As of last Friday my baby girl is ONE! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. Natalie is the most driven, determined and loving baby. She hit all of her milestones ahead of time and you can’t stop her from learning and moving on to the next step. She keeps you on your toes, that is for sure.
Her breastfeeding journey has had its ups and downs and I’m so happy that we have made it to a year with no major issues. I thought the best way to celebrate her birthday and one year of breastfeeding on this blog would be a month by month timeline. Also, you can see how she has changed month to month through the pictures.
The Beginning- The Hospital
Natalie was born via scheduled C-Section (VBAC or RCS? Why I Chose to Have a Repeat C Section Rather than a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean and What I Wish I Considered). My midwife was with me during the surgery and made sure I could hold her right away. While in recovery I was able to nurse Natalie. She kinda suckled but she was more interested in trying to open her eyes and keep them open.
It took her a few tries before she really latched and I felt her drinking. I was hoping there wouldn’t be too much pain because she was my second nursling but it still hurt. My milk came in the day we were going home. Letdown was painful but familiar so I wasn’t concerned.
The nurses really wanted us to write down every feeding including side and length of time on the white board in the room. This was a nuisance for me and we kept forgetting to do it. I think we bothered them quite a bit because we weren’t obsessively tracking it. Also, they wanted me to wake her every two hours to nurse but I didn’t because from birth she slept from 12-5. She nursed sooo much during the day that I didn’t want to wake her in her deep sleep from 12-5. She gained weight fast and had tons of wet/dirty diapers that my pediatrician said it was fine to let her sleep for as long as she wanted!
First Month- Is it Thrush?
The first month home was all sitting in my recliner, drinking water, and nursing. She nursed constantly during the day. Every hour she would eat and I loved those early nursing moments. She still slept most of the night (I still can’t believe how lucky we are). We offered the bottle a few times and she would drink some of it but it never replaced a feeding. Unfortunately, her tongue became very white and it wouldn’t just brush off. One doctor said it was thrush and we needed to give medicine while the other thought it wasn’t a big deal. We ended up giving medicine with no changes. We stopped the medicine because it turned out her tongue just had a whitish hue. It went away by itself in a few weeks.
Second Month- Surgery AND Colic
Natalie’s second month I started having severe gall bladder attacks that prevented me from being able to hold her as often as she was used to and preferred. I ended up having gall bladder surgery when she was 6 weeks old. This led to me pumping every morning to get an emergency freezer stash. Information about the safety of nursing after going under general anesthesia is all over the place. Some websites say its totally safe while others say you had to wait 48 hours. I was blessed that my anesthesiologist had a 6 month old baby who was exclusively breastfed and he assured me that I would be fine to nurse a few hours after anesthesia.
Natalie also starting being colicky in her second month. She would scream for 3-4 hours every night and pass out at about midnight. See more info on her colic here, What Breastfeeding a Fussy or Colic Baby Really Looks Like and How to Get Through It.
Third Month- Adjustment Period
In Natalie’s third month I was fully healed from both surgeries and our nursing relationship was good. This month was an adjustment period for Natalie because I began my in home daycare this month. This meant Natalie had to share my attention with more than just her sister and she learned that I can’t drop everything and nurse the second she wants to. This month was an adjustment period for me because I resigned from my teaching job to open my in home daycare and be home with my two girls. Best decision my husband and I have ever made!
Fourth Month-Sleep Regression
From the hospital Natalie slept at least five hours straight at night. Until her fourth month. She was rolling from front to back as well as back to front so I spent this month transitioning her from being swaddled in the rock n play to no swaddle in the crib. This led to a major sleep regression where she woke up every hour and half. This month was the first time we co slept and it was out of desperation for some uninterrupted sleep! Side by side nursing was a lifesaver.
Fifth Month- Sleep Training
To help her sleep better at night in her fifth month I attempted to ‘sleep train’ so that her naps would be at the same time each day. This meant when I nursed her and it wasn’t nap time I had to try very hard to not let her fall asleep. Getting her naps on a schedule helped her sleeping at night and she now only woke up at 12 and 4. She always nursed to fall asleep though as I don’t have the stomach to let her cry!
Six Months- Distracted Nursing
Natalie was a very active six month old. Sitting, pulling herself up to standing and rolling herself around all over the place. Now when she nursed she turned away for any noise or distraction. This made nursing much more difficult because I always had other loud children running around. I started setting up snack time when I would nurse to help keep the house relatively quiet.
Seven Months- Teething
Ahhh, and so it begins. Teething. A breastfeeding, teething baby is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Every time your baby goes to latch you’re praying they don’t bite. Natalie bit a few times and yelling ‘NO!’ seemed to work. Yes, it made her upset but she stopped biting and we were able to continue our nursing journey.
Eighth Month- Nursing on the Road
When Natalie was 8 months old we spent a week at my family camp on Crystal Lake in New Hampshire. My family of four shared one room. Natalie only had a pack n play to sleep in and there wasn’t a good recliner or rocking chair in the house. This was a big adjustment for us. Natalie wanted me to rock her every time we nursed and all of a sudden it wasn’t a possibility. Through trial and error we ended up nursing while we both lay down on the bed. It was a great vacation but it came with a lot less sleep for both Natalie and I. July was also full on fun day trips and activities that led to us nursing in my Ergo or in the car while parked at a gas station.
Ninth Months- Walking Baby
She took her first steps at eight months but was a true walker at 9 months. This changed our nursing relationship because she wanted to eat really fast so she could go play but she wanted to nurse more often. Getting her to stay on the breast to fall asleep for naps became quite a challenge this month and often took 3 or 4 times of having her latch before she would fall asleep.
Ten Months- Gymnurstics
My now expert walker became an expert climber. Climbing on our couches, high chairs, and anything she felt like led to her wanted to climb all over ME while nursing. All of a sudden when Natalie nursed on my left side she would turn her head in all different directions and somehow end up with her feet at my head. Nursing in public became a challenge as she would likely lift my shirt up and no longer be ‘socially appropriate’.
Eleven Months- Aggressive Nursing
With her new obsession with climbing while nursing she became quite aggressive. Now when Natalie wanted to nurse she would yank my shirt down and scream until she was able to latch. She began nursing more and more even though I was offering her more food and more sippy cups of water.
One Year Old
Now she is one and the breastfeeding journey continues. I am so thankful to have had a successful year of breastfeeding!