breastfeeding, the second time around

I documented the beginning of my breastfeeding journey with James Michael—how it was hard the first 48 hours, but got easier as time went on. Though I only nursed him for 9 months (even though I wanted to a full year), I wouldn’t take any of it back because stopping was the only way I got little Beau. My fertility returned to normal after weaning James Michael, and soon after Beau was conceived.

So now that Beau is just shy of 6 weeks old, I’m trying to gather my thoughts on breastfeeding the second time around: what’s easier, what’s harder, my goals and other observations.

With labor, delivery and postpartum recovery, I thought that everything was easier the second time because I knew what to expect. And I feel the same way about nursing. I knew the first couple days in the hospital before my milk came in might be tough and I also knew that any initial pain from nursing would subside within a few days.

nursing with toddler nearby

{My view about half the time I’m nursing. JM insists that I open up the recliner so he can sit with us.}

I’m not sure if it had to do with the fact that Beau was two weeks early or just a difference of personalities, but he had no issues with getting only colostrum the first couple days, unlike James Michael. I nursed Beau on demand, which was quite often once we hit the 36-hour mark. My milk came in half a day sooner than with James Michael, and I think that Beau’s frequent nursing might have influenced that.

Beau was (and is) a bit chompy, and initially his latch wasn’t fully open. For the first few days, I was tender for the first five seconds or so after he latched on. I expected that, and thankfully, it went away fairly quickly. I’ve heard of many women using nipple shields to help with the pain or cracked nipples, but I didn’t have to use one.

I was also fortunate that I never got mastitis with James Michael, and knock on wood, I hope I’ll never get it nursing Beau. From what I hear, it feels like you have the flu. And it’s hard enough caring for a baby and a toddler on a good day, so I can’t imagine doing it feeling awful for a week. I did have a clogged duct with James Michael early on, but luckily it resolved itself in a day or so.

With Beau, I’m still feeding him on demand. I’m sure he’ll fall into a natural schedule over the next couple months, but for now, when he’s hungry, he eats—whether it’s been 1 hour or 3 hours since his last feeding. I know many people swear by certain scheduling philosophies, but right now on demand is what’s best for me and Beau. With James Michael, I could always remember how long it’d been since his last feeding. With Beau, I usually have no idea because I’m pulled in a million other directions and his last feeding time seems like trivial information for my brain.

But whatever we’re doing (winging it), it seems to be working. Last week at his wellness appointment (just shy of 5 weeks old), little Beau had gained exactly 5 pounds since his hospital discharge and grown nearly four inches. My parents had nicknamed him Hoss months ago—and now I see the truth in that. Give him a year and he’ll be able to handle his own against James Michael 🙂

ChubbyBeau

One thing I have noticed the second time around is that I seem to have more milk. And this makes me very optimistic since I would love to nurse Beau for a full year. Of course, the fact that he’s a big boy makes me wonder if I can truly keep up with his demand months down the road, but I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen. Personally, I feel like much of the reason I had to supplement with James Michael was because of pumping. That topic itself deserves a dedicated post, but pumping was hard for me. Doing it three to four times a day while I was away from my baby most certainly didn’t help my supply. And doing it at work while I was stressed most definitely didn’t help either. But this time, things will be a little different so that pumping won’t be quite so frequent for me (more on that soon).

And this time, if I notice my supply starts to decrease, I plan to try some herbal supplements to see if they will help. The lactation consultant at my pediatrician’s office gave me some Mother’s Milk tea, which I thought might be a good option if I needed it. Ummm, have you smelled that tea? I brewed some just to get a taste, and I pretty much gagged 🙂 I’ll have to find some recipes that hide some of the herbs if comes down to needing lactation help. I’ve heard good things about these fenugreek bars and would consider trying them or making a version of my own.

With James Michael, once feedings were spaced out to roughly every 3 hours, I felt like I only had certain slots of time to get things accomplished or run errands; I accommodated his schedule. With Beau, it’s much different. Thank goodness I have a laid-back baby, because he typically accommodates me, and more often, his older brother. I don’t wait until after a feeding to leave the house to run an errand; I leave when I can manage to get out the door, and if I need to nurse Beau in the car before I head into a store, then I do it. I guess in many ways I’m still working around James Michael’s schedule. As many of you mamas know, toddler naps are critical so I’ll do almost anything not to mess with them.

This go round, I think I definitely bask in my time spent nursing much more than the first time. Nursing Beau is the only sure time I get to sit down, rest and bond with him. Some days, such as when James takes James Michael out for a little adventure, I get plenty of chances to cuddle with Beau. But on days when James isn’t around, Beau definitely gets the short end of the stick as I’m chasing around his older brother. This time, nursing isn’t just about the nutritional benefits; it’s about bonding time with Beau and savoring the fleeting moments of his first year.

Beau_IheartMommy

2 Responses to “breastfeeding, the second time around”

  1. Christen Francis says:

    So glad you never had to deal with Mastitis! It’s so painful. I actually ended up getting an abscess- which, you NEVER want to do that!

    Um, that tea is AWFUL! I would say if you HAVE to use it, get some decaf fruit tea and brew them together. It helps- but not by much. I also used sugar to sweeten it. I found oatmeal helped me the most, but I also took fenugreek. 🙂

  2. Kristin says:

    Ugh, you were so right! Despite doing NOTHING different, my supply was lower last week and today the same. How does my body know that I am sending her with one bottle of formula!? Pumping is terrible. 🙁

Leave a Comment