Like every other mom, I had no clue what the hell I was doing when it came to breastfeeding my first child. Sure, I took a course at the hospital, but it’s not like the videos we watched actually prepared me for what was to come. Advice like, “Oh you’ll know what to do when the baby is here,” didn’t help either. After my son was born I watched countless YouTube videos in the wee hours of the night as he cried with my husband right next to me saying, “Yea, it doesn’t look that way when you two do it.”
The fact that my tiny human son was relying on me as his only form of nutrition was so so so stressful. Oh and did I mention painful?! I was not one of those moms that had a “great connection” feeding my first baby. We struggled, he more than I and because of it we ended up supplementing him with formula and pumped breastmilk for the first year of his life. It made me sad and for a long time I felt like I had failed him somehow as a mother because we just didn’t get the whole breastfeeding thing.
After I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 I made a vow to myself to try harder this time around. I knew the difference between a good latch and poor latch. I knew what would happen to my body and yes, it may hurt a little. Ultimately, I knew how beneficial breastmilk was to those growing bones. I also knew that feeding my baby formula was not the end of the world and if it came down to it, we would do it for this baby just like we did for her brother.
Ironically, my little girl has been the total opposite of my son since day one. She’s got a feisty soul and needs to do things on her own time, in every possible way, including nursing. She’ll be two in a few months and has had a love for the boob since day one. I don’t see it stopping anytime soon, so I won’t get in her way.
A lot of moms say things to me like, “Oh wow! That’s so awesome you’ve been going this long!” Little do they know, it has nothing to do with my desire to nurse, but more so my daughters obsession with “Miiiiiiiiillk!!” as she so lovingly refers to it. Breastfeeding is our thing. We’ve got a system and it works for us.
Comparing my two baby feeding experiences some may say it was easier the first time. I just had to make sure a bottle was available and ready when needed. Yet, I spent countless hours attached to a breast pump, packaging up bags of milk and mixing formula. When my son turned one I threw that pump into the closet and never looked back. It may have looked easy from the outside, but it was tough stuff all that pumping.
With #2 sometime I feel like its actually easier because I don’t need any accessories, just the boob! Easy peasy. There are days I love nursing. There are days I hate it too and wish the milk was all gone. Then there are days where I just sit dumbfounded and in awe of the human body and what it can do to support these little lives we love so much.
With my bottle-fed baby I could take him anywhere, and anybody could feed him. With #2 I slowly learned to take her anywhere, just as long as I was comfortable nursing. At first, I was not prepared to nurse in public. But, I got over it. What was I going to do, let her starve? I got myself a cute nursing cover and then we became a nursing-in-public duo. Side note: No one else has ever fed her though, so that has been a serious adjustment. She’s very much attached to me, or the boob rather if I’m being honest.
With my daughter being exclusively breastfed I’ve had to put aside a lot of my own wants, needs and desires- much more so than with my son. I’ve missed out on a lot of dinners with friends, happy hour parties and I still have yet to go watch a movie in a theater without her. She needs me right now. I’m her mama.
At the end of the day, each feeding scenario has its pros and cons. If I could give any advice on feeding it’s to just do what works for you. From personality, to sleep habits, no two children are alike and the same goes for their feeding preference.
When you have more than one child you quickly learn to remain open and positive about all things. Life is going to go how life is supposed to go and it’s not worth getting upset about the way things went with kid #1 vs kid #2. Try not to compare or get discouraged if things are vastly different from the way you thought they would be.
Throughout the last four years of motherhood I’ve gone from one extreme of breastfeeding to the other. It’s been a strange, but amazing journey and I feel like after having the two wildly different babies, I can safely say I’ll be able to handle anything that happens with the next one when it comes to breastfeeding. That is, if my boobs don’t shrink to nothing and dry up before that next one comes along!