Elise Wiley, Lunenburg, Massachusetts
When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I felt was shock. Not shock in the way of surprise (I had a feeling before I even took the test that I would be seeing those two confirming lines), but more a shock of reality. It was happening; baby number two was on the way.
My husband and I were planning to have a second child, but we weren’t thinking about even starting that conversation for another year, after baby number one was more independent and weaned. I never thought I would have to consider, and research, what it would mean to be pregnant while still breastfeeding my toddler.
After some initial reading, my feelings of shock turned into dread. I read story after story of mothers being unable to produce milk once the second trimester hit, or having painful latch experiences throughout pregnancy. I already felt guilty knowing that my energy levels would be dropping, and I would be couch ridden with bouts of morning sickness. I knew I wouldn’t be able to be the “active” mommy I had been for my toddler while trying to navigate this second pregnancy.
Now I was preparing myself to be unable to nurse. There was a lot of guilt and a lot of anxiety. I spent several nights crying to my husband that the last thing I wanted was to force our child to wean before they were ready. We had so many sweet routines surrounding time at the breast – mostly story time – and I was mourning the loss before any change had actually taken place.
I’m now nearing my due date for baby number two and I’m happy to report that many of my fears turned out to be unfounded. Baby number one happily nursed throughout the entire pregnancy. We started offering him milk during story time in case what I was producing turned out not to be enough, and he’s been happy to go back and forth from cup to breast during our routines.
I had a month or so of semi painful latch, but I actually think that had more to do with weird latch positioning than the pregnancy. It was nothing like I had expected from the stories I’d read, or conversations that I’d had with other women who nursed while pregnant.
Just like babies, every pregnancy and nursing journey is different. I would have saved myself a lot of stress in preparing for this chapter had I relaxed into whatever came my way.
The whole experience has given me some perspective on our next challenge—tandem nursing. I’ve started to have the same anxieties about rocking my firstborn’s routine to make space for baby number two, and I keep reminding myself that we’ve met and overcome every challenge so far in our own way, and we’ll do the same with this next one!