The Breastfeeding Diaries: Sarah's Story

July 15, 2015

I’m so exciting to be able to share our story with you all – for the second time!

A while back I shared our breastfeeding story with my son Dean – and fast forward 2.5 years later – we’re back with our second breastfeeding story with my son, Beau. Our first go around with Dean was, in a word, “challenging!” I was determined to stick it out but it was not smooth sailing.

My second experience was much, much better – and as different from the first experience as we could get!

With both my pregnancies I experienced consistent contractions almost the whole time. With my second pregnancy – these started around 16 weeks, and continued every few minutes for the remainder of my pregnancy until my son was born at 38 weeks. Being a busy, full time working mom to a 2.5 year old, there wasn’t much time to dwell on the physically and emotional challenges of pregnancy, especially one with complications. The only thing I dreamed about was having a sweet little baby born safely and uneventfully. Thankfully, I had just that! I had an unexpectedly quick and intervention free labor and delivery – if we’d stayed at home much longer I might have had a home birth!

I was so shocked by how fast my SON (we didn’t find out what we were having!) was born that I had to be told a short while after his birth that I should try to breastfeed. I just kept saying “I can’t believe it?!?!” I felt like even though I’d had previous experience – I felt incredibly lost! What was I supposed to do?? With the help of our labor nurse Beau latched right on. He was a really sleepy guy in the beginning so I had to be reminded by our postpartum nurses to wake him up to nurse him from time to time. I couldn’t believe that my milk came in as fast as it did the second time around – when I realized he had spit up some actual milk prior to even going home from the hospital!

Being a second time mom – I didn’t have the same concerns as I did the first time. I didn’t question if he was eating enough, if he was gaining enough weight, if he needed to eat more frequently? My first son had some weight and growth issues – which turned out to be nothing. This was a wonderful reminder of how sometimes your mom instincts are the most valuable thing we have! This realization helped me with my second son so much! Instead of feeling stressed about each feeding – I enjoyed the quiet moments I got to have with my baby. Since I was home with both kiddos full time during my maternity leave – nursing time was my only time to share with Beau one on one. I came to treasure those quiet moments, such a sharp contrast from my first son Dean. Our nursing sessions felt really stressful, painful, and frustrating.

While on maternity leave I nursed Beau on demand, and he continued to grow and gain weight appropriately. Sure – I was a bit sore in the beginning, but for whatever reason the second time felt much easier and more straightforward than our first son. I think because I knew what to expect, and I knew how challenging things could be, I knew instinctively to just relax and let the stress of any situation melt away.

While home, I also started pumping to build up my supply to have a small freezer stash on hand for when I returned to work full time. Because of our experiences with Dean – I was extremely hesitant to introduce a bottle to Beau as I didn’t want him to have any nipple confusion. Sadly – as much as this helped our nursing relationship – it really created a challenge for when I went back to work. Around 8 weeks old we introduced a bottle – but he had no idea what to do with it! He had never had a pacifier either so he was even more confused by the bottles we were trying to give him. I tried to leave the house while someone else tried to feed him, I tried to give him the bottles myself, we tried every bottle we could thing of – and all types of nipples. Nothing worked! I couldn’t push back my return to work so I was forced to leave my sweet boy knowing he may not eat all day long! For the first couple weeks he would drink an average of about 2 ounces each day while I was gone from 7-6. He wasn’t overly unhappy – so I just resigned myself to knowing that was what he’d do – then he’d nurse when I got home, before bed, and overnight, and in the morning. Now – at about 10.5 months old, he’ll take between 4-6 ounces per day while I’m away, but he’s also a great eater of table food (even with no teeth still!) I continue to pump twice per day while at work, and have quite the freezer stash on hand. So we are in great shape!

At 10.5 months old, nursing is still going quite well. He’s really easily distracted – so I have to take him up to his quiet room to nurse – but secretly – this is our special quiet time together and I absolutely love it! In about a month or so – I plan to slowly stop my pumping sessions at work. I will continue to nurse Beau when I’m at home with him – for as long as he’s interested. My goal was to make it to 1 year, but I am also realistic about things changing. If he were to wean himself today – I would be a bit sad, but I’d follow his cues since he’s the boss ;)

My best advice for all those mamas out there, whether you nurse your babies or not – love those littles! They grow up so fast! Let them teach you a thing or two—like how to slow down, and enjoy the little things. As much as I’m always focused on all moments being teachable moments—it’s ok to bend the rules from time to time. These are the memories your babies will have of you and your time together! Don’t always worry about creating “bad” habits. Take them for ice cream, even if they don’t eat much dinner. Sit on the floor and PLAY – even if it means you don’t get to do your hair for work! Enjoy your little people and follow your instincts! They don’t say “mom knows best” for nothing!

Thank you so much for including our story again! I will treasure these experiences with my two boys!

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.

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