Are there any risks for my child if I breastfeed during pregnancy?

Updated on: Dec 11, 2019

No. However, since the production of breast milk is reduced during pregnancy, a breastfed child may need to be supplemented with breast milk, adapted to their age, if there are concerns about growth. 

There is typically a reduction in milk production, mainly in the 2nd trimester, due to hormonal changes related to pregnancy. This reduction, along with a change in milk flavor due to the preparation of colostrum in late pregnancy, leads some children to wean themselves off the milk. Other children continue to breastfeed despite these significant changes. In this case, it is important to provide the breastfed child with sufficient nutrients to support their growth. Depending on the role of breast milk (primary food vs. source of comfort), it may or may not be sufficient to meet the breastfed child’s needs. 

Before the introuction of food

The decrease in milk production during pregnancy may have an impact on the growth of the breastfed child, as they only receive breast milk (if they are exclusively breastfed). Therefore, it is important that during this period, the growth of the breastfed child is carefully monitored by a nutritionist and/or a pediatrician. If the child’s growth slows down, it is necessary to use a commercial infant formula to supplement the breast milk. To learn more about choosing a commercial infant formula, click here. 

Between about 6 months and 1 year

B Breast milk is still the baby’s main source of nutrition, even with the introduction of complementary foods. It is still important to offer good quality food and, if necessary, a commercial infant formula or 3.25% cow’s milk (only from 9-12 months). It is important to closely monitor growth. 

After 1 year of age

Children who eat a variety of foods in sufficient quantities, such as vegetables and fruits, meats and alternatives, dairy products and whole grain products can usually meet their needs despite reduced breast milk intake. However, if breast milk is still a large part of the diet, which is quite unusual, 3.25% cow’s milk or an age-appropriate commercial infant formula can be offered as a supplement to ensure adequate nutrition and optimal growth. 

To be noted

Since colostrum production begins during pregnancy, some parents feel they must wean their breastfed baby out of fear that the newborn will not have enough colostrum at birth. It is important to know that the newborn baby will not miss this first milk, even if another child is breastfed, because the production continues until the birth of the child. To learn more, read the following article here. 

It should also be noted that the usual strategies to increase/stimulate breast milk production have little effect in the case of a pregnancy, since the decrease is mainly caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy. 

It should also be noted that the usual strategies to increase/stimulate breast milk production have little effect in the case of a pregnancy, as the decrease is mainly caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy. 

Références

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) protocol committee. (2011). Protocol #9: Use of galactogogues in initiating or augmenting the rate of maternal milk secretion. Breastfeeding medicine, 6(1), 41-49.



Allard, M. et Desrochers, A. (2010). Bien vivre l'allaitement. Montréal : Éditions Hurtubise HMH.



Cetin, I., Assandro, P., Massari, M., Sagone, A., Gennaretti, R.,
 Donzelli, G., …Davanzo, R. (2014). Breastfeeding during Pregnancy : 
Position Paper of the Italian Society of Perinatal Medicine and the Task Force on Breastfeeding, Ministry of Health, Italy. Journal of Human Lactation, 30 (1), 20-27.



Mohrbacher, N. et Stock, J. (2003). The breastfeeding answer book (3e éd). Schaumburg, Illinois: La Leche League International.



Moscone, S. et Moore, J. (1993). Breastfeeding during pregnancy. Journal of Human Lactation, 9(2), 83-88



Nice, F. J. (2011). Common herbs and food used as galactogogues. ICAN: Infant, child & adolescent nutrition, 3(3), 129.



Wambach, K. et Riordan, J. (2016). Breastfeeding and Human Lactation (5e éd.). Jones and Bartlett Publishers: Sudbury.



Zuppa, A., Sindico, P., Orchi, C., Carducci, C., Cardiello, V., Romagnoli, C. et Catenazzi, P. (2010). Safety and efficacy of galactogogues: Substances that induce, maintain and increase breast milk production. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 13(2), 162-174.



 
Ressources

Australian Breastfeeding Association. (2006). Breastfeeding through Pregnancy and Beyond.



 

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