Breast Feeding The Second Time Around…

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Have a tube of lanolin salve at the ready and use it right away to prevent chapped, cracked or bleeding nipples.
  3. Experiment with different holds such as the football hold to present the nipple and “tap” all ducts.
  4. Only wear loose, wireless nursing bras to prevent plugged ducts and mastitis. Underwire can push on pressure points that can encourage problems.
  5. 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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6 Responsesto “Breast Feeding The Second Time Around…”

  1. Cindi says:

    I agree with tracey. Don’t watch the clock when you first start breastfeeding. It is so much more important to feel it out for yourself and baby. Sometimes if you are worried about how much milk your baby is getting, you need to feed for a longer time and drink plenty of water yourself. The more the baby nurses the more milk you will produce. Babies only nurse when they need to, so don’t limit it just because it doesent agree with the clock.

  2. TracyKM says:

    I have a couple of other points…when you say not to “over nurse”, while limiting the time per breast might be okay for some babies, pay more attention to your baby and your breast, than the clock. Some babies DO need 20 minutes, and if you’re feeling fine, then that’s okay. Too short of nursings will encourage too much foremilk. And make sure not to limit how often you nurse. Nursing very frequently in the first week can prevent engorgement. There is no reason to get rock hard and swollen. I found a great pattern to be every 60- 90 minutes during the first 4 days (longer at night), then start stretching it out once your milk is in. I had leakage, but no pain, some swelling, but no ‘rock hard’ breasts that made it hard to nurse (oh, the pain was terrible with my first!).
    Also, if an underwire bra is fitting properly (and 80% aren’t, LOL) then they don’t press on milk glands. The wires should be sitting flat on the chest wall, under the breast, and at the side, should go high enough to contain the breast. I found it easiest, with the frequent nursing, to just forget about the bra during the first week, and kept a towel wrapped around me when at home, LOL.
    It is a great reminder to women that each baby and bf experience is unique. You can have 10 kids and they’d all be different nursers. I’m done with three, but learned SO much with #3 that I almost wish I could do it again :)

  3. Ivy says:

    I found my experience with the hospital nurses and breastfeeding to be frustrating. They were very pushy and grabbed my breast and the baby’s head and made her cry and she wouldn’t latch on while they were doing that. They wanted to introduce a bottle, but i refused. Breastfeeding at the hospital was a challenge, but I am so glad I didn’t give up, because once we got home and it was just us, it was much more comfortable. Once my milk came in, I had a problem with leaking during the first couple of months. She would be nursing on one side and the other side would start leaking, but I wouldn’t realize until my arm or stomach would be wet. Something you just have to have a sense of humor about :)

    Lanolin would be my biggest recommendation to any nursing mother, and if you can get your hands on the book “Fresh Milk” (which I found at a yard sale) it is a compilation of breastfeeding stories from women around the world with a great variety of positive and negative experiences and advice.

    I thought I would breastfeed for the whole first year, but my daughter decided she was done at ten months. The end of breastfeeding is a bittersweet experience. It is amazing what our bodies can do. I am so glad that I didn’t give up in the hospital when the nurses were being so pushy and that I was able to give my daughter the best nutritional start. :)

  4. Caroline Hesse says:

    Jess…the most amazing thing I used when I first started BFing were called Comfort Gels. I think they are made by Ameda. I kept them in the fridge and stuck them in my bra when needed. A lifesaver. I hope things are going great now w/ nursing!

  5. Anisa says:

    I had a similar experience with my second. He too had trouble with his latch and I found myself using the Lansinoh for the first time. It is one of the MANY things I am finding to confirm the fact that every baby is different. Duh, I know. But really.

  6. Jess Ray says:

    Any questions? Have a funny breastfeeding story to tell? Leave it here…

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