Friday, July 15, 2011

Breastfeeding & Pregnant

People are baffled. "You're still nursing?" Yep, I am. While pregnant. Why? Because my son wasn't ready to wean and I wasn't ready either. I won't say it's been easy because sometimes it isn't. But that hasn't made me stop yet.
Nursing poolside at 6 months.
When we first found out we were expecting again, we were shocked. It was a huge surprise. Of course we were also incredibly excited as well but it wasn't planned and Logan was only 11 months old when I got pregnant again and was still nursing 4-5 times during the day and at night before bed. So I'll admit my first concern was how pregnancy would impact breastfeeding. I'd done enough research to know there was a very good chance my milk supply would drop. And at around 3 months it did. Drastically. Up until then, I'd had an abundant supply. Over-abundant actually. I spent the first 6 months of Logan's life dealing with engorgement and leaking. I stopped pumping completely when he was 3 months old because I wanted less milk. So when my supply all but disappeared I kicked myself for not keeping up with pumping and having a back-up supply. My supply went from plentiful to almost nada practically overnight. Logan became fussy and frustrated when he would latch and get nothing but a few drops. We started supplementing with soy milk since I just wasn't making enough. I tried every pregnancy-safe remedy. I tried pumping. Nothing worked. So I was just as frustrated as Logan. I felt awful. He wanted to nurse and I had nothing to give him. Luckily my boy is persistent and kept on trying anyway. He eventually stopped fussing when very little came out, content to just comfort nurse. He was handling it better than I was. Apparently it helped. At around 6 months my supply increased. Not a lot, but enough that he can now nurse about twice a day and seem satisfied. During those 3 months when my supply was gone, while Logan continued to comfort nurse, he only effectively nursed maybe once every other day or so. He cut out nursing before bed. If he was thirsty, he would request his cup before his "nummies." I missed the connection breastfeeding gave us and I'm so glad to have it back.
Satisfying his thirst at an outdoor festival.
Breastfeeding while pregnant does come with some pitfalls though. My breasts are sore and swollen from pregnancy and nursing is sometimes painful. Not to mention Logan needs to re-learn how to latch properly after his time off. He got used to a straw and now tries to treat my nipple like a straw. It hurts a little, but we're working on it and he's gotten better. There's also the issue of positioning. At almost 8 months pregnant, the only way for me to be comfortable while nursing is to sit up and prop Logan up beside me. He wants to curl up in my lap or nurse side-lying like he used to and that's not comfortable for either of us. So he's a lot more squirmy that normal and keeps trying to climb up onto my belly and I have to keep patiently pushing him off. Nursing also occasionally seems to bring on Braxton-Hicks contractions lately. Not comfortable. Sometimes I have to unlatch him and take a break. He gets confused and doesn't understand why and I feel just awful about it. So, no, it hasn't always been easy. But it has been rewarding and I wouldn't change it for the world. There's nothing as beautiful to me as having my baby snuggled up close sharing something special that only I can offer him. Logan is 19 months old now and shows no signs of wanting to wean, so pretty soon I'll be entering the world of tandem nursing and facing a whole new set of challenges. And to that I say, "Bring it on."


JoyFilled said...

Good for you!!! Breastfeeding during pregnancy is definitely worth it (as is tandeming). You are doing an awesome job!

Erin said...

Congrats to you! What a beautiful story (and those pictures just about melted my heart). Also, the story on your blog about the ball in your ear...too funny (glad it came out)! Love your blog, loved this post. Keep it up, pleeeeaaasseee! :-)