I am currently breastfeeding my fifth baby, who is 15 months old. I will recount my breastfeeding success stories from my oldest to my baby.
My first baby, my son, was born at 35 weeks. For being premature, he was perfectly normal. Being a first time mom, I was nervous that I wouldn’t breastfeed correctly. I spent much of the first couple days in tears with a lactation consultant. She had me trying different positions, doing different things to wake my sleepy boy to nurse. They emphasized time spent at each breast and making sure I held him in all the different positions. I was a nervous wreck.
When we were finally home I almost gave up breastfeeding because things weren’t working out like the lactation nurse said they should. I even had 2 cans of formula that his pediatrician gave me, claiming that I wasn’t a cow and if I couldn’t nurse him then give him a bottle.
By day 5 after many tears on my part I had set a time that if my milk didn’t come in and if my son wouldn’t latch on and nurse with vigor – then I would give it up. It must have been that decision that allowed me to relax just a bit, because my milk came in and my son nursed and nursed!
After that turbulent first week I tried to go by the “book” and kept him on a schedule. What resulted was a fussy baby who stayed awake all night for the first 3 months of his life – not to mention a frustrated and tired mommy who almost gave up on breastfeeding altogether.
He finally did sleep in his own crib and room at 7 months. But I still to this day feel guilty for keeping him on such a strict feeding schedule – for making him wait until my milk came in to eat – at least 2 hours between feedings.
I learned from that experience with my first baby. He weaned himself at 12 months I learned to relax. By the time I was pregnant with my 2nd baby, I felt like a pro.
She was a cesarean baby and nursing again was a little bit of a challenge, not because of her, but because of my limitations after the surgery. She did nurse and I was relaxed. I no longer worried about what position I held her in – or for how long she nursed on each side. I simply put her to the breast and allowed her to peacefully nurse as long as she wanted. When she was done I would put her to the other breast the next go around.
She also co-slept with us, and therefore slept through the night most all the time. She was a calm and relaxed baby and I attribute it to my being calm and relaxed with her. And I allowed her to nurse on demand. I learned that whether or not my milk had come in – if I put the baby to the breast the milk came in – every time. She weaned herself at 19 months.
My third baby was pretty much the same – as I did with her and all my daughters like my 2nd baby. What resulted each and every time was a calm baby – that would nurse on demand, would co-sleep with us and would sleep most all night every night. My third baby weaned herself at 18 months and I was then 4 months pregnant with my fourth baby.
My fourth baby nursed like a pro until she was 3 years old! About the time she weaned (on her third birthday – and I forced her to wean) I became pregnant with my 5th baby.
I’m currently nursing my 5th baby who is 15 months old. One lesson I’ve learned is that you should allow your baby to nurse on demand – and hold them the way YOU feel is comfortable. You may have to coax them to nurse at first – but get through that first week and everything will be fine. The baby won’t starve until your milk comes in. It’s natural for the baby to loose a little weight during that first week of colostrum only diet. Milk normally comes in good and strong within that week normally after 4 or 5 days.
Just relax and you too will have your own breastfeeding success story to tell!
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