Our version of 'Milk Sharing'!

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding when you have more than one child. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


As soon as my son was 11 months old, we decided to start trying to get pregnant with baby number two. And just like the first time around it took us three months of 'trying' to do just that.

*Oh, and if you are wondering how I managed to do this without weaning my son first in order to get Dear Aunt Flo back, well, that lovely lady decided that 2 months without her was plenty for me and she came back when C was a mere 8 weeks old!! Seriously!! I has just stopped all the lochia from his birth and could not for the life of me figure out why I started bleeding again 2 weeks later. It was Natural Urban Dad who figured that one out for me!!*

.....and back to being pregnant with a 14 month old boob-aholic.

Well, the kid just did not stop.

At all.

For the whole pregancy.

All 41 weeks of it.

I am not sure what my milk supply was like during that time, but he never complained. Just kept at it and nursed when he wanted, and for as long as he wanted.

Did I want him to stop during the pregnancy?

I won't lie. Yes, there were days were the mere thought of him nursing was enough to make me want to scratch my eyes out and it really did physically make my skin crawl on a few occasions. Thankfully I was reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower at the time and knew that this kind of physical aversion is COMPLETELY normal and mostly due to all the pregnant hormonal changes going on. I basically had to suck it up during those times and keep going. We also started to do a lot of count downs around that time (I would give him a 10-20 count and then he had to come off) and we made it through those few rough patches, our breastfeeding relationship still intact!

I think continuing to breastfeed my son while I was pregnant made him very aware of the whole situation early on and also, in a weird and totally awesome sense, gave him and his sibling a connection of sorts way before they ever actually met. I remember at about 6 months he could actually start to feel her kicks and thought it was quite hilarious. He would talk to her, kiss my belly (the baby) and pat it and rub it while he was nursing.

C was still quite a little guy at the time, at 18 months he weighed a mere 20 pounds, and my thought had always been to tandem nurse them for a while to give him the benefits of some nice fatty newborn milk! My daughter was born at 9 PM on October 14th, 2008, we were home by 10 AM the next day and I had both of them latched on by about 10:30.

I do believe that being able to nurse both of them, either together or one at a time, made the transition from single child to big brother a whole lot easier for my first born. Yes, he did have to learn to share mommy, but he did not have to give up something that was a huge part of his life, his source of nutrition, his source of comfort and our happy place together!

We never went through a big jealousy phase with him when his sister was born and I attribute that in large part to the fact that I was tandem breastfeeding. And shortly after L was born, pointing to my breasts, my little man told me very clearly in his 2 year old voice that one side was for him and the other side was for Baby L. :)

Breastfeeding during pregnancy and then for a whole year of tandem nursing made the transition from one to two kids easier for me, and also for my son. Yes, it was hard at times, but I am glad that we did it this way. I was so happy to be able to provide the nourishment and nurturing that both my children needed during a time of big change for our little family and I firmly believe that it has made all the difference!

And it was an Adventure!

Natasha~

 

 


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

NIP by NUM

(nursing in public by natural urban mama) So here I am almost ready to call it a night (I've been up to my eyeballs in Quickbooks, trust me I am ready to go to bed) and I pop onto Twitter and see this tweet from Jessica (AKA @TheLeakyBoob).

And I got mad, MAD, MAD!!  Here is the link to the guy's actual comment on The Leaky Boob's Facebook Page. For one thing he is an ignorant troll and for another, well, he and all of his kind (no, not men, just ignorant human beings) are a HUGE part of the reason that we have such a stigma attached to breastfeeding in our world and why mamas everywhere feel the need to cover up, pump, hide in a bathroom, feed formula when out of the house, etc, etc, etc,.... when all a baby really needs and wants is right there under Mama's shirt!!

Today I had an opportunity to be a passive role model for breastfeeding.

I was sitting in a very busy Cafe O'Play, our local (and might I say fabulous) cafe and indoor play place, with my two and half year old daughter. We were surrounded by a bunch of NEW mamas waiting to get pictures taken and hand and feet castings done by another fabulous friend of mine, the lovely Kara from Wee Piggies and Paws.

Two mamas and their little babes (and grandma) sat down at the table beside me and one of the babies started to fuss. The mama started to look around in a panic and was wondering out loud where she should go to feed her little girl. I am not shy and I told her to just have a seat in the armchair beside me and have at 'er! I could tell she was nervous and so she went off to change the baby first. When she got back she tried to get settled into the chair with her nursing cover on and was struggling to get her little one on the boob. I reached over and helped her hold her cover open so she could see what she was doing (seriously mamas, those damn things are more of a hindrance than anything, IMO).  Baby finally got latched on and you could see the physical release of tension that happened to mama almost immediately.  She told me that she was worried that baby would come off and start coughing though because her let-down is so quick. I gave her a few quick tips about keeping her little girl in more of an upright position and to try laid-back nursing to see if that would help. She was also complaining about her nursing bra and I gave her a few suggestions for nursing wear that might make NIP a bit easier (nursing tanks and T-shirts).

And then....

With the best timing ever, my lovely little extended and expert breastfeeder looked over at me and said, "Mama, can I nurse please?"

And I pulled my shirt aside, exposed myself to no one but my daughter and nursed my 2.5 year old while also having a conversation with Grandma at the next table, typing and sending an email on my laptop and sipping my very yummy latte!!

I felt good at that moment. I felt like I might have made a teeny bit of a difference for that mommy. Maybe she will figure out an easier way to nurse her baby, maybe she will remember how easy and carefree both myself and my daughter where about nursing in public and maybe by example, I just gave a mama the power and knowledge she needed to know that it may be a bit difficult right now, but it will get so much easier.

And that she should never, ever, be made to feel that panic-y feeling whenever and wherever her baby needs to EAT!!

No matter what all the nasty trolls of the world say, breastfeeding is here to stay and I will do my part to make it easier and more normal for all mamas whenever and wherever I can!!

So go suck on THAT!!!

....and goodnight,

Natasha~

Sleep.

I have not slept a full 8 hours a night in 1, 596 days. NO LIES. My son was born just before 8 PM on Monday, December 11, 2006 and I did not sleep that night. I spent it up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit watching him breath and finally getting to hold him at 3 AM. The first week he was there, I went home at night and was up every three hours to pump breast milk for him. His second week in NICU, I stayed at the hospital in the old nurse's residence and was paged every 2-3 hours to go and nurse him.

He was so small and we were so new to all of this. In the NICU every beep, every blip on a monitor made us jump, our moments were measured in decels and oxygen sats, and we came to rely on the machines to reassure us that he was breathing and his heart was beating.

And then he was discharged. He was 4 pounds when we brought him home and could not go more than 2 hours without nursing. I slept in half-hour to 45 minute increments all day long, every day. We no longer had the machines to tell us he was breathing, and so we did not sleep. He slept between us in our bed. And with every stirring, every little moan, we were awake and checking on him.

And this did not stop as the months went on. He slept with us in our bed for his first four months, in his room for about 6 weeks after that and then we moved when he was six months old and he was back in our bed. And through it all never sleeping for more than 3-4 hours.

And of course I did all the "wrong" things (insert eye roll here). I nursed him to sleep, I allowed him to sleep in our bed, I napped with him during the day and I did not teach him to self-sooth. Natural Urban Dad and I became the experts at nighttime parenting, as in we were UP all night 'parenting' our child!!

Oh, trust me, I read ALL the books. Sears, Weissbluth, Pantley and please don't shoot me, even Ezzo. None of it rang true to me. and I refused to do anything remotely resembling "crying it out". What mattered to me was being with my child and soothing him when he needed it and he needed it, A LOT!

A few months before my daughter was born we bought C his Big Boy bed. We skipped the toddler size and went straight for the double bed. Maybe that was a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy, because once L was born and for most of her first year we effectively had a 'girls bed' and a 'boys bed' in our house.

And we were OK with that, sort of. I mean there was still little sleep for me, L was a voracious nurser, and kind of terrible co-sleeper (she is more of the kicking, punching, I gotta be on a boob to sleep kind). The boys on the other hand slept just fine!

(Total aside, but I am now watching that new sitcom "Rasing Hope" and they are talking all about sleep training the poor little baby! Wierd.)

Anywhoo, like I was saying...not sleeping a full night for over 1500 days. I get distracted very easily.

Then about three weeks ago, thanks to the suggestion of a friend, we found a simple reward system that seems to work for C. If he sleeps all night long, all by himself, and in his own bed, then he gets two 'chips' (and yes, by chips, I mean Poker Chips). When he reaches a certain number of chips he gets to 'cash' them in for different things. New books, trips to the zoo or museum, a special toy or even a bag of his favourite Spiderman fruity treats. And he is doing very well with this, with more nights of full sleep for him in the past three weeks than in the past 3 years!

Don't judge me people, I am getting desperate here and the poker chips are working! Although it is not getting any better with kid number two. Little Miss, I thought we had this one all figured out, she used to be able to fall alseep on her own, is now the kid who is up 3-8 times a night and ONLY wants Mama! And she is too young to really GET the whole reward/chip system just yet.

So imagine my excitement when I saw THIS in my Facebook feed this morning!!

Go the Fuck To Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing off to dreamland. Honest, profane, and affectionate, Adam Mansbach's verses and Ricardo Cortés' illustrations perfectly capture the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night, and open up a conversation about parenting in the process. Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny, Go the Fuck to Sleep is a perfect gift for parents new, old, or expectant. Here is a sample verse:

The cats nestle close to their kittens now. The lambs have laid down with the sheep. You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear Please go the fuck to sleep.

I WANT THIS BOOK! And depending on the night, I may or may not be reading it to my kid(s)!!

Sleep tight everyone,

Natasha~

P.S. I also bought some Hyland's Homeopathic Calms Forte for Kids and am giving it a shot with L tonight. Both of us need to get some good night-time sleep and I am really hoping this will help. I will let you know how it goes....