While pregnant with my first son, I had a goal to breastfeed, but that was it. Of course, we have all heard “breast is best” for the first year, but my goal was to simply try it and see where my journey led me. That journey led me to nurse him for fifteen months.
While pregnant with boy number two, I unpacked my reusable nursing pads, dusted off the breast pump, and bought my favorite lanolin nursing cream. Though I felt like a nursing pro and knew what to expect, a part of me feared the second time around would not go as gracefully. Would the baby latch well? Would I produce enough? I am here to tell you, much has been the same, but there are definite differences.
Breastfeeding Baby Number 1
After delivering my son, I had only a moment to come to terms with being the mother of a handsome fellow before my OB asked me to let him latch. He did. Sorta. Through those screaming freshly born cries, he latched, only to unlatch, then re-latch. I thought for sure I had a baby with zero interest in nursing. Defeated, I sent him to the nursery so my up-for-27-hours body could get some sleep. After three hours, and a surge of adrenaline, I was going to give nursing another shot.
My son was big. Nine pounds five ounces big. And hungry. He latched immediately and sucked hard. The nurses and lactation consultants were impressed with his suck, and I credit his large size (and mouth) to his good early latches. Leaving the hospital, I felt very confident in my nursing abilities.
At home, I was able to pump so much milk. I had a huge supply, and the pediatrician joked how she could tell “that one” was 100% breastfed. I never struggled with supply, yet never struggled with mastitis. I was able to comfort and feed him anytime, anywhere, and did so for fifteen lovely months. I loved every moment.
I had a near-perfect nursing experience with my first son and hoped my second would be as good.
Nursing Baby Number Two
After my midwives made sure my second son and I were healthy, they left my husband and I alone for some time to bond with our baby. I was curious to see if the baby would latch as well as my first son since he was an entire pound smaller. I pulled down my hospital gown and, yes! The baby latched and fed for five minutes. Throughout our hospital stay, my son nursed leisurely and I never reached for the lanolin cream. At home, I was feeding the baby and my husband told me how “cool” it was that feeding came so easily for me. So many people struggle with breastfeeding, but I seem to have no issues.
However, the joy I felt the first time around just doesn’t seem to be there. The bond, yes, but not the joy. I do not mind feeding my son, but the experience is different.
The Differences This Time Around
- I hate pumping. There, I said it. Pumping with my first son was a non-issue. I would wake up to pump. That’s right. I woke up in the middle of the night to pump. Most of my freezer stash came from night pumping almost daily the first six months. This time around, I grab a burp rag to cover my soggy boob and fall back asleep.
- I don’t have time to sit on the couch and comfort nurse. When my toddler was a baby, I would allow him to comfort nurse at his convenience while I binge-watched TV. Now I have said toddler calling from he bathroom to wipe his butt while I’m feeding my baby. Sorry second child; your nursing time is up.
- I hate nursing in public. With my firstborn, I had zero issues with this. Mind you, I still love the freedom I have to nurse my child anytime, anywhere, but for some reason, it annoys me this time.
- My supply is much less. I am still (gratefully and thankfully!) able to exclusively breastfeed my second baby, however, I don’t have the oversupply I had with my first son. I have to make a conscious effort to make sure enough milk is available for the days I work, and I do have a random container of formula in the pantry, just in case.
Now, the list I just created may seem whiny, but it’s not all bad, just different. I’m glad to be able to supply nourishment and comfort to my baby the way I was able to with my first son. I have plans to stop at a year, but let’s see where this journey will take me.