I always knew that when I had kids that I would breastfeed. My mom breastfed all 4 of us kids for about 6-8 months, but I was breastfed for only 5 months as her milk dried up suddenly--she was pregnant w/ my brother--we are 13 months apart. We never had formula, as this was the late 70's/early 80's we went straight to cows milk.
I had ds1 on December 20, 2005. I was planning on a natural childbirth, but he ended up being born by c section due to me have tetonic contractions, which caused his cord to become compressed and limiting oxygen to him. I didn't get to nurse him until about 6 hours after he was born. We had latch issues from the start, since the nurses gave him a bit of formula. I was finally able to get him to latch on, but he tore up my nipples--they were cracking, bleeding,etc--so much pain. My milk came in within 48 hours of delivery. Come Christmas day, 5 days later, I am feeling so out of it--no appetite, forcing myself to eat, wanting to sleep all day. I ended up going to the hospital and found that I had a bladder infection, which I believe was caused by the catheter. I was trying to nurse and pump but was so lethargic, so dh ended up giving him a bottle or 2 of formula while I was at the hospital. After being on antibiotics for a few days, I was feeling back to normal just about. If I was too out of it to nurse him, I would pump instead so I wouldn't lose my supply. When Anthony was a few months old, I woke up with a huge pain in my right breast, plus chills, fever, shakes. Yay mastitis!! I ended up doing tons of pumping, pressure massage, hot moist compresses, etc and I finally got rid of it w/o taking antibiotics. I went back to work when he was almost 3 months old and I was pumping 3x a day, 15 minutes each session. I pumped a combined total of anywhere between 12-18 oz each day. I kept on pumping at work until he was about 13 months old, until I noticed I wasn't getting much anymore. I was late, so I took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant!! Unfortunately I miscarried at 8 weeks.
Two months later, I found out I was pregnant again! Anthony still nursed throughout the pregnancy. I was still producing milk until I hit 16 weeks, when I noticed nothing was coming out. At this point, it was very painful to nurse. I stuck through it, since he should no interest in weaning. Finally around 23-24 weeks I started producing colostrum. No more pain. I ended up night weaning him when I was about 8 months preggo as I wasn't able to get any sleep otherwise with the constant nursing!! Anthony nursed through my entire pregnancy, even when I was in early labor!! I knew that I would probably be tandeming, since Anthony showed no signs of slowing down!
Went to the hospital on January 20, 2008, when I had ds2 Bryant. I was going for a VBAC, but ended up w/ another c section, due to knots in the cord, lack of oxygen. It wasn't as traumatic as ds1's birth since I knew what to expect. This time around I told them that I would be nursing him in recovery. He nursed less than an hour after he was born!! Champion nurser right from the start--no latch issues, nipple pain, etc. My milk came in about 24 hours after delivery this time around!! The next day when Anthony got to meet his younger brother, Bryant was nursing. Anthony walked right over, climbed on the bed and said "please the booby?" Starting that day, I was a tandem nursing mama!! When I went home, I was nursing both. I ended up assigning each of them a breast. I gave Bryant the right, as it produced more than the left.
Tandem nursing was rough from the start, especially for Anthony since he didn't want to share. I had to deal with tons of tantrums. This time around, even nursing the 2 of them, I didn't have any sleep deprivation issues like I had before, since Bryant was able to nurse lying down right from the start!! Anthony didn't master that until he was about 6 months old.
Since my oldest night weaned and my youngest wasn't taking in a lot, I was constantly engorged at night. I ended up using my ameda one handed breast pump, as using the electric ameda purely yours pump would've taken too much effort. By the time I went back to work when Bryant was almost 3 months old, I had pumped and put up in the deep freezer over 600 oz. of milk. That was amazing in itself, as I only stashed about 300 oz with my first son. Within a month of being back at work, I was at about 1100 oz in the deep freeze. I knew we would never use that much, so I decided to donate 900 oz (wanted to keep a bit of a back up stash, just in case) A wonderful mama from here was chosen to receive the milk for her son, who is just one month older than Bryant. Last I heard, he was gaining weight!
My first day back at work, I wasn't sure if I would respond to the electric pump, since I hadn't used it since my first son was born. I ended up getting about 34 oz!!! Shows what tandem nursing can do for your supply!! Since then, I've been getting anywhere from 24-36 oz, between 3 pumps/day, this time only pumping 8 minutes on average!! I am now at over 500 oz in the deep freeze again, so I'll probably be looking to donate again pretty soon, especially since Bryant is only taking 2-3 4 oz bottles/day, and Anthony likes his directly from the tap!!
One great thing about have a nursing toddler is that they are there to help with engorgement, unblock plugged ducts, etc. Anthony always asks "please the Anthony's booby" He is so excited when I tell him to nurse off the brother's booby. Its a big treat for him!! Also, I started getting some plugged ducts on Bryant's side, so I let Anthony go to town since he has a much stronger suck than his brother. He dislodges it every time!!
I will be nursing both boys as long as they want to, but I would definately wean before they would start kindergarten if they didn't self wean by that time. If both are still nursing when we decide to have another kiddo, the brothers would share one while the baby gets the other!
I've also been attending a wonderful breastfeeding support group through my local wic office--we've been going over 2 years!! There's another tandem nursing mama who's been going nearly as long--she's tandeming a 26 month and 8 month old. Now,we've been the ones helping out the new mamas, sharing our experiences, etc.
I'm so glad that I decided to breastfeed. The reasons are purely selfish: I'm cheap--can't imagine having to pay for formula, I'm lazy--don't want to get u in the middle of the night to fix a bottle--i can just pop a boob in the mouth and go back to sleep(yes we cosleep--family bed) and i know its the best thing for my kiddos!!
If anyone has any questions, etc, feel free to pm me!!
Whew! Sorry for the long winded post. Thanks for reading if you got this far!!