Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breastfeeding. The second time around. With a Toddler.

I've actually had a couple people ask me to write a post on how to wrangle the toddler while breastfeeding a baby, and somehow {although it did start out in draft}, I never got the words out further than one sentence. That sentence being, breastfeeding with a toddler. Let me clarify here, breastfeeding a newborn with a toddler running around. I was first asked this question when Graham was just a teeny tiny baby, and then again a couple of days ago on instagram when I posted a picture at the pool with the little ones. For four hours. Which of course, naturally, included 2 nursing sessions. Should I also talk about breastfeeding in public during this post? Yes? Why not. And maybe about how I almost had a scare with my supply? Yes? Okay then.

I might as well just lay it all out there. Since I know not everyone wants to read about my boobs and milk coming out of them. So if I'm going to talk about it, then get it over with and do it all in one place.

What should I cover first? Or should I just go with the flow and talk about my breastfeeding journey...

Lets see where this takes me.

When I became pregnant with Graham, I knew there were many things that I was going to do that were similar with what I did with Elliana. Sleeping arrangements, breastfeeding {atleast up to a year, like I did with E}, baby food making, teaching, and so forth. And although there are many things that I have also done differently {a post for the future}, one thing has been pretty much the same... my breastfeeding journey.

So much so, that it brought back so many memories of my first time around. In much detail.

Fast forward to Graham being born. He latched on. Right away. And nursed during the hospital stay no problem. My milk came in on day 2, and I was one happy mama. He gained weight perfectly, and by week 2 he had way surpassed his birth weight. I believe by a pound or so.

It hurt for about a week and a half, and I remember around day 9 things just all of a sudden felt normal. Just like they did with Elliana.

Another thing that was just with E? The right side always produced more than the left. Double the amount. And still does to this day.

Supply wise? I always over-produced. In the beginning, both my babies would choke every time they would feed and could never empty out. In fact they would only eat on one side during a feeding. And another interesting part about my breastfeeding journey, is that it would only take 5-10 minutes to feed. Pumping only takes about 5 minutes.
As far as pumping goes, during maternity leave I would pump every morning and sometimes at night. I could pump more, but my stash was already getting too big that the 3 month rule would leave me with old milk. At work, I try to pump at least 2 times, sometimes 3 if we are slower than normal.

Numbers wise, I could pump about 5-6 ounces every 2-3 hours.

Now. About those scares that I memtioned earlier. It has happened during both breastfeeding journeys and both times I panicked. Both times I had to leave the state. Both times for two days. E was 7 months at the time. G was 5. Both wedding related {eh, one wedding, one bachelorette party}. I pumped every 3 hours, and did not notice a drop until the very end. It's like my breasts just knew that I was trying to trick my demand. So it dropped. And I came home and could only pump 2-3 ounces every 4 hours or so. But, after a couple of days, and lots of time with the babies on the breast, they build my supply right up! Now, I'm back to where I was before.

Breastfeeding In Public?

Much different than the fist. Because well, I've actually done it a few times. At a live show. At a restaurant. At the pool. Zoo. Children's museum. Wherever I need to, I do. Covered, of course, but my head held up high. Not worrying one bit about what other people are thinking. Funny, because the first time around? I would only feed in the car.

Okay, lastly, the reason I even started writing this post: Breastfeeding with a toddler running around. Obviously I never dealt with this the first time around, as E was just my only one, however I have to admit and say it was not something I thought too much about while pregnant with G. During the coming weeks of Graham's arrival, we had focused a lot with E on listening. A lot of talking about the baby and feedings and diaper changes. Listening charts. Listening treats. And so forth. And when Graham arrived, we continued with this journey while on maternity leave.

What did I do?

Well for one, I always tried to make sure that before I started feeding, E had a new activity to start to work on and another one nearby that I could divert her attention to if she were to get bored with the first. That way she was always exposed to what I was doing and understood {to the best of a 2 year old's ability} the importance of what mama was doing and her staying close by. Honestly, she really never has a desire to leave her playroom anyway unless she were to go to the bathroom or kitchen briefly.

Two, I would simply try to talk to E during the feeds. Talking about the day. Talking about the blocks she was building. Singing songs. And any other way I could engage with her during the process. It helped to kill off time and make this seem as "normal" to her as possible.

Lastly, she has never been one to really get into stuff. Anymore at least.  She doesn't go through the cabinets, drawers, climb on tables, refrigerators, or anything else that would get me to jump out of the chair with a baby attached and go running.

However, I have plenty of times done just that. Minus the running. When a toddler needs something... sometimes... just sometimes... they NEED it. Not to mention, we did the whole potty training gig while G was a newborn. So I would be nursing and trying to get undies off all at the same time.

I guess my only advice to any new mom with a toddler running around is to just engage, interact, and keep them busy! They truly "get it" more than we give them credit for. I know... not much for tips, but hey, it's all I have!

Overall, both my breastfeeding journeys have been nothing but wonderful experiences and I know that I have been very lucky to have such a smooth road with the two of them {with one not even close to being done}. I have loved every part of breastfeeding, truly, and it's something I will miss when my babies are older.

One of many, many things.

I hope I have answered any BF questions you may have had in mind, if not, feel free to ask away! I am pretty much an open book when it comes to this subject.


  1. Oh, please don't throw away breastmilk! There are so many moms that either adopted or have medical reasons they can't BF their babies or just had problems with it that would love to give your excess milk to their babies. I have donated to three different moms through the Human Milk 4 Human Babies network. (There are Facebook pages for each state.). And Eats on Feets is another sharing facilitator. It's liquid gold, don't throw it away!! :-)

  2. Yes yes yes yes ^

    With a supply like that, I hope you have the opportunity (aka, MAKE the opportunity) to donate, especially since you are in the helping profession! :o)

    Love this post - thanks for sharing! We have a 16 month old & are TTC - so this will definitely come in handy (hopefully)!

  3. Love this post! Im so worried about BF for the first time in a couple weeks and hoping I get lucky like you with supply! I am also planning on holding my head up high and BFing in public when needed. I hate that people can be so rude when you are doing something so amazing/beneficial for your baby. Idiots.

  4. Your supply sounds like mine. I way overproduced in the beginning like 10-12 ounces extra after a feed. My fault though because she would nurse and I was worried I wasnt making enough so I would pump. Needless to say I didnt have too. She also still only nurses one side at a time (13 months old). I am glad both of your nursing journeys have been blessings. Did you wean Elliana or did she self wean??

  5. I'm so jealous! I've never had good supply and although I've been so blessed to breastfeed all my babies, I have to really fight for it. I'm trying to do an overnight run this weekend and I've been pumping for weeks with only 6 ounces to leave! I only make as much as Owen needs and no more. But I guess as long as he's good and plump I can't complain. Even if I'm running with a jogger. :-)

  6. LOVE this Becky! Everything you wrote sounds JUST like me the first time around. We are a few years away from Baby #2 but I seriously look forward to nursing him/her as long as I nursed Isabel. I also had to pump and went away for work for 2 nights... Pumping was only fun while on maternity leave, at least for me. But nursing? I just LOVED it! It is one of the best gifts we can give our babies!

  7. Love this post! I was unsuccessful at BF'ing my 2nd and it still makes me sad to this day (she was preemie and it just never worked) I did however exclusivley pump for her and also have a toddler so I still had to find plenty to keep him busy while I pumped, then bottle fed. You are doing a great job with your littles!

  8. Great post! I'm going to keep all of this in mine for my 2nd go around! I've heard it can be a blessing and a curse to have an over supply. I had a fairly normal supply but also had a supply scare when I returned to work and could only pump ONCE in 8 hours! I actually decided to take a leave and stay home this year and my supply came back after I stopped working. It can be so stressful though!

  9. I am so much more relaxed breast feeding in public this time around too.

  10. It makes me feel better that you produce more milk on one side than the other, because I was like that too! I only have a few mom friends and they looked at me like I was crazy when I asked them if they had that too!

  11. I'm a little jealous of your supply and fast pump time! I make about 3-3.5 oz every 3 hours-exactly what my little one takes, but I'm thankful that I'm able to keep up. It was a little harder with my first and I had a drop in supply around 9 mos and had to use an SNS.

    I'm so much more relaxed about nursing in public this time around. I still cover up, but I could care less about where I do it. And, this time I usually prefer a muslin blanket to a real cover. The biggest toddler complication? My 3 year old always wants to rip my cover off so he can give his baby brother a kiss. he can't figure out why I nurse him under a blanket in public. The baby doesn't particularly care for the blanket either. I've gotten so that I'll drape the blanket over my breast and the baby's mouth and leave the rest of his body out. I NEVER would have done that before, but I actually think it looks less obvious sometimes than nursing with a cover-like I'm just cradling him.

    I'm also much more comfortable roaming the house with him latched out-no boppy required this time around.

    Just curious about the 3 month rule. Everywhere I've read-kellymom.com and LLL says 6 months in the freezer-12 mos if you have a deep freeze.

  12. Becky... You pretty much summed up my breast feeding journey to a T except the pumping part, which I don't do. With all three of mine (1 currently nursing) I've produced a lot of milk and my babies only nurse(d) for 5-10 minutes each side. My right side produces more and I stay lopsided! ;) I was more fearful of public feeding with my first two, but now I've done it many times and I feel just fine! My Eli and Emma nursed for 18 months and I plan on doing the same with my Abe. :) I truly enjoy breast feeding and I couldn't imagine any other way! So glad that you are, too! :)

  13. How amazing and THANK YOU for posting this! What a supply you have :) I did not have that such luck with my first and am hoping when the next one comes around (trying!) I have better luck. My pumping for 15 min wouldn't give me more than 1 oz. Any tips on your diet (what you eat, drink, do differently) while BF? Just curious. Thanks again!


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