I breastfed my first baby and had a lovely breastfeeding experience, bar the first six weeks when we were establishing breastfeeding and it was pretty painful. Looking back on it, I am really surprised that we didn’t stop. Engorged breasts and badly cracked and bleeding nipples that regularly made my toes curl when the little lady latched on were just some of the challenges that we had, but persevered through.
Knowing what I know now will make it slightly easier second time round, although not necessarily any less painful. Like the first time round. I have a fairly relaxed approach to breastfeeding which is that I would absolutely love to do it again, but will see how it works for baby and me in the first few days and weeks and be guided by our experience.
The closer we get to baby’s arrival in the next few weeks the more I have started to think about what it might be like the second time round. In all honesty, I would absolutely love to have a second breastfeeding experience just like my first without the difficulties and pain of the first few weeks. We breastfed for ten months and I genuinely enjoyed it. At the time I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed breastfeeding and how emotional I was about stopping when the time finally came.
But I know that just because I had a great first experience doesn’t mean that I will have an easy time second time round. There are no guarantees that we will be able to breastfeed again, but my hope is that we can. Which is why I feel so lucky and excited to work with Medela as a Medela Mum the second time round too. Medela is such a lovely company and really are the experts when it comes to all things breastfeeding. I was so impressed with my Medela Swing when I breastfed the first time that I knew instantly that I wanted to use the Medela Swing again with baby number two.
As a Medela Mum I have been sent a very generous Medela bundle which I cant wait to use. The first time around I only got to experience using the Swing breastfeeding pump, but this time around I will get to try pretty much everything in their hugely extensive range so look out for a few follow up review posts after baby arrives! Knowing all the practical things will be sorted thanks to Medela is a wonderful feeling, and whilst I have talked about my hopes, I cant help but have a few anxieties about what breastfeeding will be like the second time round.
Breastfeeding For A Second Time
Quite early on during my last pregnancy, and most definitely by this stage I remember leaking colostrum and feeling really full. This time round that hasn’t happened and as a result I’ve been a little bit worried about whether or not I will be able to breastfeed, and slightly paranoid about whether everything is still working as it should be. I’m not sure whether it is normal to have less going on the second time round because your body has already breastfed once or whether I should be concerned. But it’s definitely something that has made me start to wonder whether I will physically be able to breastfeed the second time round.
The First Few Days
How long will it take for my milk to come in, will I get engorged, how do I avoid mastitis? These are all the practical things that run through my mind when I think about the first few days. Exactly the same things that I worried about the first time around and cant help but still worry about them the second time around. With the little lady it took three days before my milk came in so we ended up having to bottle feed her before we started breastfeeding. It was a little stressful at the time, and whilst it all worked out fine in the end I hope it doesn’t take as long second time round for my body to gear up for breastfeeding.
The First Six Weeks
The first six weeks, which I refer to as the magical six weeks were pretty horrendous the first time round. Besides having a baby, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced more excruciating pain but somehow I persevered and we had a successful breastfeeding journey after that. For a long time we didn’t have the right latch which in hindsight probably created most of the problems that we had like sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. It was only after visiting a breastfeeding clinic in the first few weeks and getting some additional support with our latch, and some amazing hydrogel pads for my poor devastated nipples that we had our breakthrough moment. If it wasnt for that clinic, I don’t think we would have gotten through those six weeks and carried on for as long as we did. Second time round I really want to make sure that we get our latch right from early on so that we can try to avoid a similar experience so I hope we have the right support in the hospital and community if we need it.
Second Child Distractions
It had never crossed my mind until very recently after reading something on Twitter about Kim Kardashian stopping breastfeeding because of her older daughter that this would even be something to be concerned about. On the face of it, I don’t think having a second child is a good reason not to breastfeed, or stop breastfeeding but reading what I read made me stop and think for the first time that having a second child around could make things a little more challenging practically and emotionally. So in preparation I’ve started to talk to our little lady who is almost three about breastfeeding at a very basic level and getting her to understand that this was how she used to get milk as a baby. I am hoping that if she understands that this is a very normal thing she may be more patient and understanding than she otherwise might be.
There are a fair few things that I am worried about, but I am hoping that my body remembers what to do and that with the right support from the husband, the hospital, the community midwives and Medela we will be able to begin another enjoyable and successful breastfeeding journey.