Nursing in Special Circumstances: Preemie, Pregnancy, and a Pair of Nurslings.

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If you have been following and reading along this week, you have probably figured out by now that I have had some pretty special nursing circumstances.  And let me tell you, NONE of which were what I expected or planned with either of my children.  But that is the crux of motherhood is it not?  Nothing is ever really as we plan it and that is what makes this journey so incredible.

Nursing my son when he was only 3 and a half pounds was a challenge, my boobs were almost twice the size of his tiny head and never mind getting that tiny little mouth to latch on to more than just the tip of my nipple!!  I mean really, look at him!  As you can see, he had some pretty serious jaundice as well and that made him really sleepy at the breast too.  So it wasn't easy, but with the right help (we ended up seeing three lactation nurses during our first 4 months of nursing), the proper amount of determination and plain old stubbornness and the knowledge that I was doing everything in my power to give him the best start in life, we managed.  We also cried a lot, me because I was so frustrated and post-partum, and a new mom, and him because my let-down was too fast and furious or he was not getting enough or I was feeding him on the wrong side, or...or....  God, if only we could have some kind of mom super power that would let us read their little minds in those early days-wouldn't that be nice?

But like I said before, it got better.  And for all the moms reading this and wondering if it does get better--please hang in there, it really does!  From six months on, we seemed to get our groove on and both of us were much happier with our nursing relationship.  So much so, that when I got pregnant with my second child, he showed no signs of wanting to stop.

Nursing while you are pregnant can be a challenge for moms.  Your body is changing, your hormones are out of whack, and your milk is also changing during this time.  I read the La Leche League book "Adventures in Tandem Nursing:Breastfeeding during pregnancy and Beyond" by Hilary Flower and it was a life-saver during this time.  One of the things that surprised me the most about nursing while pregnant was the emotions that come up - and I am not talking about any good ones here.  I swear there were times when he was nursing and I was so angry about the whole situation that I just wanted to throw him across the room!  Not that I EVER did that, but the feelings where there.  For a few months there was anger and an almost physical aversion to nursing him. Which, as I found out from my LLL moms and leaders and the book, is all completely normal. Oh, whew, so I was not going insane!  During that time I did have to come up with some strategies to minimize those feelings though.  Whenever we were nursing and the 'bad' feelings started to bubble up, I would count out loud to ten and he knew that at ten our session would be over.

I don't know if my milk ever completely dried up during my pregnancy because he nursed through the whole 10 months!  I do think towards the end he must have thought he hit the breastfeeding jackpot when my colostrum started to come in!!  I will also point out that because I did not have a 'break' between my nurslings, when my daughter was born, I did not have those few days of little to no milk production before my milk came in--it never really left me!  And this brings us to our time of tandem nursing.

I have to say, that I was one of those moms who, even when I was nursing my infant and baby son, never quite understood the concept of tandem nursing. Of course, I did not know at the time that he would be nursing until his third birthday!  And because we had nursed all through my pregnancy, it seemed kind of silly to just stop because the new baby had arrived.  I wanted to keep nursing him AND the baby and here were my reasons for doing so:

    1. He is a small kid-always has been and my thought at the time was this, "Hey, I have all this lovely fatty newborn milk, why not give him some and fatten him up a bit."
    2. I thought that we would try to avoid any major jealousy issues over baby nursing and getting all of mommy's attention by letting him 'share' the nursing with her. I hoped that he would have a better time accepting this new person in his life--and in the end this really was the case.
    3. I was not ready to let that part of our relationship go just yet.  I really wanted weaning to happen naturally when we were both ready and this was just not that time.

So there you have it folks, my special circumstances of nursing.  To be honest, during the whole time I have nursed my kids, I haven't looked at it as 'special circumstances'.  I just think that it hasn't really occurred to me to stop.  Even now, my daughter is 22 months old and I do not know when we will stop.  I don't plan these things.  I am just letting nature take it's course and will go with the flow of motherhood and milk!!

Ciao Mamas, Natasha~

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