How Pregnancy Affects Milk Supply
Pregnancy is ruled by the hormones Estrogen and Progesterone and they don’t get along well with Prolactin (the milk making hormone). During pregnancy, Prolactin levels will be suppressed and that leads to a lower milk supply. Unfortunately, that’s just the start of the challenges. Often nipples become so tender during pregnancy that many women cannot tolerate breastfeeding. Furthermore baby may not be happy with the milk because the flavor changes during pregnancy.
If your milk supply has recently dropped and your nipples are getting tender, take a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant and want to continue breastfeeding, you’ll need to face all three challenges: low supply, tenderness, and milk taste. For low supply see our article on 11 ways to increase milk production. For tenderness use a nipple shield which can be purchased at many department stores, such as Target or online. For milk taste, be persistent with baby. It may take a few weeks, but eventually he will get used to the new taste. Be prepared to supplement or start transitioning to baby food if baby isn’t getting enough breast milk or refuses to breastfeed.
Pregnancy and milk supply do not like to coexist well together but with persistence and patience your body may be able to feed two babies at once – and they’re not even twins!