Here’s our second calf of the season, born March 27th. This one is a bull calf, born to the first calf we had on our farm! Unfortunately she didn’t take to her calf very well at first and was butting him and kicking him but a switch clicked after 2 or 3 days and now she’s a great mom!
When I was pregnant for Luke, I had ever intention to breastfeed. I worried about if I’d succeed, but it was one of those things I was really set on (I didn’t have any formula in our home, purposely. We live 20 minutes from the closest store we could buy formula at. I figured by making it hard to obtain I would be less likely to give up during a breastfeeding session).
When Luke was born and we started breastfeeding it was hard. Really,really hard. I wanted to give up. I was just going to pump and bottle feed. In mentioning this to my midwife, she did everything in her power to prevent that. She made every effort to help me through the difficulties and prevent me from going down the pump/bottle road (not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s just a really really hard thing to maintain long-term). After about 6 weeks we were finally getting the hang of nursing.
The next big challenge we had occurred around the time Luke got his first teeth. With those teeth came my first bite while nursing. Lets just say that was tough! I jumped and yelped and scared the daylights out of my little baby and he refused to nurse for 3 days! I thought this was the end of our nursing but he finally went back to it.
My original goal was to breastfeed for one year. That seemed like the right amount of time before we actually got there. Once we got there, I was already about 6 weeks pregnant. I seriously considered weaning, but it just didn’t seem like the right option. I still appreciated the benefits of breastfeeding as far as Luke’s health was concerned and Luke still appreciated the comfort he got from nursing. Neither of us had any real reason to give it up…so we didn’t. Now 18 months later, 34 weeks pregnant we’re still breastfeeding.
Resources that offer information on breastfeeding during pregnancy are few and far between. I hope that sharing what we’ve been through so far is helpful to someone!
Pregnancy week 4-12:
During this time breastfeeding was virtually the same for me as it was before pregnancy. Luke was nursing 6 times a day at this point and I was still producing a good bit of milk. At 12 weeks pregnant I was in a wedding and wasn’t home to nurse Luke. I pumped that night for the missed feeding and got 7 ounces of milk (I was shocked!). At this point the nipple pain wasn’t too bad and my nausea from morning sickness was close to the same whether or not I was nursing.
Pregnancy week 13-24
My morning sickness got really bad during this time and it would intensify while breastfeeding. Between the morning sickness and the calorie demand for breastfeeding I had a really difficult time eating enough. I lost 10lbs and didn’t start gaining weight in this pregnancy until 20 weeks. I remember one night I ran and dropped Luke into Jon’s arms mid nurse so that I could hightail it to the bathroom. In addition to that the pain during nursing was really, really intense during this period. It was agonizing and I had to talk myself up for each session. During this time we cut back from 6 to 3 nursing sessions a day and I very seriously considered weaning. It was like the pain of first learning to breastfeed combined with the feeling of Luke having a mouth full of razors. I am really surprised that I didn’t wean during this time, but Luke really didn’t seem ready. I lived one nursing session at a time and often sat there thinking “if I just make it through this session, I’ll consider weaning and a technique in time for the next session” and yet I always nursed just one more time. My milk significantly decreased in amount during this timeframe too. I was probably lucky to get an ounce of milk/colostrum?
Pregnancy week 25- now at 34 weeks
During this time breastfeeding got better. It didn’t go back to normal but it’s not nearly as painful. Rather than excruciating pain throughout the whole session I just brace myself when he latches and then the pain reduces. We’re still nursing 3 times a day although Luke will now ask to “neh” (nurse) more often. I’ve never fulfilled a request to nurse outside of his normal times. My milk (which I’m pretty sure is totally colostrum at this point) has increased in volume again. It’s not nearly as much as it used to be, but I can hear Luke gulping again while nursing which indicates that he is getting more. A new side effect of nursing that started around 30 weeks is the contractions. Nursing releases similar hormones as those released during labor and as a result it can cause the uterus to contract. I’ve had some very strong contractions during nursing sessions. They don’t cause any alarm as they always stop within 15-30 minutes of a nursing session, but they can make it very difficult to lift Luke into his crib before bed!
Another side effect of nursing at this time is the laxative effect of colostrum. Colostrum is an excellent laxative to help newborn babies remove meconium from their bodies. Lets just say that it has the same effect on toddlers but it’s a lot more work when they also eat a full diet of normal food….
Our nursing future:
I have no timeframe on weaning anymore. I never thought I’d nurse a baby for this long and I’m not sure how much longer we’ll go for. I now know it isn’t worth trying to pinpoint a date. It will happen when it happens. I have full intentions to tandem nurse once the new baby arrives. I wish there were more resources available in regards to tandem nursing but it seems to be a learn as you go type process! I am thankful that my midwife has nursed through pregnancy and tandem nursed and offers a wealth of information. Please be sure to speak with your midwife/ob about breastfeeding during pregnancy. While it has been deemed safe for me to follow this path I know some woman (such as those at risk for preterm labor) may not be good candidates.
I often get asked if I’m still nursing and when I’m going to stop. My go to answer has been, “we figure he won’t nurse when he goes to college.” This tends to end the conversation pretty quickly
Mittens are such a pain when it comes to small children! We tried every brand and style and we couldn’t come up with anything that Luke would keep on his hands. Finally we have a solution though…. Daddy’s socks! Men’s tall socks are the best mittens around. If it’s really cold out just add more layers! For Luke we usually layer two pairs on Jon’s work socks. The key is to put them on under the jacket and they are virtually impossible for him to pull off. We stretch the socks all the way past his elbow. Such a cheap and simple solution to a constant problem. Now if I could just find something to keep his shoes on in the car…
I get this way at the end of every season, I just can’t wait for the next one to arrive. Winter is the hardest though. It makes everything a whole lot harder and it always seems to be the longest season of all. I know in theory that spring will come, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when it’s about 5 degrees, the hose is frozen, the wind is whipping and I have to take my gloves off to mess around with the water hydrant and my numb fingers are sticking to the metal and soaked!!
I’m just a bit over 32 weeks pregnant (although this picture is from about 29 weeks)! This pregnancy is pretty similar to Luke’s in the way I am carrying and the symptoms that I’m feeling. Generally I feel pretty decent at this point but I do have some pretty uncomfortable moments. I’m getting a bit of morning sickness back (I had morning sickness for the first 20+ weeks), some sciatic pain and a bit of carpal tunnel in my hands. The carpal tunnel is significantly better this time though. A combination of getting my wrists adjusted by the chiropractor, not being pregnant in the middle of summer and no longer working in an office position I’m sure. My blood pressure is much lower with this pregnancy as well which is great. With Luke’s pregnancy I was on modified bed rest at the end to control my blood pressure. It was definitely not fun! Chasing a toddler while pregnant is certainly not a joke, I’m down right exhausted by the end of the day but overall I really am doing pretty well. I’m 3lbs under the weight I was with Luke at this point so I’m guessing I’ll end up at about the same weight in the end. Hopefully it comes off as easily this time, but I hear it gets harder with each pregnancy! I’m due next month! Ah!!
I have officially been a fulltime stay at home mom for one year now. This is the place I’ve wanted to be my entire life and in some ways it is exactly as I imagined. In others it’s worlds different.
I thought being a stay at home mom looked like this- Baby happily playing while I made dinner and cleaned up the house. We’d play together and everything would be spotless and organized (I mean I am home all day right?). The reality is anything but! My days are long. Well over 12 hours and my house is a mess during that time. With I tiny tornado running around undoing all the cleaning, it’s hard to keep up when he is awake. When I want to cook something it’s now, how many ways can I entertain the toddler with kitchen utensils so he’ll stop trying to spill the flour bucket… or throw a tissue in the milk I’m measuring out…. not that those things happened…this week
I’m not a creative person by nature, but I have to create activities a hundred times a day! That baby that would happily play on the floor while I worked, well he isn’t the one I was blessed with. My sweet boy is in to everything and does not want to be left out! As a result, my 17 month old helps chop vegetables and plays in the sink and washes the counters with a spray bottle. Anything I can come up with to keep him busy! He just wants to be involved in whatever I’m working on.
I truly love this stage in my life though. I love being a mom and I love being home to take care of my son, my husband and my home. It can be so difficult at times but I know the pay off will be worth it in the end! We always said that we wanted one of us to be home to raise our kids. I’m so thankful that I got to be that one!