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The Badass Breastfeeder Got Knocked Up

Well well, now you all know the little baby secret I have been keeping for 14 weeks. I have so much I want to tell you and share with you , but I will try and relax and make sure I give you all the nitty gritty details. This might take several blog posts. First you should know that I don’t plan to breastfeed this new baby… Just kidding!

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding while pregnant.

Let’s start with some dates so you can get an idea of the time line. Jack was born July 30, 2011. We began trying to conceive (TTC) at 6 months postpartum (January 2012). My period returned 7 months postpartum (February 2012). I became pregnant in September 2013 (yep, it took that long for my body to be ready).  Jack was 26 months at the time we conceived. He is now 29 months old. My estimated due date is June 10, 2014. Jack will be just shy of 3 years old.

When Jack was born my husband and I were so stunned by the labor and delivery that we swore we would never have another child. After a few months the memories wore off and we decided to give it a go. We actually were so gung ho that we decided to start right then! Our rationale was that we were getting older. I am 37 years and my husband is 45 years old. We felt the pressure! I was just 6 months postpartum. I knew there was a little chance of me getting pregnant that soon while I was exclusively breastfeeding Jack so we knew we had to be patient. I had to always remember my breastfeeding goals with Jack when I became frustrated at the negative pregnancy tests. I wanted to become pregnant, but my primary goal was to allow Jack to breastfeed for as long as he felt necessary. I read things on the internet about starting him on solids early, skipping breastfeeding sessions, spending a night away from baby and other ideas to kickstart ovulation, but it didn’t sit well with me. I chose to continue to place my breastfeeding relationship with Jack first and allow my body to naturally become ready to conceive. My period returned at 7 months postpartum (which I believe is quite early for a breastfeeding mother), but I knew that it didn’t necessarily mean I was ovulating. That could take a while longer. All women’s bodies are ready at different times.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's, husband holding son

We tried and tried and tried. Some months more than others. It’s not easy with a toddler in the house. But even as a bed-sharing family we are able to have sex. Shocking, I know. As I passed 1 year postpartum and then 18 months postpartum I began to feel a bit defeated. Like maybe Jack is a one hit wonder. We certainly know how lucky we are even if that were true. I tried to remember that my body knows best about what it is ready for. One night we were feeling frisky and decided to get it on. We weren’t even really thinking about trying to conceive; for once. It was the only time we had sex in that cycle. Then I went to MommyCon LA. I had calculated in advance that I would be on my period while there. Bummer! As we flew to LA I had a vague thought that my period wasn’t here yet, but it had been late before. A few days later we left LA. Where was my period? LA was such a whirlwind that I didn’t have much time to think about it. The day after returning from LA I opened the package of pregnancy test strips I had bought in bulk from Amazon and had peed on for nearly 2 years with nothing but sinking disappointment. I peed again; Jack standing in front of me twirling the shower curtain and pulling the toilet paper off the roll.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” My husband came running thinking something was wrong. “That is a positive pregnancy test!” I proceeded to take a test again for the next 3 days. All positive. I finally decided to let myself believe it was real. Call the midwife!

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, with Jack

I had thought a lot about becoming pregnant over the past 2 years. I felt fear that my relationship with Jack would change. That he would wean. That we wouldn’t be as close. I thought about what I would do if I never became pregnant again and then Jack weaned and then how would I be The Badass Breastfeeder? I thought about what we would do with Jack’s late night wakings and a newborn in the house. I thought about how I would just in general not lose my ever loving mind.

Well, I still wonder how I will not lose my mind, but the rest sits very comfortably with me now. Everything but the weaning. This journey has changed me. I know that Jack and I will always have the relationship that we have. Breastfeeding is a huge part of what we have right now, but our relationship will withstand all of the changes that lie before us for the rest of our lives. I know that I will always be The Badass Breastfeeder. When all of my children are weaned I will still do this work. I don’t plan to stop. Ever. But I very much want to tandem nurse. I know that Jack would continue breastfeeding if I had continued to have the same supply I have always had. My supply is already dropping. It’s unavoidable so that my body can prepare colostrum for the new baby. It makes me sad to think that he would just stop because the milk stopped. I know he might not stop and he might continue. I hope he does. But I can’t lie. It makes me feel sad and anxious. I suppose these are normal feelings when it comes to weaning.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding while pregnant.

It’s very different thinking about weaning theoretically. It’s much more emotional watching breastfeeding behaviors change. Watching the milk dry up. Knowing that he only latched on for naps and bedtime today. My friends are very supportive. They tell me he might slow down and pick up again when more milk comes, that my body will start making colostrum soon and he might like it, that as long as he latches once a day for now he will remember how and pick up again later. My husband reminds me to not make this Jack’s problem and just follow his lead. I hope my friends are right and I know my husband is right. But here I am, feeling the sinking feeling in my stomach. Afraid of change, acknowledging that no matter what happens a new chapter is coming. Knowing that Jack and I will be close as ever, but still the tears run down my face.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder with son.

I have spent the last year and a half talking the talk to you about child-led weaning, tandem breastfeeding, natural childbirth and whole host of other issues. I realize it is now time for me to walk the walk. I plan to do so. And I plan to tell you every detail as my journey into motherhood deepens. This is my experience, no one else’s. Much, MUCH more to come…

For Part 2 of this series click here.

Abby Theuring, MSW

Comments

  1. julie distel says:

    Hi Abby – first, CONGRATULATIONS!! Second, I would love to share what I’m experiencing now in hopes it will encourage you. My daughter is 29 mos and I am 21 weeks pregnant w #2. I dried up completely around 14 weeks and was devastated because I cherish our nursing relationship and bond. She continues to dry-nurse out of comfort, before.nap and bed. I am so thankful, and am hopeful that once my milk comes back in she’ll still be interested. So if dry-nursing is something you’d.consider, there’s a good chance he’ll continue w that since he is such a boobie-lover like my daughter! Hugs to you 🙂

  2. Just like you are here for all of us on our journey, we will be here for you!! Congrats on your new member, and best of luck to you and Jack. Things will work out whatever way they are suppose to! 🙂

  3. Congrats!!! I am 24 weeks along with #2. Conceived when #1 was eleven months old. We weren’t actively trying but we weren’t preventing either 🙂

    So excited to read about this next phase as you experience it with me!

    For now #1 is dry nursing mostly before naps and bed. I lost my milk around 14 weeks. I’m not ready to wean her and she still asks several times a day. I think we will end up going tandem 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Abby! You are an amazing mother and a huge inspiration. You can do it. Jack will wean when he’s ready! Prayers that your milk supply will stay steady. Are you have a nursing aversion at all?

  5. I know just how you feel! We got pregnant with daughter #2 when our first was 21 months. We weren’t trying on purpose, but we weren’t for #1 either. I was concerned about nursing bc our journey started out so shaky with tongue tie and low supply. And once we got established (not until 3 months!) nursing became more than just nourishment, but our favorite way to spend time together. At 20 weeks preggo, I noticed a drop in milk, but she didn’t care. When colostrum came in, she didn’t care either. She just kept on nursing. At about 30 weeks, it became very painful for me, and she slowed down, concerned for me. I tried not to let her feel responsible, but there were bedtimes where we both sat in the rocking chair crying, not wanting to stop but reluctant to go on. From then she only nursed to fall asleep, and then for only a few minutes. Then our little baby was born! Hooray! And nursing her was so easy, bc her sister had taught me so much, and paved the way. I am so thankful for what we had and how quick it was to establish a good latch and milk supply. Now I’m even more thankful. Tandem nursing with a newborn and a toddler who still wakes at night is NOT easy, but whenever I have an oversupply or engorgement, the toddler very willingly helps out! The only difficult part now is telling the toddler she has to wait her turn for Mommy!

  6. Oh my gosh I could have written this. I LOVE this post, thank you SO much for sharing! I had tears streaming reading most of it. I am due June 11/14 and my son is 23 mons. I am experiencing all of these emotions and thoughts too! My milk has pretty much entirely dried up and my son has 2 brief nursing sessions a day (before nap and bedtime) and I have had to explain to him that my boobies have ouies (spelling?) on them because it is very painful and my nipples have deep cracks in them. It breaks my heart for our nursing relationship to be changing because of anything other than him naturally changing his habits. He is so understanding and points to them and says “ouie” and gently pats them :). I am so filled with anticipation and excitement to welcome this new little life and watch my babies grow together and have their own sibling relationship but also am simultaneously grieving the loss of this era. The days of it being just me and my little sidekick are slowly coming to an end. *sigh* I am trying to relax and allow this transition to take shape without trying to control it and allow my son to have his own experience with the pregnancy and new baby without me imposing my own emotions on him but it sure is much tougher than I expected! CONGRATULATIONS to you and your beautiful family Abby! I am looking so forward to following through your pregnancy!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. I’m crying as I read this. My little is 8 months old now. I didn’t even want to bf. Now that I am (and have passed my 6 month goal), I can’t imagine stopping. I worry about how everything will impact nursing and my supply. Thinking about another baby and how it will impact my relationship with my little way stresses me out. I don’t know where this journey will lead you but Jack and your impending little will help you to navigate it.

  8. It makes me teary to think about the relationship between a son and mother when the second pregnancy begins. My sons are just over 3 years apart. I wasn’t bf’ing him any longer but I had all the same feelings you did. Our family of 4 is awesome but I spent the 9 months of my pregnancy soaking up every second with him I could. I recommend doing the same!! Then enjoy your new family of four. Life as you know it will be so different but so amazing all the same. 🙂

  9. 7 months is early?! Agrrr! 7 weeks! My luck! 7 weeks after giving birth I got my period! Why, oh why?!

    Congrats! 🙂

  10. My first daughter was just a little but older than Jack when I got pregnant. My milk was gone around 4 months but she never quit. She was SO happy when the milk came back with her sisters birth. She gave up on her own about 7 months later.

  11. Hi! I have been following some of your posts for a little while on Facebook but this is the first time I had the chance to read these two parts of your experience with being pregnant and nursing. I am also pregnant due in 2 weeks (1/14)! My daughter is 4 1/2 and still comfort nurses to sleep and a bit in the morning. Even when my milk dried up she didn’t even care. It has been a very emotional time because not only have my daughter and I been so close since she was born but I never thought I would get pregnant again and up until about a month ago I wasn’t even that excited about this pregnancy. We had fertility treatments to have my daughter so she is our miracle and I’ve been overly emotional since day one…we did the same for this baby but I just couldn’t imagine loving another baby as much. My daughter and I are so close, have a beautiful though very private breastfeeding relationship and I felt guilty about changing our relationship. She has never slept a night without me and I still get sad when I think of how our relationship will change… But I know it has to…Then I found this poem called loving two or something like that and I realized that for the last four years she’s had me all to herself and I will be giving her an amazing gift in exchange, the amazing gift of a sibling. I am very ready for her to stop nursing and let her little sister take over where she left off and I think she’s ready to stop….but if she wants to continue for bit it’s fine too… I guess like all other milestones in parenting when kids grow up, it’s exciting yet with a bit of sadness that comes with letting go. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and hope you enjoy tandem nursing! 🙂

  12. Hi Abby!
    While reading this post, I was a bit surprised at our similarities! My daughter was born 8/22/11, I am 14 weeks pregnant, due 7/1/14. So my daughter will be just shy of turning 3 when her sibling is born. I’m 33 and we also had the “we’re not getting any younger” attitude! Anywho, I love your blog and thanks for the support! Keep it up! -Melisda

  13. Tricia Marshall says:

    Congrats abbey! I wanna say first and foremost THANK YOU for being the voice I needed to hear for a long time. My pj is 17 months old (and I’m expecting baby no. 2 in four weeks… omgosh) and was born with severe pneumonia. He spent nearly 2 months in NICU and never latched. I exclusively pumped for seven months before I couldn’t keep up, and I felt awful when I finally dried up. This time around, with your daily words of encouragement and a newfound belief in myself and my abilities as a badass, I know it’ll go differently. I can’t wait to share this experience with you! You don’t know me, but I truly consider you a friend. So many congratulations on your precious new baby, and I’m sure jack will be a phenomenal big brother!
    Sincerely (really sincerely)
    Tricia

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