I breastfed the Turtle successfully for 14 months. When he was born there was no question that I would try to feed him myself. None. That had something to do with the 5 foot long flow chart I was given in my antenatal class about how to prepare a bottle. It all looked very complicated – boiling water, waiting a half an hour, utter madness. Breastfeeding just looked easier. And it was. Although I never thought I would feed him for “that long”. I set myself small goals. 1 week. 6 weeks. Until he got teeth. 6 months. Until we got to the States. 1 year. As long as I could. He stopped one day, all of a sudden. It left me perplexed. I didn’t know what to do. How would I get him to sleep? Comfort him? Make sure he ate enough? That was the most nightmarish part of breastfeeding him. (Not that it was all rosy. There was mastitis, engorgement and all sorts to deal with, but he was “a good feeder” so it felt easier than it was.)
This little lady is a different kettle of fish. The Turtle was a gannet from the start. Mouth wide open. Perfect latch. He would feed. Sleep. Wake up. Feed. Sleep. He had no problems with wind (gas). He didn’t spit up. He was the child a first time breastfeeding mother wants/needs. As I said, his sister is different. She won’t open her mouth quite wide enough. There’s a lot of licking. She pops on and off quite frequently (leading me to dread feeding her in public). When she does latch, she takes such big gulps that she almost drowns herself (another reason why I won’t be using a nursing cover – the other being that I want to be able to see her). And she suffers from “wind” (gas) and roars like a banshee.
On the plus side, I have absolutely no doubts about whether I am producing enough milk. My letdown reflex (like the valve that releases milk when the baby starts to suck) seems to be broken. If she grunts I start to leak. If I feed her on one side, the other starts to leak. If she feeds and pops off I leak. The left boob leaks more than the right, just in case you’re interested.
If I lived in a different time I could be a wet nurse for all of the children in the neighbourhood.
I’m sure things will settle down (I hope). For the moment, it’s a good reminder that they may both be my children, but they are different people. No matter how alike they look.