Friday, November 18, 2016

Time to whip out the trusty breast pump? {An Honest Feeding Story}

Being that I'm less than 3 months away from having a newborn again, I've been thinking a lot about my expectations as I enter a new season of being a Mom to TWO! The thing I think about the most (besides how I'm going to divide my time and love between two kiddos) is my expectations for feeding a newborn again. It's time to start cleaning bottles, replacing pump parts and gearing up for breastfeeding again. Dun dun duh.

With Aiden, my plan was always to breastfeed. I read books and articles, attended the class and never swayed from my plan. Aiden arrived and after an initial hospital consult with the lactation consultant, we were a go. He latched on well and I never looked back. I honestly loved almost everything about breastfeeding. Don't be mad Mamas out there, but I never had mastitis, never a blocked milk duct, never intense pain from being too full...if breastfeeding can ever be easy, I'd say I had it easy.

But that's not to say I didn't face any challenges. I went back to work after 3 and a half weeks because I had recently started a new job and I decided to continue breastfeeding. Aiden got pumped breastmilk while I was at work and then I fed him whenever I was home. Thankfully my work schedule and hours were flexible, but pumping is never fun or easy and as a Type A gal prone to worrying, I constantly worried about my milk supply. I tried the cookies and the teas, but I always felt like I was making just enough to get by. It became an all encompassing thought...Do I go out with my friends? If I do, Aiden will have to get a bottle, leaving only enough milk for two feedings instead of three the next day. Should we go on a date and leave after I feed him or before? Do I try pumping more at work? Do I wake up in the middle of the night to pump? These thoughts began taking over and that was hard, but I chose to continue breastfeeding and give myself grace. I came to terms with the possibility of having to give Aiden formula if need be. When Aiden was 10 months old, I researched and bought formula, which before coming a Mom, was not part of my plan.

16 months of breastfeeding later and that formula still sat in my cabinet unopened. While I never ended up having to use it, it made me more compassionate and less judgmental about how women choose to care for their newborns. Having that container of formula in my cabinet was a relief, not a thing causing me guilt. We always want the best for our kids, but our plans do not always remain in our control.

Of course with my second baby, my plan is the same, to breastfeed. While I would love to give him only breast milk and that is my goal, I'm also going to remember that it is OKAY if he needs formula or if breastfeeding doesn't go as planned this time. I'm bracing myself and telling myself that things this time around WILL be different. He will be a different baby than my first. He might not sleep through the night as quickly as Aiden did. He might have reflux or problems latching. I might be too stressed to pump with a toddler running around screaming for my attention. So here's what I do know...I will give my second child all the love I can and will do what I know is best for him and for our family. I know it will not look the same this time around and I'm choosing to be okay with that.

So Mamas of two or more...did your feeding story change when you went from one baby to two?

Helpful Resources/Links About Feeding a Newborn:
Kelly Mom
The Nursing Mother's Companion
Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding
Lactation Cookies to Boost Supply
When You Struggle to Breastfeed (Some encouragement)
The Honest Company

*Read other Honest Feeding Stories Here


Ashley Robyn said...

Thank you for posting this friend. These are the types of things that new, first time mommas need to hear. I am anxious in my home that I can breastfeed but feel at peace with the fact that formula was made for a reason and if that is the route we need to go based on my needs or Adilynn's then so be it!

purpun said...

Beautiful and honest post!

I too had an "easy" breastfeeder the first time around: easy to latch and completely tranquil when she ate. Baby two was a bit of a different story! While I'm overall very lucky to have another successful breastfeeding journey, this little guy was squirmy mcsquirmerson from day one. Latching. Unlatching. Arching his back. Reposition. Repeat.

Even at nearly 7 months most of his daytime feeds involve him unlatching after 5-10 seconds and me walking with him, bouncing, repositioning, and trying over and over again. He is a big, healthy boy and this is just how he thrives! Having a toddler to look after too has made this breastfeeding journey also all that different.

I've also pumped a lot more this time around: every morning one one side while he feeds on the other (the time of day he's least squirmy). But I'm totally with you on the type a worrying. Pump an ounce less one day and I worry all day! Amp up the oatmeal, flax, coconut water, bigger healthier meals, and more sleep - often easier said than done but that's the life of a momma!

We have to keep reminding ourselves that if we have a healthy growing baby we're doing awesome, no matter what our freezer stash looks like, or how many ounces we pumped today, or whether baby is thriving on breastmilk or formula.

Thanks for this post!

The Lady Okie said...

As you know, we ended up needing to use formula for the bottles during the day when R was around 8 months old (I think. Hard to remember now!) It was very emotional for me. I didn't worry about her not getting the "good" stuff or being nourished well. My problem was that I felt like I was being a quitter, like I could do it if I just tried harder, when in reality I was trying so, so hard and it was causing me way too much unneeded stress. For our next baby, I am going to set much more realistic expectations. I want to breastfeed and pump/bottles for work as long as I can, but the moment it gets to a place where it's becoming stressful for me, I'm going to get some formula and not look back!

The Lady Okie said...

*Also, with R I had a total of 5 blocked ducts (which thankfully never turned into mastitis) but OUCH. Those things are painful!

Leigh said...

My breast feeding journey wasn't easy in the beginning (flat nipples, she had a tongue tie), but we finally figured it out. All was well until I got my period back around 8 months which sent my supply tanking. I felt so guilty about having to introduce formula at that point, but finally accepted that's what had to happen if she was going to be fed! I pumped everyday and luckily had a great supply, but dread pumping again. I commend those moms who exclusively pump!

Kaity said...

Crosby definitely nurses more than Charlie did, but he still only sleeps 2.5-3 hour stretches which is totally new for me. I'm kind of glad that Charlie was my "easier" baby, because it's made me more calm about the whole sleep deprivation thing. I'm armed with the knowledge that this too shall pass :) it's crazy how different my babies are even this young!

Rach said...

No advice to offer here, but it sounds like you have a good plan! :) I'm glad you are prepared to offer yourself grace. That's so important!

Amy @ A Desert Girl said...

Great plan! Like you, breastfeeding came as easily as possible for me the first time around, but I hated pumping and I don't think I will next time. I'm fortunate enough to be with my baby (and hopefully will be with future babies) the majority of the day so it worked okay for us to not have a big stash of pumped milk. We had formula available to my mother in law in case they needed it when I was gone. Fed is best!!