I have to admit that I thought breastfeeding my second child was going to be like riding a bike, you just get on and go…not so much.
For starters, Jeremiah seemed more interested in cooing and “talking” when he was first born, unlike his sister who latched right on as soon as the breast was presented to her.
It was unbelievable, he just talked and talked for a solid hour after his birth. We were all pretty amazed by this.
He also did not have the best latching instincts. I had to really work with him to get his mouth nice and wide as well as to get that little tongue to stick out. I can say that having the previous experience with Evalee really helped me deal with these issues, which for some moms could be really frustrating.
But what was the most surprising to me was the fact that I had to go through the “toughening up” process all over again.
I remember talking with a fellow breastfeeding mama and asking her if she had to go through this with her second and her reply was “No, not at all.” So, I was expecting the same.
So, out came the lanolin salve to help prevent cracked and bleeding nipples. In addition to the lanolin, I would let some milk stay on my nipples and allow them to “air dry” a bit before pulling up my nursing bra and replacing the lanolin and nursing pad.
I also learned with Evalee not to let the baby nurse for more than 15 minutes on each side. It is tempting to let you little one nurse away in those early days but doing so can cause serious damage to your delicate skin. You should also try various holds and positions when you baby latches on so the same area is not getting worked on again and again.
Holds such as the football hold are great for this. It presents to nipple at a completely different angle and helps taps other ducts more effectively.
The other problem I was able to dodge was plugged ducts and/or mastitis, which can be extremely painful and can even get so bad you need antibiotics.
As soon as my milk came in, about 2 days after Jeremiah was born, my breasts felt like two rocks attached to my chest. It was so bad one night that I got into a hot tub at 2am to get some relief so I could sleep. I also asked my mom to pick me up a head of cabbage as I learned (a little too late last time) that cabbage leaves, when placed on your breasts, can relieve engorgement and prevent plugged ducts.
So, here is a little list of supplies and tips to help you prevent some of the most common pitfalls moms experience when learning to breastfeed their baby:
- In the first few days before your milk comes in, avoid the temptation to over nurse. Your baby will be fine with 15 minutes on each side and your super, nutrient-rich colostrum.
- Have a tube of lanolin salve at the ready and use it right away to prevent chapped, cracked or bleeding nipples.
- Experiment with different holds such as the football hold to present the nipple and “tap” all ducts.
- Only wear loose, wireless nursing bras to prevent plugged ducts and mastitis. Underwire can push on pressure points that can encourage problems.
- Use cabbage leaves, hot baths and hot showers to relieve engorgement when your milk does finally come in. Hang in there, it is usually only a few days of this before your body regulates and your milk flow modifies to your baby’s needs.
Although my breastfeeding experience the second time around was a little bumpy, the experience and knowledge I acquired from my first baby was able to prevent little problems from becoming major problems.
I hope you find this post in time to prevent any major problems of your own. If you are suffering from anything I mentioned feel free to leave a plea for help in the comments and I will do my best to offer advice. Or, if you are a mom with a common story to share that you feel could help fellow moms please leave that in the comments below as well.
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