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~

 

 


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

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 nursing in special circumstances. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


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~


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