Every child is different. I know this, however I keep comparing my experiences with Jenson to my experiences with Lyra. So I assumed that I would feed Jenson for around a similar amount of time (ten months). How wrong could I be?!

1. The afterpains

“YEEEE-OWWW. Why am I having contractions again?” was one of the first things I said to the midwife whilst feeding Jenson in the hours after he was born. “Oh, that’s just your afterpains. They’re normal for second time mums”.

Apparently, nursing can bring on afterpains because the baby’s sucking motion causes oxytocin to be released, which in turn brings on contractions. These cramp-like pains thankfully didn’t last longer than a day for me. According to Babycenter they’re a good thing because they are a sign that your uterus is returning back to its pre-pregnancy size, reducing your risk of postpartum anemia from blood loss. And apparently it’s harder work each pregnancy to get those muscles back into shape. I just wish someone had warned me about this as I thought at the time that my uterus was self-destructing.

2. Nipple shields were a lifesaver

“Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world”. Erm not for me it wasn’t. Not with Lyra nor with Jenson. With Lyra, latching on was toe-curlingly painful. For the first few months I dreaded every feed. And whilst we’re talking tootsies, I used to get hot feet every time I fed her. To the point where I had to feed bare-footed. How bizarre is that?

So with Jenson I was willing to try anything to avoid that pain. Step in nipple shields. One of my good friends suggested them in passing in our whatsapp group. (Another of our friends, who doesn’t have kids, had the following reaction. “NIPPLE SHIELDS?! [Face screaming in fear emoji x 5]”). Thank God she did. Nipple shields were a faff at first, and the latching-on pain was still present, but so much less. I had been worried that the community midwife would scold me for doing so as I had read that they could reduce milk supply, but clearly she could see that a) Jenson was putting on weight and b) breastfeeding with nipple shields was better than an unhappy mama, as she didn’t raise one eyebrow.

3. Positioning was much easier

With Lyra I really struggled to find a nursing position that I was comfortable with. I got there in the end – mainly using a kind of variation on the cross cradle. So with Jenson there was a lot less manhandling and fumbling and positioning-of-pillows: I knew what position had worked before and I used the exact same position again.

And ohmigosh the side-lying position. Another lifesaver which I wish I’d tried with Lyra.

4. Breastfeeding isn’t such a big deal {and if you can’t do it, it’s not the end of the world}

It really annoys me that there is still such a stigma around breastfeeding. I’m certain it’s part of the reason why I never felt 100% comfortable about doing it in public. With Lyra, I was acutely self-conscious. When I was out and about, I seemed to spend a lot of time sitting in public toilets breastfeeding her, either due to a lack of facilities or because I just didn’t want to get my boob out in public. I was a lot more relaxed whilst breastfeeding Jenson. I fed him on the train, on a bench in the centre of Birmingham, I even answered the door breastfeeding. This is something I would never have done with Lyra. (No boob was on show, but the poor postman. He didn’t know where to look).

5. Sadness at ending breastfeeding

I’ve recently stopped breastfeeding (Jenson is five months old) and my reaction has taken me by surprise. I’m not sure why I’m feeling a bit upset about it all. Is it because he is potentially our last baby? Is it the hormones? Answers on a postcard please.

I hadn’t planned to stop at this point, however with hindsight I might have been able to guess that it would happen. I had a girls’ weekend in York back in August and although I spent what seemed like half the time expressing (including in a bridal boutique, as you do), Jenson since started refusing the boob. Breastfeeding became a once-during-the-night thing and now I’ve stopped altogether. I do feel sad about this, but at least I’m no longer having to wear god-awful nursing bras. Every cloud.    

What have your experiences been? Have you found it easier the second time around? Did anyone else get hot feet?!

Photography by Little Beanies