Nursing during pregnancy: Is it necessary to wean your toddler during pregnancy?

Our son is 22 months old and my wife is pregnant again. She is planning to wean in the next month because her doctor recommends against breastfeeding beyond the first trimester. He says it causes the uterus to contract and that can be dangerous. Our toddler still loves nursing and I hate to see him weaned unnecessarily. Is it really necessary to wean during pregnancy?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

There is no documented evidence that breastfeeding will adversely affect a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Ruth Lawrence, in Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession (1994) states, "There is no need to hastily wean the first infant from the breast, which is often ordered by the physician. It is possible to lactate throughout pregnancy and then to have two infants at the breast postpartum."

Though your wife's uterus will contract with breastfeeding, it also contracts with nipple stimulation and orgasm. Has your doctor recommended abstaining from sex during pregnancy? The contractions of the uterus during orgasm are many times stronger than the contractions caused by breastfeeding. These contractions pose no danger to your baby during a healthy pregnancy.

I would advise discussing your feelings with your doctor. If he insists upon weaning your little one during the pregnancy, you may ask him to provide you with references to support his beliefs.

On the other hand, if your wife is ready to wean at this time, her feelings are very important. Though I can understand how much you would like to see your little one continue to enjoy nursing, if your wife feels that continuing to breastfeed will sour her relationship with him, continuing to nurse will not be good for any member of your family. My very best wishes to you and your family!

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