Yes and no. Since breast milk production is reduced during pregnancy, breastfed infants should receive a supplement to breast milk, depending on their age; otherwise their growth will be at risk.
Milk production is generally reduced, mainly in the second trimester, due to hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. This reduction, combined with the change in milk flavor associated with the preparation of colostrum in late pregnancy, lead some children to wean themselves off milk. Some children still continue breastfeeding despite these changes. In this case, it is important to provide the breastfed infants with sufficient nutrients to support their growth. Depending on whether breast milk is the main food of the child or if it is only a form of solace, breast milk may or may not be sufficient to meet the needs of the breastfed child.
BEFORE 6 MONTHS
The decrease in milk production during pregnancy may have an impact on the growth of breastfed infants because they receive only breast milk. It is therefore important that during this period, the growth of breastfed infants be carefully monitored by a nutritionist or a pediatrician. If the child’s growth slows down, it usually becomes necessary to use a commercial preparation to supplement infants in addition to breast milk. For more information on choosing an infant formula, click here.
Between 6 months and 1 year
Breast milk is still the main food for the baby, despite the introduction of complementary foods. It remains important to provide necessary commercial infant formulas or 3.25% cow’s milk if age-appropriate, and to monitor growth.
After 1 year
Children that eat a variety of foods from the four food groups in the Canadian Food Guide and in sufficient quantities can usually meet their needs despite the reduction of breast milk. However, if breast milk still occupies a large part of their diet, which is unusual, it is possible to introduce 3.25% cow’s milk (Article to come) or infant formula which is adapted to age in order to supplement breastfeeding.
As the production of colostrum begins during pregnancy, some parents believe they must wean their breastfed child for fear that the newborn will not get enough colostrum at birth. You should know that the newborn baby will not miss this first milk, even if another child is breastfed, as production continues at the birth of the child. To learn more on the subject, see the following article here.
It should also be noted that the usual strategies to increase/stimulate the production of breast milk have little effect in the case of a pregnancy, since the reduction is caused by hormones.