Have you seen the diaper commercial that compares the difference in how a mom behaves with the first child to how she is with the second child. With the first child, she has everything, including the kitchen sink, packed in the diaper bag and the stroller, then forgets to load the baby into the stroller. With the second child, she has a logically sized diaper bag, wearing the baby, grabs her keys and calls for the toddler to follow her. When I first saw this commercial, I cried….from laughing hysterically! It was so relatable. Both of my younger, biological kiddos are weaned and have been for at least 2.5 years. I was reflecting on my breastfeeding experience with both of them and realized how similar, but also how very different they were.
Modesty was the Key…at first
With my firstborn, my son, I was afraid to nurse anywhere except the privacy of my own home or car…and sometimes, I felt the need to be in my bedroom. Okay, admittedly the bedroom thing was for more selfish reasons. I loved the opportunity to escape for a few moments of quiet and solitude with my baby. We couldn’t use a nursing cover because we had latch issues, so the overwhelming fear of being exposed led me to isolate myself. I would leave the room at family functions, at restaurants, in church, you name it, I went to hide. Though, I never went as far as to nurse in a bathroom. Towards the end of my son’s first year, I began to open up a bit. I was pro-breastfeeding and felt empowered that I was doing something that I felt so passionately about.
Fast forward to 21 months after my son’s birth, to the birth of my daughter
I had a few serious complications that made the first few days of breastfeeding nearly unbearable, but I was determined to succeed a second time. We needed a lot of help in the first few weeks post-partum and I didn’t care who saw what. Simply, I only cared that my daughter was nursing and getting what she needed. After I healed from the complications, I was left to tend to my 21 month old son, our then 10 year old and a newborn, while my husband worked. I found myself more confident in my choice to breastfeed, and would feed my little girl whenever she was hungry regardless of where I was. I nursed her while wearing her during shopping trips (oh the looks!). In the middle of a sermon at church, I nursed her. I nursed her while eating dinner at family gatherings. I carried my head high and was met with little verbal protest. Lots of funny and ugly looks, but I laughed at them. I still laugh!
Latch, Letdown and the Pain
My son had a tongue tie that made the first few weeks painful and challenging. The tongue tie was corrected, but, the pain did not disappear. I remember sitting in tears, thinking that I couldn’t do it any longer. I couldn’t take the pain, I was failing my son. Okay, let me be straight, if you cannot continue your breastfeeding journey for ANY reason,
YOU MOST CERTAINLY ARE NOT A FAILURE!
One of the Breastfeeding World bloggers wrote a beautiful article titled, “Motherhood: When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Work Out“. Go read it, then come back and finish this one.
Now that I’ve said that, it was an emotional battle for me. We used nipple shields and all sorts of things to try to make it better. In time, the pain subsided except the occasional letdown tingle.
When my daughter was born, I felt armed and prepared for the latching, the letdown tingle and the pain. Or so I thought. I did have a pretty good handle on the various positions for achieving a comfortable latch and the let down tingle wasn’t a shock to me, but the pain still came. This time, I knew that if I could power through, it would subside and it did. It took a little longer than with my son because of my daughter’s uncorrected lip tie. Sheesh, I learned to loathe the word “tie”.
I didn’t have a specific amount of time that I wanted to nurse my son, so long as I made it beyond one year. When my son was 14 months old, I found out we were expecting another little bundle of joy. I tried super hard during the first few months of pregnancy to continue nursing my son, but my nipples were so sensitive and it turned into an unpleasant experience for us both. Weaning him was super hard and heartbreaking. But it had to be done.
When he weaned the world didn’t end
There was no meteor strike that destroyed hundreds and hundreds of miles of landscape and caused mass tragedy.
For round 2, I decided I didn’t want to wean until I had to, or she weaned herself. I remember the night she self weaned like it was yesterday. She was 12 months, 1 week old and she refused to nurse for her nighttime feeding. I was devastated and cried and whined. The world didn’t end then either. It was disappointing to be done, but also relieving to know that we had moved on to the next chapter in our story.
Baby Blues…or Post-partum depression
When I found out that I was expecting for the first time, I was taking an anti-depressant. I stopped immediately as I wanted to have as natural and chemical free of a pregnancy as possible. I managed fairly well emotionally through-out the pregnancy, and due to the chaos that was returning to work and pumping, the baby blues were not as strong.
After the birth of my daughter, I began to feel sad, mad and upset, ALL the time. I had horrible thoughts and said horrible things. At the time, I blamed it on situational stress since there was a lot going on in our home at that time. In hindsight and after hearing other testimonies, I believe I suffered from un-diagnosed and un-treated post-partum depression. It was a dark and scary time for me.
Since then, I have decided to verbalize my experience and help other moms that may also be struggling
Breastfeeding World has an amazing team of bloggers that have shared their experiences with post-partum depression. Head on over to the Blog and check out the variety of encouraging and helpful blogs by our diverse team of moms.
Have you found that nursing your second, third, fourth, etc child was different from your first? Comment below with how you experiences have been different! I can’t wait to hear your stories!
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