3.5 years ago when I made the decision to breast feed Eyan I did it blindly, believing that it would be easy and natural. I heard little talk of no pacifiers or bottles because it would cause nipple confusion. I didn’t think about the chances of Eyan going into a NICU or well really anything. At one point my mom gave me a book called “So That’s What They’re There for.” That I skimmed and put on a shelf. I just figured baby would know what to do and I would follow along.
I bought my breast feeding supplies based on what I had observed other successful breast feeding moms use or what was recommended to me. For example Michelle Dugger (the mom who has 19 kids and a TV show on TLC) used a my Brest Friend to nurse her kids and she had a ton so it must be a fantastic item…and it is! My old cheer coach had a nursing cover that had boning at the top so the mommy could see down but no one else could. She recommended that to me even before I was pregnant with Eyan. So I searched for the perfect cover with boning, to this day I still use it. Other than that I really didn’t give much thought to any of it.
When Eyan was born he went straight to the NICU, while I went to my own recovery. I didn’t give him his first, second or even third bottle. I wasn’t even asked. They put a pacifier in his mouth without so much as a consultation with me. I never thought twice about how much that pissed me off until I had to ask to nurse him when he was 2 days old. They just assumed we weren’t nursing. Nursing in the hospital was easy as the nurses were all really helpful…plus there is no milk, only colostrum so you are not dealing with engorgement that causes latch issues or huge milk letdown that causes scary choking episodes to new parents or cracked bleeding nipples. Nursing became frustrating when we were finally home and my milk came in and he couldn’t latch and I was SO sleep deprived that a bottle was easier. We all think nursing is natural and that the baby will know what to do, no one realizes you both have to learn together and that it is hard hard work! Still I had it in my mind that I was going to nurse him, so I continued to fight and struggle and supplement and finally around 2 months we were breast feeding more than supplementing and I was kinda sleeping. Eyan nursed for a little over 10 months and I was happy with that.
So here we are at round two. I’m a lot more educated, I have all the fancy nursing stuff and experience on my side. I highly doubt nursing is actually cheaper then formula feeding with the cost of nursing bras/tanks, milk storage stuff, nursing pillows, breast pumps, hooter hiders and the like. Although I’m sure you can easily get away without using most of that, but I cannot…it’s my nursing safety blanket and what helps me survive. But back to my 2nd time around. Emberlynn is pretty “natural” at nursing…bahaha I laugh at this statement because honestly I had to teach her, she had no clue, no natural instinct to find boob and insert nipple. Several nurses had to check her latch to make sure she was doing it right. Skip to day 2 in the hospital and my milk came in. Those poor nurses had no clue what to do with the amount of milk pouring out of me and Emberlynn was choking and spitting up so much it was scary. I was quickly reminded that nursing is hard and we both had to learn. I forgot how exhausting it is to constantly have a baby attached to you, or how you actually need to eat more than just a few Doritos and your sons Easter candy to keep up with milk production or that you need to watch what you eat because it makes baby gassy and that is a whole other hell. I also got a baby with reflux issues so after she nurses she then spits most of it up then needs to nurse right away and the cycle goes on. Top that off with a little boy that needs his mama and I feel like a first time mom again.
So how’s this going? Well the last few days we’ve been cluster feeding so I’m exhausted and so is this spitty little girl! But overall it is going well. I have not supplemented yet and she is gaining weight and is a decent sleeper for a breast fed baby. Eyan NEVER slept. His longest stretches were 2 hours, but mostly an hour here then up for an hour or two then another hour of sleep then up. Emberlynn has a good 4-5 hour stretch each night typically and then is up every two after that. I’m struggling to find my balance that I’m so used to. I need a clean house and home cooked food and a happy little boy. My house is picked up, not clean (well to my standards anyway). If we have 3 home cooked meals a week were doing good. Last week I had four! My Eyan seems happy but has started fake crying and making bigger deals out of very small injuries. Mama is sad about that and trying to continue to find awesome things to do with him…if only the darn Colorado weather would cooperate as well we could do so much more! But overall we’re doing well. I’m finding most of nursing to be easier the second time around and hopefully will make it to the 1 yr mark with her. I’m not opposed to formula and I have some ready to go if I feel the need, but for now I’m exclusively breast feeding and happy.