Breastfeeding my older daughter was very differed from breastfeeding my youngest. I have to wonder if some of it isn’t related to their birth stories. My oldest, Shea, was born after 24 hours of labor, 3 of which was spent pushing. My level of fatigue when she finally entered this world was indescribable. There was no skin-to-skin, it was me trying to process the moment and her being whisked away with low blood sugar. She was given donor milk before ever breastfeeding and it devastated me. My “birth plan” was to have the best birthing experience possible and to have skin-to-skin and nurse ASAP – neither or which happened with Shea.
Fast forward 23 months, and Piper’s birth was an absolute dream, followed by 90 minutes of skin-to-skin and nursing. She has been a champion nurser since the start and my milk supply has been plentiful, unlike with her sister.
Because of her early introduction to the bottle, Shea was always happy to nurse or take a bottle. Luckily, she never refused the breast but Piper, is quite the opposite – she continues to hate the bottle. She has been at daycare 5 days now (not consecutive, but over the past of 2 weeks). Yesterday, she took only 4 ounces over the course of an 8 1/2 hour day. The week prior, she gained a mere 2 ounces (an ounce/day is a more appropriate weight gain at this age). It has been REALLY hard – on both of us.
This past Tuesday I worked a 12-hour day and when I walked in the door at 8:30 pm, Piper was screaming. Hubby handed her over and she was immediately calmed. I nursed her and she was asleep in a matter of minutes. A pattern is developing with her – around 7:30 pm, she wants to be alone with me in a dark room, preferably her nursery, and she wants to be nursed to sleep. We have this beautiful bond that is so effortless when we’re together and I’m incredibly thankful for it. Conversely, Shea was always provided with a bottle before bed, often of formula, because my milk supply was never sufficient to meet her needs.
One thing hasn’t changed in my nursing experience: I HATE pumping. Taking the time out of a busy work day to pump is incredibly stressful. Pumping is never convenient and the amount of time it takes to wash bottles and pump parts each day is excruciating to think about. My least favorite part about being away from my baby all day is having to come home and organize what milk needs to go where and in what quantities. To freeze or refrigerate? To put into bottles or bags? It’s a bit overwhelming and very time-consuming.
When Shea sees me pump she knows I’m “making bottles” or when she sees me breastfeeding she understands “baby is eating”. It’s interesting to see a 2-year-old mind try and process all of this, but she has taken it in stride.
My current schedule with the girls looks something like this:
- 6:15am: get up and get my hair and make-up done, pick out my outfit
- 6:45am: get Shea up and dressed, make coffee, feed dog, pack the car, and feed Shea breakfast
- 7am: get baby up, change and nurse her, monitor breakfast time and clean-up/pack the car, possibly pump if I feel like Piper didn’t drain me 😛
- 7:45am: brush my teeth and change into work clothes
- 8am: load into the car (2 kids, diaper bag, 3 “lunches”, pump bag, work laptop, and purse, plus an miscellaneous items needed at daycare – diapers, wipes, clothes, etc)
- 8:15am: drop off at daycare
- 8:30am: arrive at work
- 10:30am: pump
- 2pm: pump
- 4:30: pick-up girls
- 5pm: arrive home, unload car, start dinner, nurse baby, pack lunches/bottles for next day
- 6pm: eat dinner, hopefully with hubby as a family but often not
- 6:45pm: dishes, baths, play, clean-up
- 7pm: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and wind down for the day
- 7:30pm: divide and conquer bedtime – me with baby and Mark with Shea for books and bed
- 8pm: kids asleep
- 8-9:30pm: workout, blog, TV, read, etc.
- 9:30pm: in bed, reading
- 3/4am: Piper wakes to nurse
We’ve fallen into a bit of a routine since Piper has moved her bedtime up. Even with a shorter (than average) work day, it’s hard to fit it all in, especially exercise. It’s especially hard to fit in exercise without sacrificing on family time and yet exercising at 8pm takes a LOT of motivation. But, this seems to be working fairly well for the time being. That is at least when Mark isn’t traveling and everything goes as planned 🙂
I’m incredibly thankful for such a wonderful nursing experience in my second attempt. Comparing the two experiences has been interesting and I hope Piper continues to enjoy the bond as much as me!
Off to enjoy the 60’s before we see some of that fluffy white stuff tomorrow! Whaaa?!