Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mommy, Joshua, and the Nummies: Much Easier the Second Time Around

          Besides some really annoying pinching and recently discovered teeth grazing, the only nursing "problem" Joshua has is that he can't seem to get enough of it! Seriously, Joshua absolutely LOVES nursing. But it wasn't always this easy or this good for us. I assumed that because I was practically a pro at nursing Daniel that nursing Joshua would be easy. I had the latch down and knew what to do about low milk supply after all! For the most part, nursing Joshua was a lot easier than nursing Daniel, but it wasn't exactly what I would call easy in the beginning.

          Shortly after he was born, my sweet little Joshua latched on like a pro and nursed for at least 45 minutes. He latched on another time after that before we went home early the next morning. Once home, he continued to nurse non stop. He was a pretty calm baby and was pretty content as long as he was nursing. He didn't cry for hours like his brother did. Aside from being sleep deprived and exhausted, everything was looking good. But 2 or 3 days after he was born, I started to have serious pain while nursing and developed a cracked nipple. Again!

          Joshua tucked his lower lip in while nursing, just like his brother, and he also tucked the top lip on one side at times. Since Daniel did the same thing, I already knew to look for it and correct it but, even then, the pain continued. I was so frustrated I cried. I was also having difficulties with Daniel nursing at the time and that, combined with the physical pain from Joshua's bad latch and my cracked nipple, was pretty difficult to bear. At one point, it got so bad that I messaged my friend Reggie, who is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), and told her that I was considering getting formula and my mother in law volunteered to go buy it because she was feeling so bad for me. Reggie suggested that, rather than use formula, I should pump instead of nursing Joshua and feed him my milk from a bottle. She assured me that she could help me get him to re-latch if he ended up preferring the bottles and my milk in a bottle would be better for him than formula anyway.

          I was afraid to pump at first because my nipples had gotten sore from pumping in the past, especially while pregnant. In the end, I ended up nursing Joshua only on the least painful side and pumping on the side that was cracked for about a day and a half. That first night, Reggie ended up coming over around 1:30 am to help me with Joshua's latch. She is awesome! I was so grateful that she was willing to leave her sleeping toddler at home with her husband and drive an hour to come help me at that time of the night! She pointed out that Joshua had a shallow latch and helped me work on correcting it. Some of the time, even when he seemed to be latched on right, it still hurt but it was now way better than before. She checked him for tongue tie but he didn't appear to have one so we assumed it was just because of the damage that had already been done to my nipple. She also pointed out that maybe he just had a small mouth and my nipples were too large and it would improve once he grew a bit more. This made sense since the same thing had happened with Daniel.

          When Reggie left that night, I felt much better and Joshua's latch had improved. However, I continued to have pain the next day, even when I felt that his latch was fine. I ut in a call to my other friend, Patty, who is also a CLC for a local Baby Cafe. She was able to do a home visit for me through her program. She also found Joshua's latch to be shallow at times. She showed me how to nurse him in a more laid back and comfortable position, with lots of pillows and advised that I wait until his mouth was wide open before I allowed him to latch on. I remembered being told the same thing with Daniel but I guess I was too stressed out at the time to remember it. She also discovered a pea sized lump that was probably a clogged duct but it resolved on its own in time. Once again, when Patty left, I was feeling much better. I think, more than anything, what really helped me was the reassurance I got from both her and Reggie that everything would get better and I was doing a good job.

          After that, things began to improve. Within a few days, my nipple was completely healed and Joshua's latch was perfect. I was finally pain free and able to enjoy nursing and bonding with my new baby boy. Joshua was, once again, content as can be as long as he was in my arms nursing. He rarely cried. I was also happy to have a few bags of frozen milk in my freezer in case of an emergency. Unlike when Daniel was born, thankfully, no emergencies arose and they still haven't. He refused bottles and pacifiers from day one so I am grateful that I never had to leave his side for long. To this day, I have never left Joshua in anyone's care for longer than 30 minutes and he's never drank my milk from anywhere other than my breast. By that time, I was a pro at nursing Daniel in public so that was never an issue with Joshua, except for when it came to tandem nursing but I think we've pretty much gotten over that by now. I am also very thankful to say that, this time around, I have not had any problems with my supply at all. I always had enough milk for Joshua since I had plenty of milk to nurse two growing boys!

          For Joshua, the majority of his nursing has also been share with his big brother and they have a beautiful bond. Joshua is very attached to me and the bond that we have formed through nursing is amazing. For Joshua, and Daniel too, nursing provides much more than just food. Joshua never took a pacifier and he has always been comforted at the breast when he is upset or hurt and he nurses to sleep every night with his brother. He obviously eats solids by now but can be pretty picky at times. I am so glad to have the reassurance that my milk will provide all the nutrition he may be lacking from food. He will be 15 months tomorrow and we are still going strong with no end in sight. Although Daniel night weaned himself around his first birthday, Joshua still continues to nurse all through the night which can be a bit tiresome at times, thank God for co-sleeping!

          Joshua can't decide if he wants nursing to be called mimis or nummies and will often just say mimi nummies, he just loves to nurse no matter what it's called.  He is a happy, healthy boy and is pretty big for his age. In fact, he is almost the same size as his brother! It has been tough at times, I often become tired or overwhelmed from nursing both boys, but I plan to let them both self wean when they are ready. I am super proud of myself for providing the best nutrition and comfort for my boys and I wouldn't trade our special, beautiful bond for anything in this world!


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