This week the topic is something that we all have to deal with on a daily basis and it can be a sticky subject for every parent, especially in the early months where sleep is at a premium. This week my question is: How often do you breastfeed?
I have to say, this is an area where I might get a little judgy. I know I shouldn’t, but there you are. If I’m being honest, I think the only way to go is nursing on demand. It kind of makes me cringe when the first priority for parents is to get that newborn sleeping through the night. Tiny babies aren’t really built to sleep 5+ hours at a stretch that early.
With the twins, we were overwhelmed. Two infants is a lot of work. I wanted them on a schedule and I wanted them on a schedule immediately (our schedule did not , however, include sleeping through the night).
It didn’t happen.
They never simultaneously napped, they never tandem nursed, they never slept through the night until 14 months. It was a long 14 months- ask my my husband who was home alone with them burning the midnight oil while I was at work!
But we survived. And when 14 months hit and they stopped eating every 2 hours overnight and started sleeping, they also started taking two simultaneous 2-hour naps each day. It was as if the heavens parted and angels started singing. It was unbelievable.
We only nursed for 4 months before my supply was completely gone, I have no idea what would have happened had we nursed on demand. Maybe my supply would have held on a little longer? It’s pretty doubtful. The only thing they hated more than sleeping was nursing but I will never know.
With Judah, breastfeeding was the #1 priority. He liked to nurse and we nursed all. the. time. When we were struggling with weight gain (he lost a lot and took a long time to get to his birth weight) and our pediatrician said he wanted no more than 2 hours between sessions from the beginning of one to the start of the next one I had to laugh because I think at the time we were getting maybe a 30 minute break between sessions at most.
It was tough, I won’t lie.
Being home with twin toddlers and a baby who nursed pretty much constantly was no picnic. A lot of things had to fall apart on our journey to establish a nursing relationship- namely my house and my sanity. Toddlers are like tornadoes and I would just sit in my big red chair and breath through the sounds of things hitting the floor from the next room.
But again, we survived.
Nursing on demand did make it difficult to pump when I had to go back to work. When there is less than an hour between sessions most days, there wasn’t enough milk to make it worth pumping. My stash was pretty dismal when I went back to work- pretty much whatever I pumped the day before was what was available when I left for work.
I was so happy to be able to kiss pumping goodbye when I started staying home full time. Judah was much happier nursing and I was less stressed trying to figure out how to get him milk for when I was not home. Of course I was pretty much home all the time at that point and when I wasn’t, he went with me.
Around 6 months he started dropping sessions. He was mobile and wanted nothing more than to play with his brothers. When he was 8.5 months he climbed down from my lap and walked across the room. My 24 hour a day Twitter addiction got a swift kick to the curb after that and I suddenly had plenty of time (well, more time anyways) to make sure the house was not destroyed on a daily basis.
Nursing on demand, day and night, was the best thing I could have done for my supply. Having low supply issues is no picnic. Every single day threatened to be the last day for many many months. I gave Judah everything I had, it was the best I could do for him.
Here are some resources from my very favorite Breastfeeding resource!
Where are you on this? What works best for your family?
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