breastfeeding during pregnancy

the way my mind organizes these memories is into two distinct categories: nursing while pregnant during the 1st half of the pregnancies, and nursing during the 2nd half of pregnancies.

pregnancy #2 (nursing 1 toddler, 8 months at conception, 16 months at birth)

fear (can this really cause a miscarriage?)
guilt ( who am i shortchanging more - the baby that needs milk or the fetus that the ob says i am putting at risk?)
thirst !
love/affection for nursling
fierce protectiveness (i'm going to try to do everything i can not to take this (milk) from you.
relief (found LLL!)


burgeoning confidence (this isn't as hard as i've heard!)
gratitude (body is making enough milk for toddler and keeping fetus healthy!)
fear and hope (i hope this pgc doesn't make you wean before you would otherwise)
worry (can't feel letdowns any more and it's becoming painful, is this normal?)
pain (it feels like gravel is passing through my nipples when you nurse !)
triumph and pride (you nursed through the whole pgc and i hung in there despite the cpl wks of discomfort! yay for us!)

pregnancy #3 (nursing one boy aged 3 and one toddler aged 1)

concern (can i nurse 2 thru a pgc and not be increasing the risk of miscarriage?)
gratitude (a reason to sit down and rest when i have to nurse you both)
surprise (i really feel tightening of the uterus and an urge to pee as soon as you start nursing)
fierce devotion ( i won't let the imminence of a new baby change the way i nurture you)
pride ( i don't know very many ppl who've nursed 2 children while pg !)


pain (oh, there's that gravel in the nipples again - i'd hoped that was a fluke !)
claustrophobic (oh no, here they come to nurse again and i'm so big and uncomfortable i feel like they're smothering me)
restless (are you done yet?)
skin crawly (what happened to the way they nurse ? suddenly they feel like they're all teeth and scrapy cat's tongues !!)
bargaining (if i can make it through just 10 more minutes, they won't wean b/c of the pregnancy)
relief (once you've nursed for a little while and i can hear you gulping, all the discomfort goes away and i am so glad to be breastfeeding you both still)
triumph and terror (neither of you weaned through the whole pregnancy and now i have a third!)

pregnancy #4 (nursing 4 yr old, 3 yr old and 6 month old)

determination (i've done 2, 3 can't be that much harder, besides the oldest hardly nurses much anymore)
concern (can nursing 3 finally be enough to adversely affect the pregnancy?)
thirsty !
have to pee as soon as they latch on
ever present nausea this pgc increases during nursing
suffocation (are they ever going to get off me ? i can hardly breathe)
hot flashes during nursing
skin crawly
underarms prickling as soon as they latch
panic (why is it so horrible this time, is something wrong w/ my hormones? with my pregnancy?)

~2nd half ~

guilt (i hope you guys don't know how much i hate this, this pgc)
cyclical pain (every few wks the gravel-thru-nipples pain is back!)
contractions (constant during nursing this pgc)
gagging (nausea increases enormously during nursing)
resentment (why do none of you ever wean during pgc like the stats say so many do ?)
more guilt (i love you, i want to nurse you as long as you want to nurse, i'm sorry i'm not enjoying it any more)
bargaining (i will give you a sucker if you'll be done nursing for now)
violent fantasies (dear husband, if you tell my children to go ask me for milkies again like my breasts are yours to give out like party favors when you want to bribe or distract them, i am going to wait until you sleep and hurt you slowly and creatively for a long time)
constant worry (surely this time it's going to make the baby come too early, that must be what all these hormonal signs mean)
relief and triumph (i made it again and nobody got hurt or emotionally scarred or weaned!)

pregnancy #5 (nursing 2 yr old and 1 yr old)

nervousness (what if it's as bad as the last pgc?)
self-reassurance (it can't be as bad - i'm only nursing 2 again and they are older and on solids so won't need to nurse as much)
tired tired tired
grateful (for the chance to sit down and rest while nursing)
guilty (this pgc is such a surprise, i didn't want to possibly cause you guys to wean, i really hope it doesn't make you wean)
fiercely protective
weepy / emotional


pain (gravel through nipples again but only for a short time mid-pgc, not recurring like last time)
random contractions
smothering (i'm so big and you guys are so big, i feel crushed under all of us)
determined (not much longer and we'll have our family all completed and i'll have no regrets if i can stick it out one last time!)
extreme weepiness
confusion (why am i so weepy when they nurse ?)
more weepiness (why am i so confused i don't even know why i'm crying ?)
profound gratitude (i'm so lucky i've been able to do this so many times, i have to cherish this, it won't last forever)
pride and triumph (made it again, about to be nursing 3 again)

whew! i have to print that out for posterity, it was very intense going back there, i thought about it all day and am so surprised i clearly r/m how very different the experience of bfing was w/ each pgc ! i just wanted to add that no matter what i went through while bfing during pgc, it was all worth it when the older nurslings got their 1st feeding of 'new' milk after the birth. every one of mine almost completely gave up solids for a cpl days when my 'new baby milk' came in and it was sheer heaven to hold them (one at a time on the 'toddler boob') next to the newborn and hear them gulping and sighing in unison w/ eyes rolling back in ecstasy as they stroked the new baby's silky head. if i am lucky enough to be able to prepare for it when my time comes to leave this earth, this is the memory i will conjure up and take with me, it is the very essence of why i work to help women breastfeed.


Nancy Cuevas Weimann said...

wow.. this was very intense to read. my uterus actually felt like it contracted a little.. also made me realize how much you do have to sacrifice to nurse your babies. good for you mumma. not to many of us are that determined. love the last part on why you do it. so glad to be a part of helping you get the word out.

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