When I decided to breastfeed my first child, I was pretty go-with-the-flow about it. I was going to give it a go and be ok with whatever happened. Fortunately, (but not without its struggles) breastfeeding worked out for us until she self-weaned around 14 months.
Today, I’m 8.5 months into the breastfeeding journey with my second daughter. It’s gone even better the second time around – due to a number of factors – and I’m looking forward to continuing on until one of us decides to be done.
While both of my breastfeeding experiences have been largely positive, I’ve definitely noticed how laughably different they’ve been, too. Call it experience (or a large dose of anxiety-meds), but this second time around has been so much more stress & drama-free.
Covers & Public Spaces
Baby #1: When I was nursing my firstborn, I absolutely 100% of the time covered up with a nursing apron in public. I didn’t want to possibly offend anyone with a glimpse of underboob/nipple! Breastfeeding was quite the ordeal – between trying to free my boob, get the baby latched on, switching sides, and then putting my boob away, I was bound to show a little skin.
Take 2: Haha. The second time around, I’m tired. Tired, guys. I have absolutely zero poos to give about anyone being offended by a sliver of skin. They’re boobs – everyone has them in some fashion or another. I no longer cover up. Those nursing aprons are HOT and the baby hates it as much as I do. The two times I’ve tried to use it with her, it ended up flipped over my head.
Pumping & Work
Baby #1: The first time, I went back to my office job at 10.5 weeks postpartum. My entire maternity leave, I stressed over having a large bank of frozen milk for my return to work. When I did return back to work, I stressed over pumping enough every day so that I wouldn’t have to dig into the stash I had built up. And then I was a little embarrassed about pumping at all. The whir of my breast pump was LOUD. I didn’t want anyone to actually know what I was doing. I stealthily creeped into the kitchen to rinse out pump parts and all but ran back to my desk like I had done something illegal.
Take 2: I didn’t return to working outside the home until 7 months postpartum this time around. I literally had like 4 bags of milk stocked away at that point. So far, I haven’t really stressed over my lack of a stash, and if you follow me on social media, you know that I definitely haven’t been shy about pumping. Lefty is the big producer. Righty needs to step it up a bit more.
Food & Drink
Baby #1: I worried about everything that I ate and drank. No alcohol ever. I watched my caffeine intake. If I drank tea, it was only the mother’s milk tea.
Take 2: I hear a glass of wine can help milk production and coffee is basically half my diet. No more needs to be said.
Supply & Nursing On Demand
Baby #1: From the first feeding, I nursed on a schedule and didn’t really deviate from that until she weaned herself. I struggled with supply once I went back to work, and I blame most of that on my inability to deviate from my nursing/pumping schedule.
Take 2: I’ve nursed on demand – anywhere and anytime the baby needs/wants it. My supply has been fantastic, and the whole experience has been a whole lot less stressful the second time around.
Baby #1: Through the troubles that I did have while nursing my first baby, I never felt like I had the right type of support when I needed it. It was also impressed upon me frequently that I shouldn’t continue on with breastfeeding after she turned 3 months and then 6 months and then a year. Unsurprisingly, my confidence took a nosedive, and I often wondered if I was doing the right thing.
Take 2: I still have plenty of naysayers this time around, but I’m also more educated on the benefits of breastfeeding, which has, in turn, increased my confidence in all aspects of nursing.
Looking back, that first time around was so incredibly stressful that I wonder how I actually made it work for so long. If only I had known then what I know now.