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February 19, 2018
I have been amazed at how different this second pregnancy has been from the first – both physically and emotionally.
I absolutely love being pregnant, and I have an easy time of it. From the feeling of a tiny human growing and moving inside of me to the “pregnancy glow,” pregnancy simply amazes me. Through both of my pregnancies, I have not had to deal with many of the undesirable symptoms that some mothers-to-be endure; I have experienced no morning sickness or nausea, no back pain or other muscle pain, and although I am often fatigued it is only annoying, not debilitating. When I got pregnant with my second I knew what to expect of pregnancy and hoped that my body would react similarly to the first pregnancy. And for the most part, it has! There has been, however, some minor yet noticeable differences.
YES! While some women take easily to breastfeeding and the process is extremely enjoyable, a true bonding experience, a good word to describe my one year of breastfeeding and pumping is “persevere.”
My firstborn initially had a shallow latch. Due to medical reasons, he had to spend the first week of his life in the hospital, and since my husband and I stayed at the hospital with him I was lucky enough to have lactation consultants on hand at all times! I seriously don’t know what I would have done without these patient women, who took so much time teaching me and coaching me through the process of nursing and who physically helped my son latch correctly.
When my son was a few months old he began to require more and more milk, and he enjoyed this milk at a faster flow rate. He only seemed to enjoy nursing first thing in the morning and once in the evening and would prefer the bottle the rest of the day.
Despite pumping three to four times a day (each session lasting about a half-hour), I found myself unable to keep up with his demand for milk. I quickly became an exclusive pumper, a title which I maintained for six long months. No longer nursing in the morning required me to pump even more than I had been before, and I found myself attached to the pump about five times a day (each session lasting about a half-hour).
Despite my challenges, however, I MADE IT! I made it to the one year mark because I wanted to, because I was dedicated to it, because I persevered!
I now have some strategies under my belt, knowing what works best for me and my body. I recognize that my body may react completely different to son number two, and I am prepared for those differences. I also am putting less pressure on myself this time around, knowing that supplementing with formula may be necessary and that this option is also OKAY! After all, I also have a preschooler to take care of, and he deserves my time just as much as the baby does. Do I really want to spend all of that time pumping? I can’t fully predict what my breastfeeding journey will be with my second son, I can only prepare and relax knowing that everything will work out just fine.