Thursday, January 3, 2013

Breastfeeding and pregnancy

I haven't done an update on this in a while. Nursing while pregnant definitely has its ups and downs and it seems more downs than up.

Everything that is wonderful about breastfeeding still applies, obviously. It's super convenient to latch a hungry baby on. It is a magic comfort tool, baby's cranky or scared or hurt or bored... Magic. No bottles to wash. No worrying about formula recalls or GMOs or any unnatural ingredients in what your baby consumes. It's great bonding with baby, having your own special time, just you and baby and no one else. Breastfeeding forces you to sit down, slow down and relax, so it's calming.

However, a lot of negative aspects creep in during pregnancy.

Lightening boob and nipple. Ugh. I know this happened during my pregnancy with Arie, but it's way more obnoxious when I have a baby on my boobs 24/7.

Sore nipples. When Arie latches probably 60% of the time now, it's excruciating. It's a clench your fists, close your eyes tight, and grit your teeth kind of painful and sometimes that bitter discomfort lasts until my letdown starts, so maybe 10-30 seconds. Ugh.

Pregnancy hormones have left me incredibly irritable and with far less patience than normal. This means that when my baby is super fussy and going through a stage where he wants to comfort nurse every minute only 10 seconds at a time, unlatching and relatching every time... It makes me want to scream and yell. And sometimes I do yell.

It is a lot harder than I imagined. There was very little out there about what to expect because a.) everyone's experiences are so vastly different that there is absolutely no "normal" with which to compare my situation and b.) most people who tandem nurse that I've seen don't have babies 15 months apart.

I am still taking it one day at a time. I'm too dang stubborn to give it up for these stupid difficulties that I'm facing now. Wayyy too stubborn to quit. Plus, I just can't imagine taking that away from Arie. I could never be that selfish to take away something that I know he needs. He NEEDS nursing in a way that I can't describe, but I can recognize it enough to know that whatever issues come along, as long as my body continues to cooperate and as long as he wants it, it will be here for him.

I'm excited to nurse another newborn. I think I'm most excited because most of my challenges were things like figuring out how to dress to make nursing comfortable and easy for me, figuring out how the heck to hold a newborn on to my boob, where and when to nurse.... All these things, I have down. I'm also really excited for the soreness to go away.... I know that happens. There was such a long honeymoon period after Arie and I got the hang of it and before I got pregnant that aside from the occasional bite, it was easy peasy and I couldn't imagine stopping any time soon.

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