Even though I started out scared, I decided to breastfeed my second baby. I previously posted about my prior experience with breastfeeding first baby and why I was afraid to breastfeed again. Then, I posted about my breastfeeding success. I was excited about my success, but then experienced feelings of guilt over it all. Still, I’ve realized, I should share why I believe my second breastfeeding experience was better, despite my apprehensions. I don’t know for sure whether it’s because my son was just a born breastfeeder or dietary changes made a difference. Regardless, I had a much better time of it the second time around. Plus, my expectations changed.
I feel like, after such a terrible first experience, such a huge change is something that may help someone else. If you’ve have issues breastfeeding, I encourage you to read about my experience and see if there’s anything that could help you.
Possible Reasons I Had a Better Breastfeeding Experience
Changing My Diet
For starters, my first born had issues with dairy and soy in my diet. At the time, I didn’t know how to cut it out, so she ended up on formula. In about the year before I got pregnant with baby #2, I also had to go on a dairy free diet for myself. My son has never displayed any issues during breastfeeding. I can’t help but to think that being dairy-free has been a one reason for our success.
I Rarely Pumped
This time around, I opted to only pump for a little while to build a very small stash. I chose not to allow myself to get caught up in the cycle of continuous feeding and pumping. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. I preferred to feed my son and go about my day doing other things that needed to be done. Plus, I wasn’t going anywhere often enough to require a large stash of milk in the freezer.
I felt more like a human this time around. And, I’m comfortable knowing I’m producing enough milk for my son when he needs it, instead of overproducing and causing the viscious cycle of needing to pump for nothing more than having made myself overproduce. At the very least, I felt less like a dairy cow and more human. What a relief!
I Stopped Obsessing
I stopped reading about breastfeeding. Unless I had an issue which needed some quick advice, I trusted everything was going well. I think it was easy to read into so many people’s issues, that it’s easy to believe most people have them. And then, really easy to think “do I have that issue?” By not reading, I wasn’t looking for issues. I simply trusted that things were going well. As long as he was gaining even some weight, everything was okay.
I Never Gave a Doctor a Chance to Offer Their Opinion
I never asked my doctor or son’s pediatrician about breastfeeding. I’ve listened to a few women lament that they weren’t producing enough and their doctors suggested supplementing with formula. When I asked them why they (or their doctor) believed they weren’t producing enough, they never really had an answer. I don’t know why doctors do this, but it creates a production problem. By supplementing, you’re essentially telling your body your baby is finished and your body learns not to produce more. The only way to signal to your body to produce milk is to continue the breastfeeding session for as long as your baby is actively eating. If he stays latched, he wants more and that tells your body to keep producing.
I Became More Comfortable Breastfeeding in Public
Finally, I learned to breastfeed my son in a carrier. I was able to breastfeed no matter where I was at. This made it super-convenient to continue on with life and not feel like a prisoner. I breastfed while grocery shopping, walking around theme parks, and at my in-laws house without anyone ever realizing what I was doing. Participating in life with my family when I normally would have been confined to a seat and carrying a cover everywhere was a lovely experience.
I Didn’t Stress It
Mostly, in the newborn phase, I was ready to quit at every hiccup. Since I hadn’t started out completely committed to breastfeeding, I was totally cool if it didn’t work out. Being that I had wanted to bottle-feed this baby (even if partially), it meant that it didn’t put much stress on me either way. Well … maybe there was a lot of pressure when it worked so well and I hadn’t exactly been prepared for that. Either way, I went with the flow and followed my son’s lead, completely putting myself aside.
I’m not certain if there was one major contributing factor to this improved breastfeeding experience or the combination of them all. My son was totally a boob man as soon as he was born, so maybe that’s all it took. But, I’ll never really know. Thankfully, though, my other coping strategies at least helped me to not hate breastfeeding. In fact, after several months, I ended up enjoying our breastfeeding experience. And then, after what seemed like a just a couple months, I realized it was time to work on weaning. That fact makes me so thankful for the chance at a better story than I had initially wanted to give myself.