Dear Crissy

Breastfeeding second or third child may be a charm

Soon after giving birth to my daughter, Kara, I was presented for the second time in my life with a wrinkly-newborn, crying out for my breast.

In that moment I was filled with joy at the sight of such beauty. I was also haunted by deep insecurity and sorrow.

I had failed to breastfeed my first child, and honestly, I was reluctant to even attempt it again with baby number two. I was scared and unsure. I was so scared and unsure, that I fed Kara formula through her first two days of life, and left the hospital feeling defeated.

I didn’t breastfeed her in the hospital, because I didn’t want to cope with falling short, not again.

I didn’t even try… How could I not have even tried?

Breastfeeding: Sometimes The Second Time Is A Charm

When I got home from the hospital, I pushed the thoughts of breastfeeding completely out of my mind. I told myself that I could accept things the way they were, after all, I formula fed Evan, and he is a beautiful, brilliant, and healthy child. I don’t judge any mother who formula-feeds her child, even when it’s simply a choice.

The last thing a mother needs is scorn from other mothers—this—I know.

How everything changed…

On my second home with Kara, during a bottle-feeding and while breathing-in her intoxicating baby-scent, I felt the urge to pluck the latex nipple from her tiny mouth and to replace it with my own.

Within the lonely silence of that late-night feeding, when I knew that no nurses, or lactation consultants, or well-meaning family members were watching me, I tried, and I tried, and I tried again.

Please latch, please, PLEASE just do this.

And she did. I did.

The connection was made, Kara had latched, and I enjoyed the euphoria of motherhood and the tingle of pain that comes from a latch that isn’t quite perfected, for fifteen minutes.

I wasn’t sure if I had waited too long by not trying to breastfeed her for 48 hours after giving birth, I wasn’t sure if this was a fluke, and I really wasn’t sure why I had waited to give this my best effort the second time around. The only thing I did know, was that she seemed eager to breastfeed, and from the start, it was a totally unique experience when compared to the breastfeeding experience I had with Evan.

Kara is now 17-months-old. I exclusively breastfed her until she was 6-months-old, and continued to breastfeed until she was 15-months-old. I kind of feel like a rock star about the whole thing, if I’m being completely honest. I’m totally a rock star, right?

Breastfeeding: Second TIme Might Be A Charm

What I want you to know

I want you to know—yes, you—that just because your experience with breastfeeding wasn’t perfect the first time, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the game.

Truly, the second time, or third time, or seventh time may be the charm. If you want to breastfeed a subsequent child, try. Even if you’re scared of failing. Reach out for help, be patient, give it your best effort again.

If it still doesn’t work for you? Everything will be okay in that case, too. You’re still an amazing mom.

I’m so glad that I followed my motherly instincts during that 3:00 a.m. feeding, and that I was finally inspired enough to just keep trying.

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t perfect, but it was worth it in every way.

Every. Single. Way.

Moms, were your breastfeeding experiences different from child-to-child?

I’d love to hear your stories in the comment section.

Leave a Comment





31 Comments

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  1. Dusty B — May 16, 2013 @ 8:40 am (#)

    I’m so glad you tried again and was successful! I was only 23, single and worked two jobs when my son was born, so breastfeeding him for even the 10 weeks I did was a huge accomplishment. When my daughter was born 2 years ago, I was determined to BF longer, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. It became frustrating, tearful and more stressful than it should have been. I stopped, but everyone said I should “try harder” and try more pumps – everyone had their fix and nothing worked. Eventually, I learned that happy time spent bottle feeding my baby was better than stressful BFing her :-)

    Reply

  2. DebbieLB — May 16, 2013 @ 9:12 am (#)

    You ARE a rock star mom! Congrats on successfully raising two beautiful children. I’m glad you were able to experience breast feeding. As you said we shouldn’t judge women for the way they choose to feed their children.

    I have 5 kids–the last two are twins. I nursed them all including the twins. I did supplement the twins so someone else could help with feeding and I was just too dang tired to pump!! I am lucky that I had no problems, but I was judged by my mother in law who was totally against nursing! But I knew it was right for me and my babies.

    Bless you & keep up the important work raising awesome kids!

    Reply

  3. Andrea Kruse — May 16, 2013 @ 9:20 am (#)

    It is so different with each child! Even for having breast fed one, the challenges I faced with each new baby were different. I think all the fighting from both sides (and well meaning hospital staff checking in on new Moms constantly) puts unnecessary pressure on a process that is so personal between Mother and child. You are a rockstar. Not because you did or didn’t breastfeed… because you followed your intuition and stuck to your Mama-guns! You did what you obviously wanted and felt like doing. Either way as long as we are confident in our decision … we are ALL rockstars. We are Moms.

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  4. Joyce@MommyTalkShow — May 16, 2013 @ 9:27 am (#)

    Thank you for sharing your breastfeeding story.
    No one’s experience is the same. Although I breastfed my son from the day he was born to 21 months old, I also had my hurdles to overcome – bleeding/sore nipples and his food allergies that made me change my diet to benefit him.

    Reply

  5. Kim Bergeron — May 16, 2013 @ 9:30 am (#)

    Good that you kept with it! and oh, my goodness, your little ones are beautiful! Enjoy every moment…they grown up tooooo fast!!!

    Reply

  6. Ashleigh — May 16, 2013 @ 9:32 am (#)

    Thank you for sharing this Crissy. I am having my second early next year and I just remember the struggle with breastfeeding but I keep telling myself why I’m doing it, for the baby and all the benefits that come with it. I’ve learned this time around not to beat myself up if it doesn’t go well but I’m so happy that you were able to have a GREAT connection with breastfeeding the second time around! You ARE a rockstar.

    Reply

  7. LaQuita — May 16, 2013 @ 9:39 am (#)

    I tried breastfeeding for my daughter. It was difficult and she wouldn’t latch at all. I tried for the first month and while doing so had to supplement with formula. It was pretty rough. I didn’t even try with my son, but wish I would have. I think I was just so scared of my previous experience, but still regret not trying for him.

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  8. MyKidsGuide — May 16, 2013 @ 9:50 am (#)

    Yes, you certainly are totally a rock star! It’s great that you were able to learn how to do it without any pressure from the outside world. She is beautiful!!

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  9. Emily @ Love{&}Bugs — May 16, 2013 @ 11:08 am (#)

    Maybe it’s the postpartum hormones but this totally made me tear up!!

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  10. Heather — May 16, 2013 @ 11:08 am (#)

    Yes, you absolutely are a rockstar!

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  11. Cindy Orley — May 16, 2013 @ 11:17 am (#)

    Wow, so glad you tried and it worked out. Either way, you are a rock start mom because you love your kids and give them all you’ve got!

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  12. Holly — May 16, 2013 @ 11:24 am (#)

    Oh, absolutely a rock star!! I like to think I am too;-) With my first born (who is now a 4 year beautiful girl), I tried to breastfeed. It didn’t go well. I don’t know if it was a poor latch, lack of support and resources locally (I live in a very small town) or if I just gave up too soon. She got breast milk for about a month but most of it was being pumped and then mixed with formula. My supply ended up drying up but I think I wasn’t pumping enough. With my second daughter I was determined to try again but told myself I’d be okay if it didn’t work. I had WONDERFUL nurses while I was in the hospital, more alone time with my newborn and I was much more relaxed. She latched right away and nursing was wonderful! Then the soreness started…..then I got thrush which was so painful I wanted to quit. But I didn’t! I kept reading from other mama’s like you, that if you can get through that painful part and keep going you won’t regret it! And I haven’t=) Still going strong at nearly 11 months!!!

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  13. Laura B — May 16, 2013 @ 11:27 am (#)

    My mother had 4 children from 1973 to 1985. She formula fed her first two children because that was the norm at the time. Things had changed by the time I was born and she was able to successfully nurse two babies. Things aren’t written in stone after your first child. We are constantly learning as parents and shouldn’t beat ourselves up as badly as we do.

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  14. Courtney Wallace — May 16, 2013 @ 11:35 am (#)

    Yay! I’m so glad it worked out with your daughter. Such a moving and inspiring story of when you needed to try. It is NEVER too late to breastfeed your infant. It may take some work but you can re-lactate and get your milk back at any time if you know how to do it! It is a ton of work but you can do it. I was lucky enough to not have to try that route. I got my milk in shortly after my daughter was born. She was born on a Friday morning and by Monday night I was in AGONY because she wouldn’t nurse and I needed her too. She had nursed twice in the hospital. She was in the NICU so I couldn’t just nurse her whenever since I was still a patient in postpartum. I pumped and kept trying with her even after we got home. She was used to the bottle already :( She liked the instant milk coming out of the artificial nipple. I never gave up. It was the Wednesday after she was born and I called my mom, crying. “Evelyn just won’t take my breast. She wants the bottle. I can’t do it.” My mom, being wonderfully supportive said “just don’t give up yet. You can do it. But if you really want to quit, you can.” The way I heard it was “I dare you to give up. You can’t do it.” (Oh the joys of postpartum emotions!) And at 6pm on the Wednesday after she was born, Evelyn and I FINALLY connected. And we breastfed successfully, but not stress free, for nearly 13 months! Momma, you CAN do it. Keep trying. If you come to the point where you are done. Great. Try once more. Then, move on. I tried once more. It worked. I am glad I tried the one more time!

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  15. molly — May 16, 2013 @ 11:55 am (#)

    I was not able to breastfeed my first son for a variety of reasons. Now my second son? Totally different experience! Don’t give up second time moms! And yes, you’re a rockstar :)

    Reply

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you are beautiful. hope to see you soon!