Sunday, 9 November 2014

Breastfeeding: easier second time round

I am breastfeeding the Second Boy, and this time round, it feels much easier than when the First Boy and I started our nursing journey. I have fourteen months of breastfeeding experience to refer to this time, which has helped me to relax about the whole thing.
Back then, I really struggled for the first six weeks with a severely cracked and painful nipple caused by a whole first night of feeding in the hospital with a bad latch. Every feed was excruciating and I think that, because I tensed up, my let-down reflex was affected and, subsequently, my milk supply.  For the first six weeks I felt like I was failing at breastfeeding, and became quite anxious and downhearted.  So this time round I was quite nervous that the same thing would happen.

With the Second Boy, I have been very careful from the start that our latch is right. We are not getting it right every feed; sometimes we go through a couple of days of soreness.  Sometimes I feel like the relentlessness of it is all too much for me to cope with, especially when the Second Boy is cluster feeding for the third consecutive hour in the night.  But generally it's a hundred times better than with the First Boy.  The Second Boy's weight gain has been fantastic (he is averaging at a 2 oz gain every day at the moment!) and I really feel like I have a great supply of milk.  My confidence is generally pretty high, and I am feeling proud of how we're doing.

Here is my list of the things that are helping us succeed this time:

1. Bedside cot.
We have a cot that attaches to our bed so that I have been able to feed both boys quickly and efficiently during the night without having to get out of bed.  It means that I sleep within an arm's reach of my baby and can sense the first stirrings when he is ready for a feed.  It's especially welcome right now in the late Autumn when the nights are colder and getting out of bed not an enticing prospect.  However, there are a couple of downsides of our cot: the mattress is a little hard, which we've remedied by putting the Moses Basket (which the Second Boy loves sleeping in) inside it; I've also found that I am sleeping so close to my baby that I am disturbed by every tiny sound, and can sometimes misinterpret that as him needing to feed.

2.  Spare bed
For the past few nights I have  been sleeping in the nursery, which has a single bed in it.  G has been bringing the Second Boy into me during the night when he needs a feed. This has been so helpful in helping me to get a bit more sleep in between feeds, as he is less disturbed by all the little snuffling noises that babies make.  Making a point of having a spare bed was something that we learnt was a priority for us after our experiences of the First Boy's early months. I'm so glad we found the room for one.
3. Nursing armchair
With the First Boy we bought one of those proper nursing glider chairs.  But I didn't actually use it very much as it was not that comfortable, so we ended up selling it. This time, we bought the Jennylund armchair from Ikea, which is really comfortable and also compact enough to fit into the nursery.  When I'm sleeping in the nursery, I will feed in this chair at night as it helps me with posture and prevents my back from aching, which it can sometimes do when I'm feeding sitting up in bed.

4. Nightlight
We have a lovely little nightlight from Mothercare which I switch on to do the night feeds. It's just enough light to get the latch right without waking anyone up too much!

5. The right nursing clothes
It really helps me to feel more confident about breastfeeding if I know I have comfortable nursing bras and clothes that allow me to feed discreetly and efficiently, both at home and in public, without me feeling too frumpy.  I have spent more money this time round on a few key nursing outfits, and I've also made use of non-nursing clothes such as button down shirts and cowl neck tops, rather than be limited to what I can source in the few high street shops that sell a range of nursing clothes.  A good tip is to wear a nursing vests with clips underneath a regular top, then it's possible to simply lift up the top to access the vest without revealing your tummy.  I think sleep bras are a must too, to give you some support at night without feeling like you're still strapped up!
6. Lansinoh cream
This cream is a godsend. It really helps sore nipples to heal quickly. Expensive but worth it.

7. Breast pump.
I'm just at the point when I'm starting to express and introduce the Second Boy to a bottle of expressed milk occasionally. The first time round, I had a hand-pump, which was absolutely useless.  Then I borrowed an Ameda Lactaline double electric breast pump from a friend and it was fantastic.  I have invested in one of my own this time.  Again, it's expensive, but really worth the extra money for its efficiency and ease of use.
8. Supportive husband
I can't stress enough how my husband's support is crucial to whether I am able to make breastfeeding work for us.  My hubby makes sure I'm fed and watered, entertains and distracts the First Boy when his mummy is occupied in nursing, takes on most of the nappy and winding duties, sends me into the spare room when he can see me flagging due to lack of sleep, and tells me how well he thinks I'm doing.  He supports my breastfeeding completely but I know he'd like to be able to give our little one his milk (who doesn't savour gazing down at that lovely milk drunk face?) so I'm looking forward to him being able to give the Second Boy my expressed milk from a bottle a bit more frequently soon.


What have been the key factors for getting breastfeeding off to a good start for you?

Mami 2 Five


  1. I am breastfeeding no.2 at the moment too and like you I have found it so much easier 2nd time round. It still has its ups and downs but on the whole much better. Lansinoh is miraculous and having a supportive husband absolutely helps! I recently wrote a post with some of my fave bfing tools #sundaystars

    1. Thanks for your comment, Caroline. I just read your post and it all resonates very strongly with me. I also feel that the realities of breastfeeding were not addressed by my antenatal classes, and in various baby books and NHS communications. It all led me to feel that what I was experiencing was out of the ordinary and that breastfeeding was failing for us, when I could have been reassured by a more realistic approach, as in your post. It's hard, hard work. I simultaneously love and hate it!

  2. Oh how lovely to read such a positive post about breadtfeeding. It didn't work as well for me as it clearly is doing for you, but I wholly agree that second time round is far easier on the nerves!!!! I suppose we're a little more in the know as to what to expect. So great to hear all your fab reasons for it working too. Thank you so much for linking up with #SundayStars xx Steph xx

    1. Thank you Steph, and I'm glad I could join in with your linky. I'm sorry to hear that breastfeeding didn't work out for you - it is so much harder than the health professionals convey (especially to first-time mums). I would love to see more realistic information about nursing. x

  3. Thanks for your comment, Steph. Sorry to hear that things didn't work out as well as you hoped. I think you've hit the nail on the head with 'nerves'. It really did make me nervous first time round - always worrying about whether my baby was getting enough milk, whether I was feeding too much or too little, and whether our technique was correct. Now I've learnt to simply relax a bit more and trust that my body and my baby know what they're doing. I look forward to linking up with you again. x

  4. Oh wow some great tips and also really wonderful to hear it's easier the second time around - I fed my little man until he was 2.5yrs but I am still nervous about how the second time is going to go, we are expecting in Feb and I know I can do it but every child is different. My first one was tongue tied and this caused issues that we managed to get passed but I am interested to see how hard/easy it's going to be the 2nd time around

    Laura x

    1. Congratulations, Laura, on your pregnancy. Not long left for you now then? Brilliant that you managed to feed your son for so long and especially after overcoming the tongue tie! That does bode well for your second child, but you're right in that every child has their own quirks and we never know how they will take to the same way we parented the first child. They keep us on our toes! x

  5. This is a great post with some brilliant tips. I really struggled to breast feed Little Miss H and I had to resort to expressing. But I am really hoping it will be easier when we have another. Your post has really put my mind at ease. Thank you for linking up with #SundaysStars too. Hugs Mrs H xxxx PS It would be awesome if you could add the #SundaysStars badge to the bottom of your post. That way we get to share the linky love. Thanks xxxx

    1. Thanks Mrs H, and sorry for forgetting the #SundaysStars badge to my post - it's now there. It must have been very hard to make the time to express and then to feed Little Miss H - takes twice the time! I'm glad my experiences were useful to read. xx