We got pregnant with our second baby shortly after our first baby, Evangeline, turned 1. I could tell very early in my pregnancy with #2 that things were going to be very different this time around. There was no time for morning sickness or exhaustion; I had a busy toddler to follow around. There were often days, even in my third trimester, where I would forget I was pregnant simply because Evangeline demanded so much of my time and energy. I love my daughter more than words can say, but she’s been high maintenance since she arrived. Meeting her most basic need of nourishment became one of the biggest trials of my life.
Breastfeeding was not something she did easily and it took 3 long months of both of us working very hard for her to get the hang of it. Needless to say, I was nervous about having a new baby. How could I manage potential breastfeeding struggles with a toddler to run after? I knew I was more comfortable with breastfeeding, and that would certainly make things easier, but I firmly believe no amount of experience on my end could have helped Evangeline nurse better, and it worried me that I might end up with a second baby who just didn’t get it.
Uriah’s birth was wonderful, and after holding him skin-to-skin for a while, I decided I was ready to try breastfeeding him for the first time. Since I had been nursing Evangeline for almost two years, I was relaxed and ready to nurse. I prepared to wince, remembering how painful it was to breastfeed my first baby, and to my surprise, it didn’t hurt. In fact, it felt natural. He knew exactly what to do. I looked down to examine his latch, and it looked beautiful. We were nursing! My husband asked how it felt, and I told him, “It feels like what breastfeeding should feel like.” Was it my experience that got us off to a better start, or did Uriah just know what he was doing? I tend to think it was the latter.
So far, it seems as though our breastfeeding experiences illustrate my two babies’ personalities. Evangeline is high-maintenance, and she’s got attitude for days, while Uriah has been much more relaxed and content. I’m so grateful for the order in which I received my children. I was given a needy baby when I had no one else who depended on me. I was able to dedicate almost all of my time and energy to taking care of this challenging baby, and once she got older and more independent, I was given a baby who was a little bit more willing to “roll with the punches,” and take a back seat if necessary. Having two children under 2 years old has been an adjustment. I miss my alone-time with my little girl, and I’m sad at times that Uriah will never know what it’s like to have mommy all to himself, but I know that we’ll all learn valuable lessons from this: how to wait, how to love each other, how to share. These moments with my two sweet babies will go by quickly, but as I’ve seen from watching Evangeline grow up for the last two years, it will just keep getting better as the years go by.
To read Colleen's first breastfeeding experience, which was full of challenges, click here.