Sunday, March 18, 2012

how we made it work

I'm not very good at "informational" blog posts, but thought I'd give it a half-hearted shot.  I stumbled upon a couple of photos from the last weeks of pregnancy and thought I'd write a bit about it.  I'm still breastfeeding my son (19 months) alongside my daughter (10 weeks today!) which means I somehow managed to nurse him through my pregnancy.  There were moments that I didn't think I would make it, for sure.  Here's us making it work with little Jubilee snug inside, oblivious of the best friend/brother she would soon be sharing her mama with.

Saf loves 'gymnurstics' anyway, so he really didn't mind.  Although now he insists on always being held like a baby when nursing on his own.



Nursing through pregnancy was challenging, but now that we are over two months on the other side, I'm really glad that we did it.

Things that were hard:
- discomfort/pain/"pleasegetoffofme"feelings
- very low milk supply between 18 and 25 weeks
- "pleasegetoffofme"feelings....normal hormonal changes that made nursing extremely irritating at certain times (this was the hardest part for us)

What made it worth it:
- look at me sitting on the couch with my toddler!  especially in the last month of pregnancy I really needed this. 
- reconnecting during hard days
- we became pregnant when Saf was only 8 months old so it seemed too young for us to begin weaning. 
- the moment when Saf met his sister a few hours after her birth and they stared at each other while sharing milk.  He really loves her, and I think still having that connection to me really helps him.  

How we made it work:
-I pumped daily for a few weeks in my first trimester to have a small stock of milk to give Safran if I lost my supply
-creative nursing positions (like above), making sure we are both comfortable ... enough.
-night-weaning (mostly) - nursing at night was very aggravating so my husband really stepped in and started to care for Saf in the night.
-Boundaries:  In order to keep nursing I realized I needed to set some limits on when and how long.  When my supply started to decline I would offer Saf a snack or drink of water sometimes when he asked to nurse, knowing that's probably what he actually needed.  I would also limit the length of the session - when I was finished I would say, 'Nai Nai all done in ten seconds' and then I would count to ten.  He would usually smile and pop off around 6 or 7.  Now that I'm nursing Jubilee as well I try not to say 'no' to Saf if I'm nursing her and will usually let him join, but he usually won't stay too long as it's not as comfortable as having the seat to himself.

milk for two.


A very helpful book for me was "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" by Hilary Flower.  Lots of helpful information as well as anecdotes from hundreds of mams who have nursed two (or three!) at a time.

And here's some great information about why you should consider nursing your toddler to two years (or longer).

Safran can now very often be found nursing his doll, Sinclair.  Sometimes he likes privacy while doing so. ;)



  


6 comments:

  1. Hi, Becca!

    Thanks for your blog entry! It's neat seeing how you're passing on what you've learned and tested out so others can benefit from your journey as well. :> Blessings, my friend!

    Warmly,

    Elisa

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    1. thanks elisa! you have definitely been my inspiration. :) wish you could meet my newest nursling!

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  2. Becca,

    I second Elisa; seeing someone else nurse beyond 8 mos. of age (it's sort of rare in the U.S.)plus tandem nurse, well, it's encouraging. I might have been hesitant to tandem nurse someday had I not known another woman personally who has done it. Thanks to you, I think I will give it a hardy go.

    Blessings are yours,
    Laurie xx

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    1. that's very encouraging laurie! it's definitely been my main coping mechanism for having two under 18 months. (not to mention there are incredible calorie-burning benefits!) i only know a few others who tandem nurse but they were the main reason we gave it a shot. and 98% of the time i'm really glad we are doing it. xx

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  3. those photos of saf while you're pregnant are hilarious. so cool that you have those. i stopped nursing levi when i was 20 weeks. i was having such a hard time gaining weight and my doc kept telling me i was under weight for my size, regardless of being pregnant. she is a huge BF advocate and never advised me to wean, but i just felt i needed to. i knew judah was getting what he needed, but felt like i wasn't keeping up. felt like my exhaustion was actually making levi suffer so i had to weight that up into the equation too. for me weaning at that point was the best option. (levi was 16 months i think.) i was shocked when it was no big deal to levi to be honest! and kind of sad. interesting that your supply dropped between 18-25 weeks. i wonder if that was part of it for me? around the same time it also became quite painful and levi was acting very frustrated when he would nurse. i was convinced that he would be interested again after i had judah, but he's never asked for my milk since. that's good i guess, but i sometimes miss it and actually wish he'd ask...

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    1. ya i don't think saf will be too impressed with those photos when he's a teenager. :) but maybe when he's a dad. ha. i think it's common to lose your milk mid-pregnancy - that's when saf learned the word 'other' for 'other side' which he always wanted within a few minutes. i think everyone needs to decide what's best for their health/family life/sanity - for some that's weaning and for others that's tandem nursing. saf was too attached to wean easily at that point, although i think if he had been older he might have self-weaned during my dry spell.

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