Contrary to what you might think, it is not just first time moms looking for breastfeeding support. Moms with their second, third and even fourth baby are seeking support for their breastfeeding journeys. This is because no two breastfeeders are alike!
Our first daughter was our gentle giant. At 9lbs 14oz, her appetite was rearing to go and I had to produce. Once my milk was flowing (at Day 7 I might add), we slowly got into the breastfeeding groove. Breastfeeding tired me out. I felt physically and emotionally exhausted much of the time, mostly due to trauma experienced during the birth. Even though I was disappointed with my birth experience, as it was nothing like I had planned, I felt successful at breastfeeding and no state of exhaustion was going to rob me of it.
Our big round baby was so gentle and she still is. As she got older, she eventually began to play with my hair while she fed, twirling it between her fingers, without pulling. More often than not, she would relax me and put me to sleep as I put her to sleep; no doubt increasing my let-down reflex with her relaxation techniques. The oxytocin hormone produced while relaxing and breastfeeding also helped heal my anxiety without a doubt!
Our second daughter was a mover and a shaker from the womb onwards. I think she would have cartwheeled out of me if she could. She was a confident breastfeeder from the start, even with her undiagnosed tongue tie. Or was mommy feeling more confident the second time around? As a quick witted, resourceful little baby, she soon became very possessive of her ‘susu’ and was an expert ‘twiddler’. I didn’t know what to call it at first until I looked it up myself. Instead of my hair, this little one ‘twiddled’ on the opposite side than she was using. She ‘twiddled’ her way through 2 plus years of breastfeeding. What I soon realized by all her gesturing, is that she was consistently increasing her intake. Like I said, resourceful!
Challenges, disappointment and even successes with a past breastfeeding experience does not determine the success of the next. Anxiety and recurring thoughts of past traumas whilst going into a new breastfeeding experience can have challenging consequences. Similar to a traumatic birth, it is important to stay focused and in the moment for the subsequent experience. And remember, the hard work put into building up a supply certainly pays off with the next child. Your new baby has no idea what happened in the past with your previous child and may get the hang of it quicker than you might expect, if given the opportunity.
Even though my breastfeeding journeys were both beautiful and brought me great joy, these experiences were so different, as different as the individuals themselves!