I married my husband, Jeremy, while I was 24 and he was 29. We were blessed to get pregnant either on our honeymoon or a few short days afterward. I never gave much thought to how I would feed the baby. I just took it for granted that I would breastfeed since it was what my mom had done and it was healthy and cheap. (We do like cheap around here.) Come delivery day, Oct 1, 2006, everything went well, not as natural as I had hoped but good nonetheless. Maggie nursed well from day one and never had any problems. When my milk came in I was slightly engorged but that subsided and other than a few leaking problems there was never any problem with breastfeeding. She nursed every 2 to 2 1/2 hours (including nights) almost until she was 12 months old. *Sigh* That’s a lot of nursing.
We found out that we were pregnant with blessing #2 when Maggie was 13 months old. I had had one cycle prior to pregnancy and yes were trying and had been since Maggie was a few months old. We want LOTS of children. I decided not to wean since she was still nursing so often. I was blessed to never have any breast pain or discomfort. I never noticed a change in milk, supply or type, throughout the entire pregnancy. Maggie never nursed any different. We did night wean her during the pregnancy so I could get some much needed rest. With baby #2 we decided to have a homebirth. For several reasons but one being that I had never been away from Maggie and she was still nursing and I could go on and on with others reasons.
Emma was born June 28, 2008 at home in a kiddie pool with no power during an electric storm in the “veil” with a head full of red hair. It was truly amazing. Total testimony to the way God intended birth to be. She nursed to sleep shortly after delivery and then Maggie came and snuggled in the bed with us and nursed to sleep as well. It was one of the most fulfilling moments in my life. She weighed 8 pounds and 8 ounces and was 22 inches long. One of the best things about nursing a toddler after having just given birth is that there is never (or at least not for me) a time of engorgement. It was wonderful. We never skipped a beat. Emma gained weight just fine throughout our time of tandem nursing. Maggie self weaned when Emma was 3 months which means Maggie would have been right at 2. There were never any complications while nursing Emma.
We found out we were pregnant with blessing #3 when Emma was 13 months old (sound familiar) and like before I had had one cycle and yes we were desperately trying to get pregnant. Just like before I never noticed a change nor did Emma have any reactions. This time we were planning a home-birth but I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 30 weeks so we decided to use a midwife at a local doctor’s office who does hospital births. She was great just for the record. The plan was to just have the baby in the hospital and then come home within 24 hours. Yeah, so much for plans. My water broke at 37 weeks 2 days and I didn’t go into labor. Long story short I had to be induced (nasty nasty business, this induction stuff) Baby Zion was born weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces 21 inches long (I think) and had poor muscle tone and very immature lungs and was rushed off to the NICU where he spent the first 11 days of his life. Horrible horrible horrible. We were not able to touch him the first day and not able to hold him until he was 4 days old. I was not able to nurse him until he was 9 days old. I pumped and I pumped until the hospital frig and freezer were full and they ask me to start taking the new milk home. : ) My 21 month old made a PERFECT breast pump for the extra milk. Once I was able to nurse he did just beautiful except for when his oxygen saturation levels would plummet while he was gorging himself on milk.
Finally when little man was 11 days old we were able to bring him home. He was back up to his birth weight on the day of our departure from the NICU and quickly started gaining.....and gaining. For a period of a couple of months, he gained a POUND A WEEK. Eck. Pure breastmilk, nursing about every 2 hours. When he was about 3 months old (which is when Emma self weaned, right before her 2nd birthday) I started trying to stretch his feedings out to about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. With this guy, I have had all kinds of pain, lumps, blisters. He’s been such a challenge even during pregnancy. Thankfully he is very laid back on this side of the womb and such a smiling happy baby.
Right now he is 5 months and weighs a whopping 21 pounds and 3 ounces. He is strictly breastfed but don’t think that there aren’t days that I battle with supplementing. He’s my first baby that will take a pacifier (thank you NICU) and he will also take a bottle (with breast milk). I must admit that it is a challenge to carry around a large baby since I myself am small boned and not very muscular.
I have loved nursing my three children. I loved nursing throughout both pregnancies. I have loved nursing two bundles at a time but should the Lord bless us with another pregnancy I do not plan to nurse throughout this pregnancy. I would like a break and I would like to wear a dress (not a skirt and top) without first thinking “how am I going to nurse in that dress”. But who knows the Lord just might change my mind. There is nothing quite like looking down into that little face (or in this case big face) while they nurse and play with your hair, knowing that you are giving that baby the very best that you have to offer.
Should you desire to see this sweet and LARGE baby boy that I speak, or the red head born in the water, or the big sister to the circus, you are welcome to come and visit us at our family blog, Ponder The Path.
~ Emily, 28, mommy to Maggie, 3 (almost 4), Emma, 2, and Zion ,5 months, and Lord willing many more to come