My baby boy is now a little over one year old and before I forget, I wanted to jot down my thoughts on our breastfeeding journey. I want to remember the ways it was similar to my time nursing Adeline and how it was different. The ways breastfeeding my second baby was easier and the ways it was harder.
I’d like to state clearly, up front and in bold, that I 100% agree that fed is best, and truly believe that everyone is doing and should do what is best for their family when it comes to nourishing their children in their first year.
What I share below is just my personal experience. I am a stay-at-home mom and therefore did not have to pump much at all this time around since I wasn’t working in an office. Every situation is different, and I hope this only provides encouragement, validation and/or commiseration – whichever of the three you are needing most today!
You can read about my breastfeeding experience with Adeline here.
The start was still hard
I was hoping this wouldn’t be the case, but for me it was. With both of my babies I struggled with a lot of pain in the beginning. While it took less than half the amount of time to lessen with Jacob, it was still a pretty rough start. The combination of being sore from the actual birth (and you are sore no matter if you have a vaginal birth or a c-section), sleep deprivation and trying to figure out how to nurse is just flat out hard. If you are there right now, or you’ve been there before. I feel you mama!
If I had to have only one breastfeeding product, it would hands down be this breastfeeding pillow. I used it almost every time I fed Jacob in his first 6-months of life, and it really, really helped me in the itty bitty newborn days. I recommend getting an extra cover so you don’t have to fret too much when one gets dirty.
Tongue ties can cause trouble
Turns out part of our breastfeeding issues, particularly the pain I was experiencing, was due to the fact that Jacob had a tongue tie. Basically, the frenulum (the piece of skin that connects the bottom of the mouth to the tongue) was too tight and too thick. At the recommendation of the pediatrician in the hospital, a pediatric dentist, a chiropractor and a lactation consultant, we decided to have his tongue tie “revised”.
This procedure didn’t give us instant relief, but I do believe it helped us move to a comfortable spot much more quickly. We didn’t have this issue with Adeline so this was new to me (and honestly very overwhelming). My best advice here is to bring a loved one like your spouse, mom, sister, or friend with you to the revision and any appointments leading up to it.
As a hormonal new mom dripping in emotions, it is really hard to make any decisions with a clear mind when it comes to something that might cause even an ounce of pain to your baby. A support system is key. Marcus was the voice of reason for our family during this time.
Lactation consultants are still key
I used the same lactation consultant for breastfeeding my second baby – Leah Jolly with Bay Area Breastfeeding and Education. And even though I was an experienced breastfeeding mother, I still needed the guidance. Even more than that, the support, validation and encouragement from a professional held a lot of weight with me. Marcus called our consultant while we were still in the hospital and scheduled her to come as soon as we got home. I believe we saw Leah on Jacob’s third day of life and then again on day six or seven.
I also have to give credit to our incredible doula Amanda who essentially acted as a lactation consultant while we were in the hospital. Her guidance on hand expression in those first 24 hours really helped up my supply.
Breastfeeding in public was much easier
I was so much more comfortable breastfeeding my second baby in public than I was with my first. Partly because I was more confident in what I was doing, but also because I just cared a lot less.
I was usually trying to watch Adeline on the playground or give her a snack or talk to my friend while also nursing. I don’t think I had as much time to feel subconscious or worry about who was looking at me.
Also, I live in Texas and had a baby in the very end of March. This meant a lot of nursing in the summer heat. This was my favorite nursing cover the second time around. It was very open, which kept us much cooler. The neckline is stiff so you baby gets better airflow, and you can look down and see their face without having to move any material.
Side lying position is the sweetest
I never really mastered the side lying position with Adeline, but me and Jacob had it in the bag pretty early on. He would usually wake up between 5-6 am. I would go grab him from his room and bring him into our bed for his first feed. He almost always fell back asleep during the feed, and we would just lay there and cuddle until I needed to wake up for Adeline. These are my sweetest memories with Jacob. This makes me tear up just writing about it.
Formula = Freedom
Around the 10-month mark, the pediatrician became a little concerned about Jacob’s growth chart. Don’t worry – he’s fine! That, coupled with me noticing my supply was dropping encouraged us to slowly transition Jacob to formula. He was fully on formula by 11 months.
While my goal was to breastfeed him until his first birthday, I was at peace with the decision to switch to formula. I was ready to have my body back to myself, and Jacob took to the formula quickly. I have to say, there is something extremely freeing about formula. Shared feeding responsibility between Marcus and me and the ability to take some time away from the baby without having pump were the two parts I appreciated the most.
The second time was easier, but different
Overall though, breastfeeding my second baby did come to me more naturally. I hope you find that encouraging if you are hoping to have another child and plan to breastfeed. It did however, have its own, new challenges. Having a toddler to take care of meant less slow, sweet nursing sessions staring into each other’s eyes. Instead it meant more fruit snack breaks and more of the Daniel Tiger soundtrack. It was still good though, and I’d still do it again.
I hope this was helpful in some small way. Please feel free to share this post with any expectant moms you think might enjoy it! If you’d like to read about my breastfeeding journey as a first time mom, you can do so here.