After two children, I’ve had two completely opposite experiences with breastfeeding.
I am entering the 18th month of breastfeeding my littlest, Marina. My goal was to hit a year. When I hit that mark, there really was no reason to stop. I’m extremely proud of everything I accomplished with breastfeeding, second time around. I sometimes feel extremely guilty that I couldn’t be as “strong” for Jasmine – who I stopped breastfeeding before year.
Thankfully, both my girls are strong, healthy, and feisty.
As a first time mom, I was beyond clueless about everything. Even though I have a background in child development and infant/toddler experience, when it came to being responsible of MY OWN human being – everything went straight out the window. With Jas, I did what I could to straight up survive. A few facts that went into our breastfeeding journey: Me, being clueless and Jas, being a super small baby. That wasn’t her fault though so it was all just me. Second: worked full-time. Third: Figured I could just do this all on my own. No biggie. WHOA. With each feed and every pumping session, I thought I was doing the worst job and not providing for her.
Once I stopped breastfeeding her, at 7 months, my life became SO much better. The pressure was off and I felt like the mom I knew I could be. Looking back at it now, almost 5 years ago, breastfeeding probably was going well. Jas, while breastfeeding, started sleeping through the night very young age. We lucked out so much. Jas was growing and thriving. She was doing everything she was supposed to but I thought I was failing.
What I did not do with my first:
– Ask for help
– Find other mama support groups
– Ask for help
When I got pregnant again, I had a completely different outlook on how I wanted my breastfeeding journey to be. I was determined to be successful with it. I was not going to give up. Not only was I taking care of a new born baby but I had to also take care of my energetic 3 year old! Keeping her on a consistent routine was really important. Thankfully, I had some help from her trusted auntie aka my sister who loves spending oodles of time with her. Even with that, our lives changed when we added “baby sister”. When Marina arrived, I took some invisible adrenaline pill everyday to keep up with them. Don’t ‘know where the energy came from but I felt so good.
What I did with my second:
– Asked for help
– Encapsulated in my placenta (yum!)
– Join mama support Facebook groups
– ASKED FOR HELP
For the most part, my breastfeeding journey has been relatively easy. Yes yes, it was my “second time around” but in the beginning there were some struggles. It took a while for Marina to get a comfortable latch. Then when I went to a lactation consultant she eased my worries when she told me I was producing the right amount for each feeding. My mindset shifted, my confidence grew, and I began to just roll with it….with her. She and I were doing this together. Now here we are 1 and 1/2 years in and she is starting to pull up my shirt to feed.
Cute right? For me, it’s a sign that it is time to stop. That’s my choice. So begins the weaning process.
Initially nervous about this because I do soothe feed her to sleep. Backstory on that: She and Jasmine share a room. Marina goes to sleep before Jas does. Our whole nighttime routine is SO different now but once Marina is completely weaned I think they’ll go to bed at the same time. Marina is a LIGHT sleep. Jasmine is a HEAVY sleeper. The combo doesn’t quite mix BUT they are doing a B+ job together. Marina watches everything Jasmine does. Jasmine includes Marina in everything too. This has already made the weaning process easier than expected.
As of today, 04/30, Marina has gone from 3 feeds a day to 2 and does not need to be soothed all the way to sleep. Praise sweet baby Jesus! While we still have a ways to go, I am feeling good that this will be a gradually process (thanks quarantine) that will have us fully weaned when we’re meant to be! Not rushing it but getting it done.
I think it’s important for every mama to OWN their own breastfeeding journey. It’s theirs – no matter how long you choose to do it.
The biggest take away I hope a mama gets from reading all of this is to not be afraid to ASK FOR HELP and to GIVE YOURSELF ALL THE GRACE in this chapter of motherhood.