I will be referring to myself as Mother Hen. The other girls have given me this nickname since I am a generous six years older than them.... thus pretty much ancient. For fun sake my husband will be referred to as "Rooster" and my first born will be "Chicken Little" or "CL" for short. I am expecting my second child, "Hatchling" or "Hatch" in mid-October, gender will be a surprise. EDIT: I had my baby girl on October 12th 2010 and have ended up calling her Chicklet instead as it's just cuter that way.
My breastfeeding journey began around 10:45pm September 5th 2008. I always knew I would breastfeed should I ever have children, and now the hour was upon me. I brought my tiny newborn son to my left breast and he latched on like a champ. I remember thinking how silly I had been to worry that this would be difficult. I remember the hardest part being trying to get him OFF of the nipple. We had to buzz the nurses several times when I was just exhausted/sore and he had been sucking away for much longer than the recommended "20 minutes per boob every 2 hours" I had been instructed to do.
Through the night I learned that there are challenges in breastfeeding and that doing research as well as having a support system are far from silly. After that initial time on the left breast, he would not touch lefty for about two days. I cried to nurses, doctors, my husband, and anyone that would listen that I was terrified to be a single-boob mom. Whenever I brought CL to my left breast he would arch his back as if there was something revoltingly wrong with it. All the professionals just laughed off my concerns and told me in a few weeks I wouldn't even remember all this "fuss." No one offered to send in a lactation consultant. No one offered me any tips or tricks. I was alone and completely freaking out. I pictured myself needing to supplement with formula and having lopsided boobs. I've known women who were only able to breastfeed with one boob, and hats off to them - but I definitely wanted use of both boobs since I had planned on nursing for a very long time.
Upon discharge from the hospital I let out one last plea to the nurse that came to go through the paperwork with us. She actually offered up some help! She asked if I had tried squeezing my boob to change the shape of the nipple. I did this, and CL went to town for 45 minutes. I couldn't believe how easy it was, and I was extra mad that no one else had bothered to give me such simple advice. I guess when all else fails... squeeze yer boobs! CL has always favored the right side, but I am very happy to have not been a single-boob mom.
Engorgement was ferocious for me and honestly I would have rather gone through labor again. I think part of why it was so bad is that my son was only 5 pounds 10.2 ounces at birth and the hospital had threatened to supplement with formula if he lost more than 5 ounces while at the hospital. I ignored their "every two hours" rule and probably had him on my boobs 90% of the time. He only lost 3 ounces. I win!!
I've had a pretty easy breastfeeding life after that first rough patch. Never any infections or issues (knock on wood). The most difficult part may have been learning how to breastfeed a "triangle" as CL was born with clubbed feet and needed to wear special braces on his legs 24/7 for 9 months, and then just overnights after that. The braces kept his legs far apart, so it was a little bit like holding a small guitar or something. We managed with pillows and plenty of extra back massages from the Rooster.
When my son was around 17 months old I sustained a serious injury, discovered I was pregnant, and needed to be hospitalized for about two days. I was given L3 level medications that I was not comfortable nursing my child with, so I did a few days of pumping and dumping. This period took a huge toll on our nursing relationship. We went from about four times a day down to just once a day. And my son's personality altered to being dependent on thumb sucking for comfort. It really broke my heart! Whenever he is stressed or upset he lays on the ground and sucks his thumb. Initially I tried to offer him a boob, but once the milk dried up due to pregnancy hormone changes he rarely took it for comfort.
Fast forward to CL being 24 months and 6 days old - I am still nursing CL once a day before nap time and occasionally for boo boos. It was my plan to make it to just two years, but with baby number two on the way in about a month I am really thinking that CL will be able to do me the hugest favor in the world by helping me through engorgement again. So, tandem nursing here I come! I'm not sure how long I will nurse both children. That's kind of more up to CL in my opinion. I feel like he got a little robbed out of his last six months of nursing, so at this point it is anything goes.