Breastfeeding the 2nd Time Around

I saw this article shared on facebook this morning and was inspired to write this post. I couldn’t agree with it more. Breastfeeding is so very natural, but NOT easy. I think more women would stick with it if they didn’t have unrealistic expectations. If they were aware of the very common challenges and difficulties, they might not think something is wrong with them when they experience it. I’ve even heard several times that “if you’re experiencing pain or soreness while breastfeeding, you’re not doing it right or your baby isn’t latched on properly.” Rubbish, I say! Yes, if your baby has a bad latch, it will definitely hurt. But it also hurts when they have a good latch! At first. Every single woman I’ve talked to who breastfeeds, experienced some pain in the beginning (some more than others). It’s normal. But, it DOES get easier. It really does. Knowing that in advance and having support and encouragement is the only thing that got me through those painful first weeks with Gwen (you can read about that experience here)

The 2nd time around for me has been much easier. I did experience some soreness again at the beginning, but not nearly as bad (no tears this time!) I think it helped that I really did know what to expect and was more mentally prepared for it. Now, if I could tell my first-time-breastfeeding-self one thing though, now that I’m going through it the 2nd time, it would be this: Relax, watch your baby, not the clock. I was told in the hospital after Gwen was born, to make sure she eats for at least 15 minutes on both sides and to never let her go more than 3 hours without eating. Is it a good rule of thumb and guideline, sure. Especially as a newborn, they should be eating about every 2-3 hours. But I kind of obsessed over it at times and got really stressed out whenever she didn’t do that (which was a lot of the time). Eventually I abandoned that and just let her eat on demand, for as long as she wanted. But this time around, I’ve done it from the beginning and it’s been so much more enjoyable and less stressful. He eats when he’s hungry, and eats until he’s full. Makes sense, right? Sometimes it’s only 10 mins, sometimes it’s 30 mins. And I don’t keep track of anything. Having a toddler running around makes that difficult anyway. If you were to ask me “when did he eat last and when will he be ready to eat again”? …I probably wouldn’t be able to give you an accurate answer (an estimate, maybe, sure). But he lets me know when he’s hungry and that works for us.

Also, I don’t obsess over “what can I eat/drink while breastfeeding?” as much as I used to either. I drink coffee. I drink wine. In moderation, of course (which I normally do anyway). But I’ve adopted the same mentality here, “watch your baby”. Some babies are more sensitive to what you eat and drink than others. So just pay attention. If your baby seems to be super fussy or crazy after you’ve had 2 cups of coffee, maybe cut back to 1 (or none) and see if that makes a difference. But with Gwen I would make sure I waited at least 2 hours after drinking a glass of wine before feeding her again. 2 hours exactly. No less. Because I read that’s how long it would take for the alcohol to be  completely out of your system after 1 glass. Even though very little alcohol actually makes it into your breastmilk, it’s better to be safe. Blah blah blah. This time around, I’ve been known to drink a glass of wine WHILE feeding Ivor. Judge me if you’d like. He’s fine.

The main point I’m trying to make is, RELAX. Don’t obsess. Pay more attention to your baby than to what you’ve read (especially on the internet, including my posts lol) or even what you’ve been told, because like that article mentioned, there’s a lot of bad advice out there. Obsessing and stressing just makes breastfeeding more difficult and less enjoyable. At least that’s been my experience. Maybe others have found great success while obsessing and stressing …but I haven’t met any of those people.

A great resource I used a lot in the past is kellymom.com. But also, nothing can replace the support and encouragement of real live people 🙂

7193bc8aaeeeca5e02b84276370b3833