Breastfeeding Round Two

The number one question I have had since Weston was born was some form of

How’s breastfeeding going this second time around?” 

and I thought it was high time to give you the boob-news.  If breastfeeding isn’t your cup (or jug…haha) of tea (milk), then feel free to skip this post…Pappap, that means you :)

It helps to know where I came from to fully understand how this 2nd time experience has really affected me.  My first time was kinda traumatic.  I was a new mom with a surprise c-section going around the breastfeeding block with Will…most folks don’t breastfeed before having their first, right?  I really didn’t know what to expect going into it but had an excruciatingly difficult time.  Looking back, I think there was a lot of factors that made it hard…Will has a very short tongue (not fully tongue tied but short enough to make it a struggle), I was a first time mom who has trouble relaxing, Will thought he as a newborn was in charge, there was some cue-reading issues and I was so sleep deprived due to a colicy baby that I didn’t know up from down, much less how to fix our situation.  Oh and there was nipple damage thrown in for kicks.  And a touch of depression…crying over spilled milk?  happened.  Basically, I am shocked we made it through. 

But we did.  and that is what really matters.

Katie & Will April 8, 2010

Would I change the way things turned out?  Not in a million years.  Breastfeeding Will taught me some really important life lessons.  And as an adult (or a pseudo-adult), those teaching moments are often hard to come by.  I learned that my stubborness can help me conquer amazing obstacles when I focus it toward the right goal.  I learned that judgment of other mom’s personal family decisions doesn’t help anyone…in fact, it hurts the judger and judgee.   I learned that pain can be a catalyst to learning devotion…self sacrifice a way to fall in love and patience can bring about a beautiful storybook ending.  I had that with my first born. 

Although the majority of my time breastfeeding Will was difficult, we lasted the full first year and when it came time to ween there was no doubt in my mind that Will and I were both ready and I ended that chapter of my life with a smile on my face (and both boobs still intact).  

The point?  Will and I had a very rocky beginning, a rocky middle and a great ending.  And yes, I am VERY glad I did it.

So it comes as no surprise with my past experience that was sortof scared to start a breastfeeding journey all over again.  I know that every baby is different.  I also know that in the back of my mind, I figured that it probably couldn’t be a harder start that what I had with Will.  And my personal theory on most hard situations is hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  Fast forward to Weston’s birth – a successful VBAC – and we had the opportunity to take that first step on our breastfeeding journey…

Immediately after Weston was born, he was laid on the table and rubbed by my doctor till he sucked in his first breath of earthly air and his sweet little mouth produced a sound.  As soon as his little lungs filled up, he was moved onto my chest…mere seconds after birth – immediately getting that skin-to-skin contact that any c-section mommy knows is absent in the Operating Room and often bypassed in the Recovery Room.  I was able to fawn over Weston for a few moments before the nurses encouraged me to try to nurse.  That first time was very reminscent of my first time with Will…except this go around, I was practically naked in a room full of people and was sortof distracted by the fact that there was still ‘work’ to be done in the southern regions if you know what I mean.  Goodbye intimate moment with my baby, hail to the V.

Once all the puzzle pieces were put back together, I was shocked to hear that Weston weighed a little over ten pounds.  I figured he was big but I surely didn’t expect to give birth to a toddler…BUT I also knew that this was good for me.  I knew that more than likely, his bigger size would help us.  He would have a larger capacity sooner for more milk.  And if he nursed well and gained weight sufficiently, then the chances were good that we would not have to be woken up every three hours for another session (this is exactly what happened).  I also knew that big babies usually have big mouths…good for the girls ‘transitional pain’.  

During our hospital visit, breastfeeding was fairly easy.  I used a hold that I mastered with Will (one hand holding the boob, one behind the neck of the baby with fingers up near the ears) and I was reminded why it was my favorite….complete control of latching on!  hollah!  Even the nurses and the lactation consultant commented on what a great hold it was and how impressed they were with our progress.  They also asked if I wanted to try other holds…to which I promptly said no.  I am a firm believer that for me, I like to conquer one hold before trying new things…and Weston was still learning. 

Did it hurt?  Sure.  But I would say that that initial nipple pain with your first lasts about a month.  With the second, half that tops.  Oh and when your milk comes in your second time – it’s bigger and badder.  like if my first was a class three tropical storm, the second time it was a class four.  Engorgement this time was fierce…but I knew how to combat it so WHEW.

The biggest difference with breastfeeding the first and second was that Will was like a tornado on my chest…flailing, scratching, kicking, pushing….and Weston was like the calm that follows the storm.  Weston does things that I thought were urban mommy myths.  He stays still, grips my shirt with his chubby little fingers, adjusts his head slowly and lays calmly in my arms.  He stays latched the entire time and is efficient and keeps both lips turned out (which is a really big deal because I would have to fix Will’s constantly).  Also Weston does exactly what is described in the books….he nurses, pulls off, needs burping, nurses on the other side, pulls off when full.  HOLY Tim Tebow…didn’t realize that could actually happen with a newborn.  Amazing.  Basically it took Will 6 months to learn that!  And I credit it all to personality differences.

How is it going now – two months later?  Better than I could have ever dreamed.  He nurses every three hours during the day and then in the evening, he cluster feeds – moving the sessions closer together.  Yup…dinner time I’m all rock-out-with-the-boob-out.  Right around ten to midnight (depending on how many calories he has consumed I think) he nurses for the last time and then sleeps till 8 am.  I KNOW!  it’s freaking AMAZING.   

Have I done anything different this time around?  Not initially no.  But I did notice that this time I am eating more (C’mon, Thanksgiving was that week!), Weston is not colic at all and I can recognize letting-down easier…so if it’s not happening when he latches on, I can try harder to really relax and think milky thoughts.  I’ve also invested a lot more time in burping and that ‘fall-in-love’ time.   

All that to say – this time has been polar opposite of my first experience.  And to be perfectly honest, I’m so glad that I had the hard experience first because it makes this one so much sweeter.  It has left the sweetest taste in my mouth…pun intended :)  And I hope that anyone that reads this leaves with a few simple things….sometimes things are hard and sometimes things aren’t….the main thing is, whether you are breastfeeding, or pumping, or formula feeding…continue to be stubborn in your love for your child….each one is a beautiful and unique creation.  And continue to encourage other moms….this is a tough job we have and we all want what is absolutely best for our kids.  GO US!     

To read Will’s breastfeeding journey – click here :)

Comments

  1. nina says

    Yay! What a great story! You are so super tough and such a great momma, fighting for your kids already. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the birth story :)

  2. Salem says

    Great post! Thank you! So glad it’s going well for you.

    I had twins first up and breast feeding was HARD!!! Thankfully we made it through and your post gives me hope that next time might be a little smoother. Thanks again.

  3. lkb says

    I never comment (but always read), but I just wanted to say how happy I am for you. Ever since reading about your breastfeeding experience with Will and then hearing that you were pregnant, I was wondering how things were going this time around. And I’m so glad that this time was, well, easy and cozy and cuddly.

  4. Lauren H says

    I’m so glad it’s better this time. Can I ask a weird question based on a Friends episode? (Ignore this is the question is too weird and personal.) Have you ever tried your own breast milk?

    • says

      Lauren, I’ve tried mine. So has my husband and my two best friends (one male and one female). It has a sweet, organic taste to it. If you think about it, drinking COW’S milk is WAY weirder than drinking human milk. LOL! In fact, we are the only species that drinks milk from another species.

  5. says

    I am so very glad to hear your second experience is so much better. I became a Certified Lactation Educator over the summer and speak to many moms about their experiences and fears. One thing I hear all the time is how scared some moms are that one experience (birth, breastfeeding, etc) will be indicative of another. And it’s just not true. Just because you had one c-section doesn’t mean you have to have two. Just because you had a hard time nursing one baby doesn’t mean you’ll have a hard time nursing another. In fact, with each baby born, you develop a new layer of “milk receptor sites” and subsequently, should make more milk with each child! Amazing. Moms are amazing.

    So happy for you, Katie. This post is going to be a wonderfully positive message for so many moms who had the same first experience as you!

    • Sheri says

      I am very interested in becoming a lactation educator. I breastfeed my son (now 3) for 13 months and having fun again with my 1 month old daughter. How do I get started with certification?

  6. says

    It is so awesome to hear your story. My newest is 3 months and was a polar opposite than my first (much harder this time around pain wise but she sleeps so much better) but I love to hear others stories. Do you find it so fascinating to see the difference in their personalities from so young?! I totally agree that experiences are mostly based on the baby’s personality.

  7. says

    Yes children are all different! I commend you for sticking it through with Will and being open minded with Weston. Both our kids were completely different nursers, and I’m glad they had that precious breastmilk. I have to also add that your pictures are so adorable. It almost makes me want to have another baby!

  8. Angela says

    I cannot say anything that hasn’t been said, but I celebrate with you. Nursing can be so difficult. Wishing you and your menfolk all good things.

  9. Leah says

    I absolutely love the photo of you and Weston nursing. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on the internet lately! My 3rd baby is now 4.5, and seeing this photo makes me nostalgic of our nursing days. I had a lot of pain with my first baby nursing, but I’m so glad I persevered, and it did get easier with each baby. Enjoy these precious moments!

  10. says

    W0w how our stories sound sooooo similar…I’m pregnant w/ my second son and I’m also crossing my fingers for a VBAC & successful BF. I also had a c-section & didn’t see my son for 3 hours after he was born while I was in ‘recovery’ which I think made all the difference (he was born overseas). So your story is encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Jen says

    Thank you so much for posting this, Katie! I don’t comment a lot, but I felt I had to this time. I’m expecting my second child in early May, and I had a VERY rough experience nursing my first child. When I let myself think about it, I get really nervous and anxious about how it will be nursing Baby #2. It’s so reassuring to see that the whole breastfeeding thing CAN go better a second time around. I’m really hoping I have a similar story to tell!

  12. Jamie H says

    Thanks so much for sharing! My son is six months old and breastfeeding has been somewhat of a struggle (though not nearly as rough as yours with Will). It’s encouraging to hear both of your experiences, especially the fact that you kept at it with Will! So many people just suggest giving up and formula feeding but I’ve stuck with it and have never even given a bottle. I definitely think it’s worth the struggle and I’m glad there are people like you talking about it! It helps the rest of us feel normal!

  13. Alice H says

    I am so glad that you are having a better experience this time. My first baby, Emilee, had colic and she took about an hour to eat each time. It didn’t hurt as bad as what you described with Will but it was exhausting!! My second baby was a dream! Like Weston, Zackary slept ALL the time and he nursed so well. My third and final baby was also a nursing champ! I am so fortunate and consider it a huge blessing that I was able to nurse for 11 months, 7 months, and 8 months.

  14. nicole says

    Hi Katie!

    I have 4 boys and nursing my first 10 yrs ago was similar to your situation with Wil (c-sec and all)l…I unfortunately only made it 6 weeks….I didn’t try wth my 2nd…a vbac….but did with my 3rd(vbac) after months of research, preparing and taking a class…we did great for 8 mos….I got pregnant again and had to stop…my 4th(vbac) is 16 mos and we are slowly weaning…so glad you posted it’s good to know others go through it! and get it!

  15. says

    Oh this post just made me bawl my eyes out! No joke! I have an almost 10 year old boy and almost 3 year old boy……nursed both. First to 15 months, second boy to 22 months. And I was so blessed both were fierce eaters and LOVED to nurse from day one. Think the tears came from your honesty and me missing nursing my babies who are now growing into little men….lovely lovely little men but at moments sure is easy to miss the babies they once were. I stumbled upon your blog about a year ago and check on it everyday….I love the way you write and enjoy travelling on your journey of motherhood with you. I was a working mama with my first as I owned a children’s boutique but took some time off and stayed home with my second……now I am running a somewhat new business full time while managing the kids 100%……so thank you for allowing me to have a glimpse into your life and thank you for making my morning coffee(or late in the day coffee as it is today) that much sweeter as I sip and read your posts! xo Sarah

  16. Lindsey says

    Thank you for sharing. My son is 5 1/2 months and while I didn’t have the same experience as you had with Will, it was similar. We’re just starting to hit our groove. Your story about breastfeeding with Weston gives me so much hope for future wee ones. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Emily says

    Thank you for this post! I’m so glad to hear things are going well with Weston. Your post about Will helped me so much as I struggled with significant pain for the first several months of breastfeeding. Thanks for your encouragement to keep going! We’re at 6.5 months and still breastfeeding. Yay!

    PS–What a cutie pie that Weston is! :)

  18. Chelsea says

    So happy to hear this time is going well!!
    You mentioned you knew how to manage engorgement…I must know how you did that? I experienced very little with my first, but am nervous about the second. What was your method???
    Congrats again!

    • says

      Well, I only pumped if ABSOLUTELY necessary…never more than once in a 24 hour period…because I didn’t want to mess with my supply if I couldn’t keep up. And I alternated heat and cold. So heat right before nursing to allow for letdown and cold packs after nursing to help with the pain. I’ve heard cabbage leaves in the freezer…but I didn’t do it :) Also, I would never skip a session…I would wake up Weston at night for that first week…and I always did the massage so that any ducts would get emptied (to help prevent mastitis). Hope this helps!
      xo – kb

  19. Ps says

    Please please PLEASE tell me how to make my 4 month old sleep that long! He is a very very punctual baby and demands the boob every 3 hours exactly, all day and all night. While I am very lucky and grateful that he is calm and quiet, I am so freakin tired and need to sleep more than 2 hours at a time… What am I doing wrong here?

    On another note, so happy that everything is much easier for you this time! I’m a long time reader and adore you and your blog!

    • says

      I don’t think you are doing anything wrong…it’s just how different babies are! I know it’s tough…that was how Will was (and still is – horrible sleeper!). You are doing great!
      xo – kb

  20. says

    Katie – I am so stinkin’ happy that nursing is going so well this time around. Breastfeeding is no joke, and I think that more people need to share experiences. Also, that little guy may be the cutest thing. Like ever.

  21. Ang says

    Greetings to you and your entire family. I am a recent newcomer to your blog and first time commenter. I commend you on your honesty and your willingness to share with the virtual world your journeys as a wife and mom. It seems like we (women) are hardest on ourselves and equate our value to the things we can or cannot do rather than the beings we are. I’ve been married for nine years, and after eight years of medical complication after medical complication, I have finally been cleared to even “try” to get pregnant.

    I will never be able to breastfeed. I had extensive mandatory reconstructive breast surgery almost a year ago so there is nothing left (on the inside) for me to breastfeed with. Because of other complications, I will only be able to deliver babies by C-section. While some would (and have even told me) that I am tragic, I am not. I am a woman with the capacity to carry life and the genius to make sure that my babies don’t starve, even if their nourishment doesn’t come directly from me. My limitations only make room for greater miracles and I praise my God that I am even alive today! There is no sadness, guilt, or shame for me because I have decided to “be” present in whatever moment I find myself in.

    So I said all of that to say this, I appreciate the fact that you choose not to judge. You’re blessed, so take it easy on yourself from time to time, okay? I know we all want the best for those we love, but we need to make sure that those we love include ourselves. Whether we can or cannot conceive, the ways in which we give birth or how we feed, being human in our reactions to sickness, grief, or the ups and downs of life, all are no comparison to the incredible beings we are. You are a beautiful, passionate, uniquely designed woman crafted by God, so I hope that in this new adventure of your life, you will continue to breathe, to live, to love, to laugh often, and most importantly, just be…

  22. Kimberly F. says

    Katie, Thanks for sharing about this! I am currently nursing my 8 month old and although we never had a difficult time with it I can certainly empathize with those who do. Great job sticking with it. Thanks for being so candid with your experiences. It is so encouraging to hear other moms share their stories and know that we all struggle with things. I’m so happy for you that you had a successful VBAC. I can’t wait to hear about how it all went down!
    Kimberly

  23. Patricia says

    This made me cry! I had a nightmare of a story from emergency c, to using attach on nipples, and a lactation nurse who bruised my babys face teaching her to suck. I even was told by a nurse around 2am my baby couldnt leave if she lost more weight and maybe I should use formula. Anyways, I came home with more terrible luck; baby blues, a colic baby and an ER trip around 5 weeks old. I sadly quit trying and just pumped. I hope to be pregnant again soon and know I can and will rock it better next time! Thanks for the hope and great story.

  24. Juanita Altamirano says

    i went through the same experiences…my first child it was so hard to nurse, everyone i spoke to kept telling me my baby was not latching on right. while i read your previous story, it brought back so many [horrible] memories. i had to stop nursing. i couldn’t do it. then with my second, i wanted to try again, and it was still painful but not like my first experience. glad to know i wasn’t the only one.

  25. Dana says

    So happy you’re having a better go’round with Weston! I had a lot of the same issues with my son. He’s 9 weeks now and it’s much better now. I had his frenulum clipped and it helped SO MUCH. He still flails and kicks at times, but I have an over active let down and oversupply, so he’s constantly choking/drowning on milk. I still love it though. I love the weight of his little body in my arms and the sounds he makes. It makes me so happy.

  26. says

    Hey Katie! I can’t thank you enough for sharing your breastfeeding stories – the good and the bad. =) I’ve been a long-time blog follower so I read your first bf post when you wrote it but at that time I had no children and had not yet been through an unfortunately similar saga. So when you posted your second post, I went back and read the first again.

    Can I just say that you are super strong and your fight to bf is inspiring! I have a 4.5 month old now who was about as wild as could be. A total hot mess. (I just wrote about this here: http://dacandalisha.blogspot.com/2013/04/being-mama-hoo-rah-for-ta-ta-milk.html)

    My little man had a bad latch among other things, I had some major boobie trauma, and I ended up exclusively pumping which I’m thrilled I’m able to do but it’s not exactly easy or convenient either – plus I’m starting to struggle with supply. Your first post made me feel not quite so alone in the negative experience department and your second post gave me the hope that next time might be different. I’m even considering trying to nurse Reid again now! We’ll see how it goes. =) Thanks for your honesty and encouragement. I love your blog and am thrilled this time has been so much more positive for you!

  27. Julie says

    Reading this post just made my day! I’m expecting #2 and my delivery and breastfeeding for #1 were both rough to say the least. #1 was 10 pounds 9 ounces and after pushing for three hours, he had to be delivered with a vacuum assist (if that failed, it would have been an emergency c-section). He breastfed right away…around the clock. It drove me nuts. Then I got mastitis–three or four times. My breasts went from a 32 B before baby to a 32 H/I. I’m not kidding. I’m a little nervous about the milk flowing more this time around (ha), but I hope that my experience mimics yours—an easier one the second time around.

    So glad that you gained something from your first experience and that the second time was the charm. Hope it’s still going well. (Visiting from YHL.)

    Best to you and your family!!

  28. Lindsay says

    I had a terrible time bf with my first, so thanks for the hope that it can be different!! Do u have a link to the page with the story where u talk about bf’ing your first? I’d love to read it!

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