Hello Girl in the Red Shoes readers! My name is Leah and I'm thrilled to be here today, talking about my breastfeeding journey the second time around. First, let me tell you a little about myself. I'm a wife and mama to Avery (2.5) and Luke (7 months.) I blog over at Leah with Love and own a small shop Simply Made with Love where I make personalized items to celebrate all the occasions in life. In my spare time, whatever that is these days, I love to bake, plan mommy school lessons for Avery and exercise. Well, I don't love the exercising thing so much but I'm trying to get this baby weight off and getting out of the house for a run in the afternoon helps with that. It's also a great way to pass time waiting for hubs to get home.
Julie and I "met" in this little blog world that I dearly love over a year before our firsts were born. I'm elated for her to welcome baby number two very soon and know she'll rock being a mom of two. When my oldest, Avery was 6 months old, I shared my breastfeeding story as a part of this series. Feel free to read that post all about my first journey with breastfeeding. It lasted for almost thirteen months, which just a tad longer than my one year goal. This is how I ended my post about the end of my first breastfeeding journey.
"When the time is right and if God blesses us with baby #2, I’ll be ready to do it all over again.
I pray that I will be able to do it again for as long as I can."
Fast forward a little over a year and the time for Luke to arrive was approaching. I was getting everything prepared for his arrival. Most of which were breastfeeding supplies. The pump was back out, the parts were replaced. I had a nursing station set up in his room and downstairs. My nursing cover was packed away in the diaper bag, along with the lanolin and soothies for the hospital. Just thinking about breastfeeding again was overwhelming. I wondered if I'd be able to do it again. I worried I would be able to produce enough. I prayed that Luke would be able to latch and I would be able to give him what his little body needed. Even though I had already been on this journey before, I had many of the same feelings as the first time around. I knew it was best for Luke. I knew I wanted to do it for another year. I knew I would give it 100%. That was the plan.
The minute after Luke was delivered he started nursing. His first session, in the OR lasted for 10 minutes! The nurses were amazed. I thought we were off to a great start. He continued to nurse great in the hospital. He had the right number of wet diapers and while his latch wasn't ideal, I thought it would improve as he learned. The last day in the hospital, I met with a lactation consultant because I was still concerned with his latch. She mentioned a small tongue tie and said nursing would be a bit painful for me but we could still do it. That was it. We were discharged and on our way home.
Fast forward a few days and Luke had his first dr.'s appt. The dr wasn't thrilled with his weight gain so we were scheduled to come back for a weight check in two days. I was nursing around the clock and was immediately discouraged. The feeling that you're not giving your baby everything he needs to grow is defeating. Nursing was also VERY painful for me. Blisters, bleeding, cringing every single time. I remembered it was painful a lot with Avery so I just thought it was normal. Two days later, we went back for another weight check. While Luke gained weight the dr wasn't happy and wanted us back again in a few more days. During that time the pain got worse along with Luke's latch. I had a friend over who I mentioned the tongue tie to and she shared that a mutual friend's son had one and they had it clipped. I had never heard of this before. I immediately contacted our friend and started doing some research. That conversation took place at 8pm on Monday. I called the Dr Tuesday morning to get a referral to an ENT to get the tongue tie checked out and we had it clipped on Wednesday morning, when Luke was 1 week old. It was hard and exhausting to go through but I was determined to breastfeed and knew that was the best for the both of us. The procedure took only a minute and was harder for me than it was him. As soon as they brought him back into the room, I nursed him and noticed a difference immediately. From there on out, the pain went away and my baby boy started gaining weight. I do wish the lactation consultant said something at the hospital about their being a fix for tongue tie but I'm also grateful that we were able to get it taken care of so soon.
Things have been great with nursing since. Luke does love to eat and is no where near the great sleeper that Avery was. This has caused many sleepless nights but I know these days are just a season. Luke is our last baby and no matter how late or how many times he's up at night, I soak up my time with him. One night he'll be sleeping through the night consistently and the midnight snuggle sessions will be long gone.
Luke also has a milk protein allergy, like Avery did. I've given up all dairy and this hasn't been an issue. Since I did it with her, it was no where near as big of an adjustment this time around. Again, I know it's just for a little while and the end result far outweighs the sacrifice.
Something that I also want to talk about is nursing with a toddler at home. This is also something I was nervous about before Luke was born. I spent many hours on Pinterest reading articles about helping kids adjust and pinning activities for her to do. Avery was just over 2 at the time and there were many days where she was super clingy. I had heard stories of kids lashing out when the new baby comes and mom couldn't attend to the toddler while nursing the baby. Before Luke was born, I put together busy bags. I kept a few busy bags in each breastfeeding place in our house, one downstairs and one upstairs. I also made sure to update the apps on her iPad so that there were some new fun ones on there to keep her entertained. I'll admit that nursing Luke wasn't a problem for Avery. The first week my mom was there to keep her entertained and after that, she was a trooper. These days, she's completely used to it. She helps burp him, get the burp cloth when needed or wipes when he spits up. Turns out I spend a lot of time worrying about something that wasn't even an issue.
Breastfeeding is a full time commitment. My mom jokes that it's a full time job, but it's more than that. With jobs, you get to take days off. Not the case with breastfeeding. It's hard. It's overwhelming. It falls solely on your shoulders and that is a lot of pressure to have. But, it's worth it. I was extremely proud to make it to the one year mark with Avery and will feel the same way when that happens with Luke.
In my first breastfeeding post, I included a few tips for breastfeeding mamas:
Don't put pressure on yourself. Find a support system. Let go of expectations and take things day by day, feeding by feeding. Give it time, don't expect a perfect nursing relationship overnight.
If you have any questions about tongue tie, a milk protein or dairy allergy, nursing with a toddler, or anything else having to do with breastfeeding, I'd be happy to help!
For more information check out a post I wrote while back,
all about breastfeeding and my must haves.
Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.