Nancy: Third Time's a Charm
Nancy Johnson Horn lives in New York City with her husband, son Benjamin (born in 2005), daughter Allegra (born in late 2007) and newborn son Skylar (born in August 2010). After struggling with breastfeeding her first two children, she is optimistic about a more successful experience with her third.
My heart is heavy as I write my last Breastfeeding Diaries post. I have loved chronicling my breastfeeding journey with my now 6-½ month old son. It's been so cathartic to write about my previous breastfeeding attempts with my older children and my highs and lows with my newest child. I have changed as a person due to it -- I've learned to trust my body and know my success could possibly inspire another mother who may have had a rocky time breastfeeding their first (and subsequent) children.9:00am on Friday April 8
Breastfeeding continues to go well, even as we hit the 6 ½ months mark. But our nursing sessions have changed a little.
Over the last 6 ½ months, I’ve gotten used to (and loved) the long, lingering sessions with my little nursling, supported on my nursing pillow, as we cuddle in our recliner. His blue eyes shut tightly, and his mouth latched on. I stroke Skylar’s bright red hair as he dines. I love seeing that little hand grabbing for my nursing pendant as as he nurses. While we still have a lot of these types of sessions, other times during the day, he’s more alert and keeps his eyes open. These nursing sessions are shorter. I’m not sure if it’s too much stimulation around him or that he’s changing. Evolving.
He’s not a newborn or infant anymore, but turning into an older baby. He’s going to sit up soon and start crawling. It makes me wonder, while he may be ready to nurse less, am I ready for that? Since this is the first child of mine that is doing so well nursing, I hate the thought of stopping. I know things are going to come up, like teething and solids — which we started a month ago.
So far, solids have not been a big hit. I try to give him pureed veggies or fruit for dinner, he isn’t really ‘getting it” yet. Sometimes he’ll eat a little, sometimes he won’t eat any of it. It hasn’t impacted how many times a day he’ll nurse or taken a feeding away.
We’re still co-sleeping, but my husband wants Skylar to go into his own room in a couple of months. I’m hesitant, because it’s just so much easier to nurse at night when the baby is in the co-sleeper next to me – and I like my baby boy near me. But, things are going to have to evolve, right?
Skylar and I had been doing really well until last week when my right nipple got sore and eventually cracked. My first thought was that it was a latch problem. I tried to adjust positioning - but no matter what I did, the nipple kept getting worse. I started thinking it was something else (sometimes googling things at 11 pm is so not a good idea). My usual go-to remedies of a natural nipple cream and the gel pad didn't' help. I was really worried that this would derail my milk supply, so I started pumping and nursing as much as possible.12:00pm on Friday March 25
Baby Skylar and I have met our 6 month nursing goal. You have no idea how happy I am. My new goal is to continue as long as we can.12:00pm on Friday March 18
6:55 am We are usually nursing by the time my husband's alarm goes off. It's pretty rare that Skylar will sleep after that – maybe for 10 minutes if I'm lucky. I need to get Ben, my 5-year-old up and out the door in the next 25 minutes. If Skylar's awake and fussing, I change him and let him hang out in the swing while I give Ben his clothes to change into and make breakfast for him and my 3-year-old daughter Allegra (who's wandered out into the hallway a few minutes later). While Ben starts eating, I change Allegra and get her dressed. Breakfast gets eaten and Ben leaves by 7:20, when my husband takes him downstairs to the bus. I try to get a little pumping in.12:00pm on Friday March 11
I consider myself very lucky that I work out of my house – I can nurse Skylar on demand, as we are usually together 98% of the time. But I have to spend some time away from him soon, as I'll be going to a trade show and no children – not even babies – are allowed.12:00pm on Friday March 4
Right after Skylar recovered from his first cold and my 5 year old and my 3 year old had their colds, both my husband and I both finally got our colds. We both had coughs and nasal congestion. While my husband downed Nyquil without a second thought, I needed to research what I could take. I didn't want to take anything that would hurt Skylar or lower my milk supply. For example, I knew that pseudoephedrine will dry up your milk just as it dries up your mucus so I would obviously avoid that.
Going online, I was able to find names of over-the-counter drugs that were supposed to be safer for breastfeeding and took the list over to a local pharmacy for official confirmation. I'm so glad I did because the pharmacist didn't agree that the drugs on my list were compatible with breastfeeding and advised me not to take any of them. I ended up just taking good old acetaminophen for my various aches and the natural remedy of honey for my cough. I didn't use the saline nasal spray that I bought to loosen my congestion because luckily it cleared up quickly. In the future, I would also consider using a neti pot for nasal irrigation which is an ancient Ayurvedic method of using saline water to flush your sinuses. I'm told it sounds weirder than it is.
A day or so later, I noted that my milk supply was down. I was confused as well as annoyed because I nursed constantly while Skylar was sick and then while I was feeling lousy. I didn't want my supply to go down, I've worked too hard for this!
To get my supply back up, I started drinking my nursing tea, pumped and took fenugreek supplements again. Luckily, my supply went back to its normal level the next afternoon. I wasn't sure what happened as I still had nursed as much as usual. I turned to a friend who is a lactation counselor for advice who suggested that I probably hadn't been drinking as many fluids as I usually do, which makes sense. She also recommended power pumping which is pumping for ten minutes on and off for an hour once a day for a few days or a week.
Since then I have been trying to drink more water and trying to pump and nurse as much as possible. I'm also starting to bank some milk for when I'll be attending a convention in a month and will have to spend some time away from my little man.12:00pm on Friday February 18
I'm not going to beat around the bush: after having three kids in five years, my romantic life with my husband has definitely suffered.
We used to look at each other all starry-eyed but once our first child was born in the fall of 2005, things were definitely not the same. We were exhausted most of the time, I had nursing issues, and it didn't help that my libido was practically non-existent, plus I had a medical complication that made things difficult for a many, many months afterwards.9:47am on Tuesday February 15
Despite my efforts to keep him separated from his brother and sister who had colds, Skylar had his first cold this week at 4½-months-old. As far as colds go it wasn't too bad for my two older children (fever only one day plus a lingering cough and runny nose), it was scary with Skylar – who had a fever, cough and congestion.12:00pm on Friday February 11
My husband asked me tonight, "How long are you going to keep nursing?" He said it matter of factly, genuinely curious. When I've been asked this before, I'm usually vague, answering, "as long as the baby wants to." My real answer is that I want to nurse for a year, at least.12:00pm on Friday February 4
There's a new reality TV show about object obsessions and though my obsession is not as weird or harmful to my health as the addictions on the show (like sleeping with a hair dryer or eating laundry detergent – yes, really), it's presenting somewhat of a challenge.12:00pm on Friday January 28
My top New Year's breastfeeding resolution is to nurse my baby at least a year and even longer if that's what he wants. Skylar is about to hit 5-months-old and I think we can easily make seven more months. I started out with a goal of six months, but since we're almost there, it's time for the next goal of six more. After that, I'm prepared to go on, if that's what Skylar wants!12:00pm on Friday January 21
A large part of my breastfeeding success has been due to support from my online peers. Specifically, I feel I get the most direct support from Twitter. I like that it's a little more anonymous: I can ask questions or tweet about problems or issues we're having. And occasionally I can even tweet that Skylar and I are having a really good day.12:00pm on Friday January 14
Last week, Skylar turned three months old and can now roll over from his back to his stomach, which my other children NEVER did that early. That means bed-sharing is scarier, because he can roll over. When he sleeps, that is. He spends practically all night nursing in bed.1:00pm on Friday January 7
Both my mother and mother-in-law have been very supportive of my decision to breastfeed. I consider myself lucky that these two incredible women are on my side.
It's unbelievable how much things have changed, now that people know the myriad benefits of breastfeeding and there are many more outlets of support but sadly my mother and mother-in-law's mother did not receive that support that I am now so fortunate to have.3:23pm on Friday December 24
When Sklyar was 6 weeks old – in mid-September, things got much better nursing-wise. All the work I was doing, nursing whenever Skylar wanted, pumping two, three, sometimes four times a day, taking herbal supplements, staying away from caffeine, etc.was paying off and I was making a lot more milk. It tickled me pink when I would hear him sucking and swallowing at my breast and see him go into little milk comas. He stopped screaming so much after nursing and actually seemed satisfied (most of the time). The supplementing I had been doing went from two 3-ounce bottles a day down to one (and that was only if I didn't have time to pump).1:31pm on Friday December 17
We hit a big milestone this week -- Skylar turned 3 months old. We've had highs and lows and I am so glad that I am breastfeeding this child. While everything is so much better, we had another issue pop up this week. I was floored when Skylar had a very short-lived, yet stressful, nursing strike.11:56am on Friday December 10
This year, besides being very thankful for my family, I am very thankful for being able to nurse my baby boy.10:56am on Friday December 3
While nursing keeps getting better and better, we've still got a way to go. The witching hour and the evening up to around 11 pm – 12 am is still an issue. I feel like I'm distracted between dinner and bedtime rituals and then my supply dips. Our witching hour seems to start around 5 or 5:30. So it's tough to make dinner for my two older kids, then make dinner for my husband and I, and then clean up. While that's going on, the baby is super fussy and crying. If I can time it right, I can get in a nursing session around that time. Either way, I can't wait until my husband gets home for work so he can help. But we 'd end up bickering during fussy time, with my husband thinking that the baby was hungry and me insisting he was just fussy.11:57am on Friday November 19
After my first child as born, it was hard for me to breastfeed around my family during large family gatherings and holidays, mainly because I had such problems nursing him and such low confidence in what/how I was doing with it. I also have large boobs too, which I didn't really like having on display.4:39pm on Friday November 5
After Skylar's Bris and my c-section incision started healing, things started calming down at home. My husband went back to work and Ben hadn't started kindergarten yet. So I had over a week of all three kids being home with me. My in-laws and mom tried to come over as much as they could to take the kids out. I wasn't healed enough to take all three kids to the park and Sklyar and I just didn't have our rhythm down yet. I was still sore and really just wanted to concentrate on finding that rhythm.1:46pm on Friday October 29
My third child, Skylar Reese, was born on Thursday, August 12. My red-headed, blue eyed boy was born via c-section and I only got to see him for a few minutes before I went into recovery. An hour or so after I was moved into a room, I finally got to bond with him. I put him on my breast as soon as possible and tried to get him to latch on. I wasn't surprised when it took him a while – I had been expecting that. I knew I had some colostrum and I wanted to started on our breastfeeding journey as soon as possible – knowing that we would have some bumps in the road.12:00pm on Monday October 18
I'm what they call a first generation breastfeeder. My mom breastfed me for six weeks. It was the early 1970s and due to financial pressures, she had to go back to work and didn't have access to a breast pump.
I always intended to breastfeed my children and when I was pregnant with my first child, Benjamin, in 2005, my mother was very supportive of my decision to breastfeed. Luckily, I was fortunate enough be able to stay home with him. I knew that breastfeeding was the best thing I could do for my child... but things didn't work out as I planned.10:56am on Friday October 15