets or more
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:
- your midwife or maternal child health nurse
- a registered lactation consultant
- the Australian Breastfeeding Association Breastfeeding Helpline: 1800 686 268 (1800 mum 2 mum)
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.
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Last reviewed: August 2023