How I Nursed My Two Closely Placed Babies
After hours of labor, an innocent high pitched shrieking sound was my girl’s first reaction to the world. When the wriggly tiny mass of delicate bones, red skin, tiny tightly shut eyes, and clenched fists was handed to me by the nurse, I was overwhelmed with joy and all I wanted was to breastfeed her. For this is the one thing that I had always wanted to offer to my baby, nourishment. I had promised myself that the least I could offer her was a minimum of 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.
Fast forward and hours turned to days and later weeks, it was time for my girl’s first routine clinic checkup. This was just 6 weeks after her much-awaited arrival. As is mandatory to have both the mother’s and child’s health checked, I settled in for a quick medical scan and was done in no time. To better plan for my next child I wanted to get a contraceptive plan, but first another pregnancy test.
To my utter shock, I was pregnant again with a second child, this was a little over a month (6 weeks to be precise) after my first delivery. To cut a long story short, 9 months later I welcomed my second-born baby boy weighing 7lbs. By then, I had not weaned my first baby girl. And boy ooh ooh boy, it was no walk in the park. With the first being 10 months and a week old, and exclusively on breastmilk, and another barely days old, I almost ran mad. The myriad of challenges I went through almost made me wean both at the same.
Below is a quick rundown of some of the breastfeeding challenges I encountered and how I dealt with them.
Low milk supply
On many occasions, I almost ran dry and could not produce enough for the two babies. My fears were confirmed when I took them both for a checkup and the second born had gained less than half her birth weight. The firstborn, who till then was strictly on breast milk recorded a decline for the first time months after her birth.
To better feed them both, I opted to reduce the feeding frequency for the firstborn and instead supplement it with baby solid foods. For the second-born, whenever I felt that I had enough and he wasn’t up to feed, I could pump the milk and store it for her to feed on when she woke.
I took lots of fruits and tons of other food that increase milk supply.
My yearning for the firstborn was always to have her latch right. I struggled to have her get to hold the nipple and suckle for the first week. But come the second born, I could almost not stand to be suckled. With each latch came nipple irritation that almost had me screaming in pain.
As the pain worsened, I reached out to my doctor who told me that it was pretty normal, but that I should still have them checked out the soonest possible. The check came up with nothing and the advice I got was, persevere. Persevere I did and with time, the pain kind of subsided just by itself.
Milk ejection reflex
Milk ejection reflex is a state in which milk forcefully spurts out when you take out your breast to nurse your child. And this was particularly common with my first child. You see, a child’s cry is kind of a milk switch for a breastfeeding mother, so every now and then my girl could let out a cry that somehow turned on all the milk wells. This could result in my breasts producing way too much that had my child gulp and almost choke whenever she fed.
To minimize the gulps that almost choked her, I chose to switch my daughter from the left to the right after every 2 to 3 minutes of nursing. Additionally, I could have her feed almost exclusively from either the left or right breast for 3 to 4 hours before switching to the other breast. It did work but at a cost, for after the time lapsed, the other breast was so full and almost painful.
Sleeping while suckling
My firstborn is quite a sleepyhead, every so often she could peacefully sleep while suckling. At first I thought it was normal but soon my breasts could become so full that I had to either pump milk and dispose of it off or wake her up for more feeding.
To better keep her suckling, I started pairing breast compressions so that she could have a mouthful always. This was through gently squeezing the breast between my thumb and fingers. Also, I could occasionally stroke her hair or chin and shake her legs whenever she started showing signs of sleeping. I could mostly pair them and it worked wonders for my child.
Spitting most of the milk
This was particularly common with my second born who, after about 4 weeks, constantly vomited or spit most of what he suckled. So frequent were the spits that I had to always have a towel at hand to clean the mess and some burp cloths ready. My worry was whether he was getting enough as I could literally see almost everything suckled spit.
My worries were unfounded as he seemed to add weight over time. But to deal with the spitting, I had him feed at intervals of one and half hours. And for each nursing or feeding, I could only let him suckle for a maximum of a minute or minute and a half, hold her up to burp before letting her suckle again.
My girl bite my breast
At around age one, while suckling, my girl could bite my nipples while breastfeeding leaving me suppressing muffled painful spasms. Previously, using her gums she could grind against them with her gums but the pain was mild.
One day while feeding, I felt her going - she kind of pulled her tongue back - for the bite, instinctively I could feel the pain even before she sank her teeth, on this day, however, as opposed to pulling her out, I pulled her in blocking her nose against my breast. It somehow stopped her from biting and instead willingly let go of the breast smiling. From then on, I became keen whenever I was nursing and each intent to bite was met with the same pull reaction.
Breast milk, other than being the best nourishment option for babies, has the potential to help a mother bond better with their breastfeeding one olds.. The journey however can be full of happy twists and turns that can leave you so upbeat about motherhood and so downcast in the next minute. The best you can do is take one day at a time, trying to better plan your babies, supplementing your breastfeeding with baby formulas or baby solid foods or both, and weaning toddlers soon enough especially if they are not far apart.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Avery K.
When she isn’t looking after the many needs of her 2 kids, Avery enjoys taking walks in the park, enjoying nature, and getting her daily fix of caffeine.