Monday, August 6, 2012

On Breastfeeding My Second Child

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week.

In honor of this week, I am going to post about my experiences this time around with breastfeeding. As you remember, I wrote about my many struggles with breastfeeding Alan. I had many issues with it and had to supplement Alan, in the end I decided to just pump and bottle feed my breast milk exclusively. This time around, I really wanted to just breast feed Anna. While pregnant with her, I remember that I was really nervous about having to supplement her still but after getting support from my La Leche Leauge, I felt alot better.

Those first few days in the hospital were agonizing. Anna had low blood sugar and jaundice concerns, so I was deathly afraid that the nurses would try and supplement her like they did with Alan. Thankfully, she had no issues with latching on or with my colostrum coming in. Anna fed within her first hour of birth and every three hours after that. The nurses continued to check her blood levels but since they never dropped too low, supplementation was never brought up. I met with the Lactation Consultant on her second day of life and she gave me the clear to keep exclusively feeding her. I was beyond elated!

After leaving the hospital, it seemed to get harder. Maybe it was because the nurses were no longer there for support or maybe it was because my milk took an extra day to come in. But I felt like Anna wasn't ever getting enough food. Every other diaper would look like she was dehydrated and she was still not having regular poops. Then during her 4 day well baby check up, her doctor said she looked really jaundicey and her weight had dropped down, instead of gone up like it was supposed to. She scheduled us to have a blood draw later that day to check on her jaundice and a weight gain check up on Friday to make sure she was still growing. I held my breath and waited to hear those awful words: formula supplementation. When they never came up, I felt my anxiety disappear. But only a bit...

Anna ended up having to get two blood draws for her jaundice. She was cleared after that and never needed the bili light but I remember being so worried for her I thought I might die from it. :( I fed her every half an hour the night before, hoping that she was getting enough. That night, I remember crying to Lon that I felt like I was losing it again, just like I had with Alan. I felt like my milk was going to dry up. Lon convinced me to start pumping and storing it in the freezer until she was old enough to take bottles. So that night, I started pumping.

One of the things that helped me get through those long pumping periods was meditation. I found that I could meditate while I pumped and that I was able to get in both pumping time and my meditations, which I hadn't had the time for since Anna was born. It was amazing to sit there in silence and get back my clarity and peace. I feel like it increased my flow as well. I read some of the Dhammapadda and my Tao Te Ching books but mostly just sat in silence. I believe that this is what really helped me get through all the concerns with Anna those first days. I still meditate when I pump and I just love it! I wonder if I am the only crazy person who does this lol?

Almost a month later now, Anna and I are so comfortable with nursing. She knows my body and I know how to handle hers. We fit so perfectly together and I just love breast feeding her now. It is one of the best bonding experiences we could ever have. I hope to let Anna breast feed as close to a year as possible. I do believe in letting my children wean themselves and Alan weaned himself at nine months old. Hopefully Miss Anna will go a little longer because I love to give her this wonderful gift! :)

For those of you who are wanting information on breast feeding, go here. This is a great and very helpful site for anyone wanting to pursue such a wonderful thing. There is so much information about breastfeeding and how to do it. Remember that breast is best everyone! And anyone can breast feed, they just need the right support! If you need any support from me, feel free to comment here with questions.

Happy Breastfeeding Week!

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