If you recall, nursing Papillon was quite an adventure for us. That is not an adventure that I would like to repeat. For that reason, ever since that fateful day that drove me to the most ridiculous nursing routine in the world (you recall how I was literally attached to the baby or the pump for 12+ hours a day?), we have been making plans for our 2nd go-round with nursing.
Am I nervous about it? Yes and no. I feel worlds more confident that I will know what I am doing and will able to tell if it is not going right. Though it is also possible that I will be paranoid at all points that it just isn't working, when maybe it is going quite well indeed. Mainly, my nervousness, though, comes from being nervous that my body is just plain not cut out for nursing a big baby. Papillon didn't really start growing at a "normal" rate until after she turned 1 when we started introducing whole milk. If she hadn't started out at a whopping 9+lbs, she would have fallen off the growth chart all together. Perhaps my body produces skim milk....or maybe just plain not enough. Cause I nursed on demand, nursed round the clock, pumped like crazy on top of that, and Papillon only managed to squeak on a few ounces a week if that. Therein lies my nervousness.
Generally though, I am more focused and driven than nervous. We have a plan, and there is no way it could go as badly as it did the first time around. (I think) What is the plan?
Well, for starters, I am going to nurse that baby the moment he/she is born. Ok, maybe not that exact moment. But I do believe with Papillon we missed that window of alertness that newborns have right after birth, and she fell sound asleep without having learned the joys of eating, so she just kept sleeping and sleeping. Barring another crazy-emergency delivery, this little baby will be handed to me immediately and won't leave my arms until we have at least offered some nursing.
Also, we are going to meet with the lactation consultant multiple times before we leave the hospital. This hospital has a lactation consultant on duty 24/7. Not every other day, during business hours, not including weekends, like our previous hospital did. I am going to capitalize on this resource even if I feel like I am doing it all right from day one.
Also, we are walking out of the hospital with our new born baby in one hand and a hospital grade pump in the other. The two weeks I had my hospital pump last time were up there with the worst in my life, but it was my nursing salvation. It is quite possible I will have a baby this time that had no problem communicating to my body that he/she is ravenous and needs me to produce tons of milk. But in the chance that he/she is not that convincing, the pump should do the trick.
My focus at the beginning is simply going to be on feeding the baby. Obviously Papillon will need my attention as well. But when it comes to the new baby, I am not going to stress (or at least try not to stress) about anything else. I think with Papillon I was worried about whether or not I was doing enough with her - was she wearing cute enough outfits? Was she sleeping properly? Was she being held enough? Photographed enough? Had we put her in the sling yet? There will be time for all of that later. The first couple weeks, all I will be worried about is - is this baby eating? I mean, really, they are a newborn, what else do they need to do? I feel like I understand much better now the difference between a newborn and a baby, and I think that perspective is going to be very helpful this time around.
So there you have it. That is the plan. Lord willing nursing will be a pleasant experience from day one this time around.