i love nursing my babies. with henry, it came quite easily. no latch issues, no supply issues, just a baby that latched on in the delivery room and dubbed me the nickname “the natural” with the nurses. with ezra, it wasn’t so easy. in the hospital, he latched on easily but would unlatch and scream. when we got home, he started losing weight and i deduced that i had an overactive letdown. with the use of a nipple shield, ezra started nursing like a champ and gaining weight again (he lost a lot that first week). we weaned off the shield in a little over two weeks, and he never had any issues after that.
i desperately wanted to get pregnant without weaning ezra. i wasn’t going to wean ezra just so i could have another baby. he is a baby, and self-weaning was always my plan for him. even after months of trying with no success, i couldn’t bring myself to wean him. i am so very glad i didn’t.
we conceived baby #3 when ezra was 23 months old. i found out right before ezra’s second birthday that i was pregnant. i wrote a post all about it. my heart overflowed with thanks and love and excitement at the idea of this new baby, but i was just as excited that i’d get to try tandem nursing. see, i’ve always seen tandem nursing as such a beautiful way to introduce the older baby to the younger one. a way for them to bond, in the comfort of mama’s arms, sharing the milk they both are so very fond of. i have a few friends that are currently tandem nursing and seeing their pictures just melts me. i think it’s a stellar way to get two babies comfortable with one another, to show the older nursling that he isn’t lost in the shuffle or removed from his place in mama’s life.
now, i’m well-aware of the fact that many women aren’t able to nurse through their pregnancy, that the nursling weans somewhere along the line for one reason or another. pain while nursing and pregnant is NO JOKE. i had pain initially, but it faded pretty quickly. i’m 16 weeks today, and in the last week or so, the pain upon ezra latching has become pretty bad. but it’s nothing that i can’t handle, and he’s still enjoying nursing so i’m okay with holding my breath for a second so he can latch on. i don’t have much milk left, but there’s still something in there because i can still manually express milk. i’m thinking that whatever is there is minimal, because the sensations i’m feeling lately while nursing him are akin to those i’ve heard that accompany “dry nursing,” or nursing when no milk is present (so basically just nursing to pacify). we didn’t give ezra a pacifier, while we had them in the house, he didn’t take to them and we had gone through such a journey with henry and his binky, we decided to forgo the binky altogether with ezra. i’m so thankful for that decision now, because i truly believe it will aid in my goal of getting to tandem nurse. ezra pacifies by nursing, not by using a binky, so even if the milk is gone he still nurses to pacify and that means he’ll likely keep nursing regardless of my supply evaporating.
i’m happy to say that nursing while pregnant hasn’t been too bad at all for us. ezra actually increased his nursing at the beginning of my pregnancy, and now he’s nursing as much as he ever has. he still nursing to sleep at night, and on the rare occasion he naps (both my boys stopped napping altogether at two, so that was awesome). he still nurses throughout the night, several times, though not for long each time. ezra nurses during the day whenever he feels like it, and i love when he does because he crawls into my lap and positions himself like he would nurse as an infant.
my suggestion to mothers that are nursing and want to get pregnant, and want to continue nursing through the pregnancy is to do it. try it out. it may not work for you, but it may not be that bad. every situation and nursing relationship is intimate and the details particular to that duo. i will say that there’s no reason to force weaning if it’s not in your heart. i desperately wanted another baby, but i also wanted ezra to nurse until he felt he was done. i had to wait, and wait i did. it took me so much longer to conceive this sweet soul than it did with both boys, but i can now say on the other side of my struggle to conceive while nursing, that it was well worth it. if i had weaned ezra and still had not been able to conceive, i would’ve been devastated. truly. so although my dreams didn’t become reality in the time frame that i desired, they came to fruition in the most beautiful way and i’m so grateful for that. who knows? if i would’ve conceived earlier, maybe ezra would have weaned. the younger a baby is when you conceive, the more likely it is that baby will wean.
all things in good time. everything happens for a reason. all those cliches are true, as much as i hate to admit it.