Part 1 can be found here.
Two little lines. Positive! We were pregnant again after a very short two months of trying. I was ecstatic since it took over 3 years for our first child. I lived in bliss shortly and then grew somber at the thought of what breastfeeding might bring this time. I knew what I was up against and I was determined to try again. This time I would be armed with more information and with a more open mind as well. This time I started to heal. I knew I was going to get a second chance to attempt breastfeeding again and that it would hopefully be a different experience than the first time around.
With my daughter I mentioned that the reason we had difficulty was because of two main reasons; her latch and my early-onset PCOS. With the PCOS it causes an issues because of under developed breast tissue and glands. Anytime a woman is pregnant her body goes through some major changes and one of those changes is the breast tissue. Because of already having one full pregnancy and birth my breasts had changed and would get the benefit of the next 9 months to develop the tissue and glands needed to breastfeed even more. This is why most women have an easier time with their supply the second time around. The babies latch? Well I just had to pray that my son would be better at that and work with a lactation consultant right away to make sure we started off on the right foot. At 41 weeks pregnant my son made his VERY hasty appearance (born on the freeway after 45 minutes of labor which is a post for another day!) and we entered into our breastfeeding relationship.
From the start things went better with my son. He knew how to latch and MAN did he like to breastfeed! About an hour after birth he had latched on perfectly and nursed for a good 15 minutes. My milk came in by day 3 instead of almost day 6 as it had with my daughter. He nursed almost consistently round the clock which was good for stimulating my supply but it was starting to drain me mentally and physically. I was able to exclusively breast feed him for just over a week, which I was thrilled with and was ecstatic every day that passed that I didn’t have to supplement. However he always seemed hungry and my gut told me that even though he was consistently nursing that I might not be producing quite enough, like I had with my daughter. We worked with a lactation consultant and found out that he was getting about 1.5 ounces from me per feeding and that in just over a week he had only gained 3 oz and wasn’t back up to his birth weight yet at about 2.5 weeks old. I had already been taking herbal supplements to attempt to boost my supply and knowing how things had gone with all the supplements and medications with my first I decided that my sanity this time around was pretty dang important; I did have a 2 and a half year old to take care of as well as my newborn son and I needed to be as healthy as possible. So I made the decision to supplement this time around as well.
This is where I ran into a problem. See my son LOVES the boob. He’s a boob man through and through. After exclusively breastfeeding for just over a week and then introducing the bottles he had a preference for the breast. He took the bottles at first but with each day he seemed more and more unhappy about them. It didn’t matter what was in them, frozen breast milk, fresh breast milk or formula, he just didn’t care for the bottles. I tried multiple bottles and nipple shapes. He’s now 3 months old and has days where he absolutely will not take a bottle. He’ll just scream and cry and flail about when it comes near his mouth. So, enter the supplemental nursing system again. This time around though I haven’t hated it. I’ve loved it. It’s allowing me to supplement my son but still have that breastfeeding relationship
My feelings on supplementing have really changed from devastation to acceptance. Is BREAST THE BEST? Absolutely. Is formula evil? No. My daughter is a very smart 2.5 year old who can count to 15 and identify all her letters and even tell you the sound some of the letters make. She’s very healthy and happy. Formula hasn’t seemed to affect her negatively at all. My son will grow up happy and healthy as well because I’m able to provide nutrition to him in the form of either my own breast milk, donated breast milk, and formula. My son is getting more breast milk than my daughter because he doesn’t fight breastfeeding like she did and because of a generous milk donor in my area providing him with her over supply. Do I think he’ll be smarter or healthy? I don’t think so, but time will tell. I’m hopeful that once we start solids in 3 months at 6 months old that I’ll be able to supplement less and less until he only gets my breast milk as the addition to the solids. I’m hopeful as well that I’ll last that long with breastfeeding this time around. I only made it till 4 months with my daughter but things are much different this time and I do think my attitude going into it made a big difference. I’m not healed yet but I’m healing
For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding/milk (even just the smallest bit) read here: http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/html/Benefits.shtml
Need more support on not being able to breastfeed or breastfeeding issues? Please read When You Just Can’t Breastfeed on BabyCenter.