This is the second post in this series.
Click here to read the first part of my story Breastfeeding Rooster.
"I don't want to breastfeed this baby."
I remember the first time I said those words out loud, tears pouring down my face. Just a few months after weaning Rooster, I was faced with the birth of my second child. The idea of starting all over again, signing up for another year of pain and frustration, was almost too much for this hormonal mother.
I was scared. What if this time wasn't any better? What if it only got worse?
However, I decided to at least try breastfeeding. Honestly, I'm just to stubborn to give up without a fight. I also knew that my fears weren't due to the over imagination of a new mom. They were real concerns, and I needed to be prepared with real solutions.
But my whole world changed when they put that sweet little Cupcake on my chest. My little girl entered the world with one thing on her mind: food! I remember the OB nurse's look of amazement as I took my baby girl, put her on my chest, and started nursing. "You're a pro!" she said. I laughed! I just had a baby who wanted to eat.
Those first few days weren't without bumps and bruises. After that first 45 minute nursing session, Cupcake wouldn't latch on and nurse for more than a few minutes at a time. The nurses were concerned that she wasn't eating enough, so they encouraged me to use a nipple shield again. I was hesitant simply because of the trouble I had with Rooster, but I eventually agreed, willing to do whatever we needed to make breastfeeding work.
Cupcake instantly took to the shield and started nursing 20 minutes at a time. We were picture perfect leaving the hospital.
After coming home I waited for the pain I was expecting, but I never had more than a mild case of soreness. When my milk came in a few days later, I was pleasantly surprised that I felt no engorgement. My body made just enough milk to satisfy my little one and nothing more. The only time I've ever leaked breastfeeding Cupcake is when she first starting sleeping 10 hours at night, but even that leveled out in just a couple of days.
Those first few weeks of breastfeeding were surprisingly easy. Not at all what I was expecting.
Sometime around 2 months old, I tried to nurse Cupcake without the nipple shield, but she still had a hard time latching. Instead of fighting with her like I did Rooster, I chose to just let her be. We had a good thing going, and I wasn't going to mess it up!
When Cupcake turned 4 months old, I tried to nurse without the shield again, and this time she latched and didn't let go. Two days later we went completely au natural, just mommy and baby! No pain, no crying, and no frustration.
Now at 5 months old Cupcake is a very happy baby, and I am a very happy mommy. She breastfeeds 6-7 times a day and goes 9-10 hours without eating at night. When she wakes up in the morning she is ready to eat, and I am happy to feed her!
So what's made breastfeeding so much more enjoyable the second time around?
1. God blessed us with a natural nurser. Some babies come out knowing how to eat! Others need a little help. I'm sure Cupcake will give me plenty of trouble in the years to come. I'm just glad breastfeeding doesn't seem to be one!
2. I am more prepared and less worried. Maybe it's just the nature of second children, but I spend a lot less time worrying about doing everything right and more time just enjoying motherhood. When Cupcake and I face nursing challenges I don't panic or overreact, I simply pray and preserve. We'll figure it out, or we won't. Either way I have a beautiful, healthy, baby girl.
3. I know I'm not stuck. Before Cupcake was born I told myself that if our nursing relationship ever got too bad or too painful I could quit. I gave myself permission to let go. If I did everything I could, and we still didn't make it, I'd be okay. She'd be okay. I needed that freedom to face my fear. Even though our nursing relationship is great, I still claim that freedom should we ever need it, but hopefully (and prayerfully!) we will be able to conquer any challenges that come our way.
The past five months have been such a blessing. I am in love with my little girl, and judging by those chubby cheeks, I'd say she loves her mommy too.