When I found out we were expecting Ella, a lot of things went through my head – from how we would manage two, to what our financial situation would look like and how Abbie would handle things. Becoming a mom for the second time was easier in so many ways, but most of all in one crucial area – breastfeeding my second baby.
I breastfed Abbie for as long as I could and as long as it made sense for our family. Our first night in the hospital, Abbie had to go to the nursery due to some health issues I was having, so she had formula early on. We had some early latch issues, and my milk supply didn’t even come in until day five with her. I almost exclusively nursed while I was on maternity leave with her, but my supply quickly tanked when I went back to work and she was completely on formula by six months. And you know what? She’s completely fine. She’s a happy, energetic kid who meets all her milestones. While I wish breastfeeding would have been easier with her, I’m thankful formula exists and she’s thriving.
With Ella, almost everything has been completely different. This time, my breastfeeding journey has been – dare I say it – easy. Some days I just can’t believe how easy it’s been so far. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I know what to do this time, and the fact that I didn’t stress over it, but it may also just be that each time and each baby is different. So how has it been different?
- I didn’t develop preeclampsia during labor this time and didn’t need that awful magnesium drip. Ella barely left the room the whole time we were in the hospital (which was only one day because I wanted to get home). She never had to go to the nursery or be away from me other than her routine tests.
- Within an hour of being born (in fact, when my mom was holding her), Ella started to root around, and latched right in the delivery room. This never happened with Abbie, and I always had to remind her to eat and to look for the milk. Ella took to nursing no problem, and seemed to relish the snuggling.
- My milk came in fast – in fact, I already was starting to get it when we left the hospital a little over 24 hours after Ella was born. She latched easily and well, and that helped SO much.
- I knew exactly how to position Ella while I nursed (I’m well endowed so certain positions are easier for me than others).
- We didn’t give Ella a bottle until she was almost 3 weeks old, and it was pumped milk – we haven’t had to supplement yet.
- I started pumping regularly when Ella was about 8 weeks old. It’s helped to regulate my supply and keep me responsive to the pump since I knew I was going back to work.
- Speaking of the pump, the one I got this time, the Spectra S1, is infinitely better than the Medela I had with Abbie. I love it so much (well, as much as you can love a breast pump).
- I had all my supplements ready to go before Ella was born and continue to use them daily.
- Ella is just a different baby. She loves to nurse and be close to me, whereas Abbie just wanted to get her food and go do whatever she wanted – she was independent and high-spirited from birth. Ella’s temperament is much calmer and she is much more of a mama’s girl as a baby.
So that’s breastfeeding round two, as of a little over three months in. Since it’s going well, I’m probably going to hold off on solids with Ella until she’s a full six months unless she starts to show interest earlier. I’m not messing with a good thing if I can help it. I’m so, so thankful this time has been easier and I’ve gotten a different experience with nursing. Time will tell how long we go. Right now, I’m taking it a month at a time, but I’m hopeful we’ll make it a year.
If you nursed, were your subsequent experiences also better than your first?