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Friday, November 4, 2011

Breastfeeding Choices the Second Time Around

I have been lucky enough to have breastfed two children without many issues. Baby T was a no-brainer. He just latched on and away we went. Of course, I wondered if his latch was good since he didn't flare out his lips very much, but it wasn't painful, so I didn't really question it. We had issues down the road with nursing strikes and then with weaning, but initially, it was smooth sailing.

Little M was a little tougher. Of course, by that time I thought I was a pro and wasn't worried about any challenges. I was still nursing a toddler (with teeth) so I didn't think nursing a newborn would be painful. It was. He had a shallow latch, and I was lazy about relatching because I hadn't had to deal with this the first time. So he wore away a spot of skin on my nipple from rubbing it on the roof of his mouth. Luckily, I had a toddler to nurse on that side until it healed.

But instead of rehashing the details of my newborn nurslings, I told you this to exemplify the point that every baby is different, and you can plan all you want, but it may never go according to plan. I didn't really have a plan with either kid. My only plan was to breastfeed. It was the only option for us. This is how the rest of the story went:

I scheduled nursings for Baby T but not for Little M

When I came home from the hospital with instructions to "feed the baby every 2-3 hours," I became completely obsessive-compulsive about keeping track of Baby T's feeding times. I kept a detailed journal of when he ate, when he slept, and what he did in between. That lasted less than 2 weeks. Then, I became the lazy mom that I am and fed him when he seemed hungry or fussy. But Baby T was a very bad sleeper, and when he was 4 or 5 months old, I decided that since he was eating every 2 hours or so during the day, it made him want to eat every 2 hours or so at night. So I started to only nurse him every 3-4 hours. It did help with his night wakings. And I think because I nursed him so much at night, I filled up his already sensitive belly, and he spit up a lot.

With Little M, on the other hand, I didn't have time for journals. I fed him whenever he cried, pretty much. I still do. Sometimes he bites me, as though he's saying, "MOM! I'm not hungry. Just bounce me on your hip or something, please." Sometimes Little M sleeps through the night and sometimes he's up every hour. But I don't have the time or mental organization to schedule his feelings.

I worked full time with Baby T but not with Little M

Baby T had a few nursing strikes before he was a year old. These were emotional anguish for me; I couldn't stay home with him and relax skin-to-skin. Instead, I would go to work and he would get a bottle. I did try to come home or go to his daycare to nurse him at lunch, and I nursed him when I dropped him off and picked him up. But it was really draining for me to be away from him when I felt like all he needed was his mother.

I was lucky enough to stay home with Little M. Luckily, we haven't had to contend with any nursing strikes. But when he's been sick, I've been able to be with him and hold him all day.

Baby T slept in the crib, but Little M coslept

Baby T was fussy at night and didn't seem comfortable next to us in bed. He would just roll around and cry, and he wasn't comfortable nursing lying down--he always spit up afterwards. He would relax much better if I sat up in a rocker and nursed him there. But from day one, I was too tired to do anything but cosleep with Little M. Even though he wakes up a lot at night sometimes, I get a good night's sleep because I don't have to get out of bed.

It almost seems as though I did everything with Little M opposite of what I had done with Baby T. I didn't plan it that way--I guess I didn't plan it at all. I just did what worked, depending on each baby's needs and what worked for my family at the time. My kids' personalities are very different, and there is a lot about them that is opposite, so it makes sense that everything I did in regards to nursing was opposite. I don't know what I'll do if I have another baby; I guess I'll have to wait and see.

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop. Visit the links below and link up your own story or leave a comment!


Elaine said... Best Blogger Tips

It's amusing how we all jokingly label ourselves as lazy. I do it too but when I think about it b/f is much more work than formula feeding. Simple because we have to be there, on call, 24/7.

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