When Miranda was born she presented “military” style with her head cocked to the side.  This caused a long time of pushing during her delivery but also created a problem for her latch.  A latch is when the baby attached her little mouth on your nipple sucking it down into her throat to feed.  Well, that did not happen for her because her jaw was not straight from the delivery.  We had to take her to the chiropractor the very next morning.  I will talk more about that experience later.  But needless to say that her jaw was corrected.  Sadly her latch did not come for another month because the day she was born we decided to use a breast shield.  A “breast shield” is a plastic hat shaped piece that goes over the nipple to help the baby eat.  But this caused nipple confusion.  Our options were to train her away from it or to cold turkey it.  It was a long and frustrating process.

Because she was our first we decided to train her away from it.  This involved beginning the feeding until we knew she had some milk in her and then would take the shield away so that she would latch taking the nipple into her throat.  She wasn’t used to this feeling and it took her some weeks to adjust.  Then one day I forgot the shield at my mother’s home and we just had to do without it.  Miraculously she did great without it right from then on.  She never had a problem latching again.

I was feeding Miranda “on-demand” which to our delight worked into a schedule.  I was under the impression that when breastfeeding one never got a period.  But I was wrong.  So it was that when Miranda was 8 months old I got my period.  I spoke to the La Leche League and they assured me that sometimes when a woman goes 5 hours or more between feedings that it triggers the menstruation cycle.  Two periods and then I was pregnant with Kaelan.

That is how my story continues…breastfeeding and pregnant.  Of course I had questions: Does the milk become colostrum again?  How much more should I eat?  Will I be able to keep breastfeeding Miranda?  Mostly I was told that I could keep breastfeeding if she didn’t wean herself from the taste of the milk due to the pregnancy hormones.  But I had to go digging online to answer the other questions.  The colostrum does come again during pregnancy and runs its course after the newborn and then the milk comes back in again.  I also found the food intake should just stay based on my appetite.  Eat when I am hungry and keep up exercising as much as possible.  I believe that my pregnancy with Kaelan went much better because of the breastfeeding.  I had much less nausea and ate better.  I was also able to exercise more.

I was then transformed into a tandem feeding Mama.  After Kaelan was born he latched like a pro!  He took to it rather quickly.  There was a bit of a time where he didn’t quite get my nipple all the way down his throat properly.  This caused some discomfort for me, but it only lasted about a month.  Miranda was 16 months when Kaelan was born.  She seemed ok with him, but not me.  She was not happy with me for “sharing” myself with Kaelan, mainly for breastfeeding him.  She did eventually adjust, though.  I was very worried that I would have a milk supply problem.  I had this problem when I was not pregnant and just breastfeeding Miranda.  What I learned to up my milk supply then included eating oatmeal every day, drinking more water and drinking a tea with herbs that increase the supply.  I did all of those things and had no further issues.  I had plenty of milk to feed both my babies!  I was so blessed!

When I became pregnant with our third, Sophia, I was still tandem nursing.  Ken and I decided to wean our oldest and then we would be able to repeat the above scenario of birthing our daughter and tandem nurse the newborn and toddler.  Well, sadly, about six months into the pregnancy Kaelan decided he did not like the taste of the breastmilk with all the pregnancy hormones in it.  He weaned himself and I had to sort of start over when Sophia was born.  She was born and really had no true issues.  I had popped out a rib right under my shoulder during labor and was so very uncomfortable when breastfeeding.  My body was getting used to being breastfed from again.  But my back would spasm anytime she latched because I didn’t know about my rib yet for about two weeks.  Once I went to a few chiropractic visits (along with the kids) the situation was resolved and I was a happy breastfeeding mama again!  And I am still so blessed!

I continued nursing Sophia and then when she was about a year and a half we became pregnant with our fourth baby.  Lucky for her, she was just fine nursing through that particular time and then I had Evelyn.  She was stubborn and was the only one out of our four born in the hospital–and born via caesarean no less!  That made things difficult for Sophia during this time.  I was nursing her before nap time and bedtime and not much else.  During my time in the hospital I made it a point of nursing her when the kids came to visit and whenever I could after coming home.

The c-section was not what I would consider as the standard put out on the internet as “gentle”.  The doctor looked at our birth plan and quickly and willingly agreed to all it said.  But that is not what happened.  But that is for another post.  Once she was born I was able to see her for a few minutes.  They then cleaned her off and did all their procedures and Ken was able to go with her for her weight and so on while I was being put back together.  He was the first one who was able to do skin with skin with her.  The first time I got to nurse Evelyn was about an hour after she was born.  I still could not feel very much due to the spinal block but I was able to see that Evelyn was (and still is!) a latching super star.  She had absolutely no problems.  She seemed to already know how it all worked.  We had a bit of a crisis where I had to go back into the hospital a few days after being released due to a Tylenol overdose…I really did not know that one could overdose on that!  I won’t go into details here (also that will be another post) but I was not able to nurse Evie at that time and had to pump literally every 2 to 4 hours to build my supply.  I was in a depression that had started during the pregnancy and it was a dark time.  But I pushed through and made sure that my baby would be able to have breastmilk!

That was a bit over a year ago.  Now both Sophia and Evelyn are tandem nursing and still getting the benefits of breastmilk.  At three years and 8 months ,Sophia is the longest I have ever nursed one child before.  She doesn’t show any signs of losing interest yet.  I believe part of it is because she is not the “baby” anymore and is looking for that extra attention still.  Evelyn crossed the one year mark almost a month ago.

I am not sure when we will wean Sophia…Every year Ken and I discuss the matter and so far have decided the benefits outweigh the possible problems associated with prolonged breastfeeding.  (Although, on another note, I believe those “problems” are more the mother’s than the child’s…but that is also another post for another day!  Whew!  I need to keep track of these side issues!)

So, I will leave a link here soon to a post about my most recent experiences with my last pregnancy and birth.  Happy breastfeeding!!!