Thursday, August 20, 2015

Breastfeeding my second baby

First of all, if you haven't read my breastfeeding story with Georgia, you should do that. I will probably reference it as I tell my breastfeeding story with Jack. Two different babies and two different experiences.

Jack entered this world hungry. Just minutes after he was born I was able to nurse him for the first time and he beautifully latched on with no problem and fed the appropriate amount of time on both breasts. It was textbook perfect. But so was his sister's just two and a half years earlier so I wasn't getting my hopes up just yet that he would be good nurser but I was encouraged to say the least.

For the rest of our hospital stay Jack nursed with no problem. I never once had to ask a nurse to help latch or did he refuse. I've had it the other way so I know how stressful it can be. His birth weight was a hefty 8 lb 15 oz and he left the hospital (two days old) weighing 8 lb 7 oz. When we took him back for a checkup at four days old he was back up to 8 lb 11 oz. He was gaining two ounces per day and I had no trouble believing that with how much he wanted to nurse.

For the first several weeks Jack enjoyed nursing every 1-1 1/2 hours. I fed him on demand so anytime he was hungry he ate. My battle with nipple confusion with Georgia Grace made me doubt if I would be able to nurse him for long but he proved to enjoy it. We decided to not introduce the paci until he was two weeks old just to be safe. I continued to exclusively nurse him for the first five weeks. Around the five week mark we decided to give him his first breastmilk bottle. Marcus and Georgia were both anxious to feed him, and I knew I needed him to bottle feed just as well as nurse once I went back to work.

I remember my biggest fear being how I would nurse an infant and take care of a two year old at the same time. It took some creativity to make it work. I remember the time Georgia Grace really wanted to go outside to play and Jack was hungry. No one had said they were coming over and our house is a pretty good distance from the road so we went ahead outside. Lo and behold our (male) neighbor pulls in the driveway with a nursing session going on in the front yard! Thank goodness I took a blanket outside with us.
We had great success with bottle feeding him breastmilk. Truth be told he didn't care how he received his milk as long as you gave it to him in a timely fashion :) I started pumping when he was about two weeks old but it increased my supply to the point that I was strangling him when he nursed so I stopped pumping for a while to prevent any nursing problems.

This time around I have zero frozen breastmilk bags as opposed to freezers full with Georgia. Even though she didn't nurse well I was able to get my body in a set pumping routine and created a jersey milk cow supply. Nursing Jack instead of pumping probably lowered my supply but I think the most significant factor is he is just a bigger eater than his sister.

Today Jack is still nursing and taking breastmilk bottles. I nurse him in the morning usually around 6am and sometimes at night, the rest of the time I pump and he receives it in a bottle. 

Month four I started supplementing with formula. Y'all know I am a breastfeeding advocate but I am no means anti-formula. I think the motto "fed is best" sums it up nicely. As mothers we all have to do what is best for our baby. Jack is a good eater and since my supply isn't as strong this time around I want to make sure he is fed sufficiently. Hopefully I will be able to continue breastfeeding with supplementing. Most days he receives one formula bottle per day, some days it's not necessary. He takes either equally and I have peace of mind that if I need to miss a nurse/pump session here or there it won't be the end of the world.

My big boy is growing and developing just like he should. He's on the large size which I am proud of. I've prayed he would be strong and that prayer has been answered. He also started sleeping through the night at three months old and hasn't had any belly or reflux troubles. I'm soooo thankful for that!

I'm also thankful for the opportunity to breastfeed him and for the advancements in formula that gives me assurance to feed him both ways and know he is receiving quality nutrition from both sources. When I bought the first can of formula for him I felt a sting of guilt come over me. I never had to give Georgia formula and I felt like I was not meeting his needs as well as I did hers. That feeling quickly left when he drank the milk no differently and I was relieved of the stress of not being able to meet his needs. Fed is best!

Overall this breastfeeding experience has been much easier. A lot of that probably has to do with me. I'm calmer, more rational and understand the dynamics better of the relationship between mom and baby. If things continue the way they are going now I am hopeful we can make it to his first birthday (with supplementing) receiving breastmilk. These days of being able to nurse him are ones I will always cherish. I have some beautiful photos that Julia Christopher took of us that I will hold on to forever. My babies are worth every bit of pain, leakage, sagging, pump session and inconvenience that comes with breastfeeding. They are worth it all times a thousand.

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