Breastfeeding with two under two

Breastfeeding baby after a c-section

I had my first baby Arthur in August 2022, then exactly 16 months later Polly was born in December 2023 (Yes, I have my hands full if that’s what you’re thinking!). 

I had c-section births both times, the first one was elective. I’d been told that my milk may be delayed due to having a section and that I should try to collect some colostrum to prepare for the first few days. As my due-date with Arthur drew closer I began hand expressing as much as I could – to the point I was stressing myself out. I was so overwhelmed with worry about not having enough milk. With that in mind I packed some pre-made formula in my hospital bag. 

Skin to skin

Arthur was put on me for skin to skin whilst still in theatre like I’d asked them to. I’d read how important this was online. I was so in love straight away and he was trying to latch on. It’s honestly as if all your worries just fade away as soon as baby is there.

When the midwife’s were helping to latch him on one of them noticed he had a tongue tie. I’d only read about it the week before on a forum and the worry started again. For the next 24 hours I tried to feed him as best I could. I remember being so tired and sore. I was also hand expressing some and giving it to him in a syringe with the help of a midwife.

When the midwife’s were helping to latch him on one of them noticed he had a tongue tie. I

I was advised to give him some of the formula as a top up when I got really tired and my partner Josh had to leave the ward (some rules were still in place after the covid lockdown). It’s all a blur to be honest but I do remember getting up that night to go for my first walk to the bathroom, surprising myself at how much I could actually get around. 

Breastfeeding after a c-section

Breastfeeding was easier once home

We went home the next morning and straight away I got comfy on the sofa. We fed and had some skin to skin time together. He latched so much better with me at home and I remember just feeling so relaxed.

I was managing the pain from the section well and letting Josh and my mum do all the house chores. They took it in turns to change Arthur and settle him in between feeds. I just stuck to healing and feeding my baby. 

The tongue tie snip 

Once he’d had his tongue tie snipped (which isn’t at all as terrifying as it sounds) he started to latch better but still not perfectly. I persevered for a while and slowly started to drop the formula bottles. Our breastfeeding journey ended after around 3 months as he was just so used to the bottle by then that I couldn’t satisfy him the same on the breast, Plus, I ended up really struggling with mastitis and that took its toll.

Looking back, if I’d have had the information and support that I needed early on I would have breastfed him for longer. None of the problems I had were due to having a section, and if I’d just stuck to breastfeeding those first few days rather than using formula top-ups like I’d been advised then it would be a different story. 

Looking back, if I’d have had the information and support that I needed early on I would have breastfed him for longer.

Two under two - Katie with Polly and Arthur

Then Polly arrived…

Fast forward 16 months and I had my daughter Polly, who was born via emergency c-section. I didn’t collect any colostrum prior, and I fed her straight away in theatre. It felt so natural and easy, and I couldn’t get over how she was gulping away instantly. She latched on straight away and fed so well that all my pain seemed to just fade away! Feeding felt so comfortable and she was so settled between feeds. Other than a drop in weight she was doing perfectly.

When her weight dropped again on the fifth day they admitted us to the hospital just as a precaution. Thankfully all the tests were fine and they sent us home with the instructions to just do as we had been doing and continue to feed on cue. I requested a visit from the feeding team and they got us booked in the next week.

It turned out that Polly had a tongue tie like her brother. Once again we got it snipped and it wasn’t long before her weight gain improved. If I didn’t have the confidence from feeding Arthur I think I would have been so much more concerned than I was. This time round I just trusted that we’d both get where we needed to be. 

It turned out that Polly had a tongue tie like her brother but once we had it snipped her weight gain improved almost instantly.

No plans to stop breastfeeding anytime soon

I don’t know what it was that was different after my section with Polly but I healed so quickly! I only needed painkillers for the first 2 or 3 days and then I started to just feel better so quickly. My hospital bag was packed so much more lightly than the first time round. Comfy PJs and plenty of snacks were top of my list, not pre-made formula! 

I’ve loved feeding Polly so far and I don’t really have a plan of how long I will feed her for. I’m just going with the flow and am not worried about stopping breastfeeding anytime soon. I did worry about what it would be like having 2 under 2 and breastfeeding but now I’m doing it, it just feels natural.

Arthur cuddles up to us when I’m feeding her and it’s the sweetest thing to see him sit down and take in those moments with us. I don’t even mind the night feeds now that I know how fast the months go by. I just think one day I’ll look back and remember all these special moments. 

Breastfeeding mother with two under two

The importance of breastfeeding support

When I had Arthur there was really no-one that I felt able to turn to for breastfeeding support and no one I knew who was breastfeeding. Second-time-around I felt more confident reaching out for support. With Polly I go to a breastfeeding support group and it’s helped me alot. I can get her weight checked, get advice and just have a general chit chat.

With Polly I go to a breastfeeding support group and it’s helped me alot.

If you’re pregnant I think locating a local support group is a great idea and you can go along to it for advice and support.

My advice for c-section mamas

My feeding journey with Arthur taught me so much. The main thing it taught me was to remember that baby is learning too. Even the times when you don’t know what they want, or you’re having a rough day, you’re still all that your baby needs.

My advice to any mums wanting to breastfeed after a section would be the following; 

  • Don’t stress about how much/ little colostrum you can express before baby is here. Their belly’s are so tiny all they need is a small amount of milk – little and often. 
  • Let people help you so you can focus on healing and feeding (the laundry can wait) 
  • Try different breastfeeding positions and switch it up (side lying worked for us post section)
  • Make sure you’re staying hydrated and eating healthily – for both your own health and your babies. Lots of iron (through foods or a supplement) is beneficial after a c-section.
  • Give yourself time and remember you’re learning and so is baby
  • Most importantly, enjoy every minute it as the newborn day go by so quickly 
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