Jessica Cuevas, viva la mami

Episode 77: Why Breastfeeding Is Different The Second Time Around

We recently celebrated our littlest one’s first birthday – our sweet Mateo. It was a joyous occasion filled with friends, family, and a fittingly adorable theme. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to check out my Instagram Reel for a glimpse into our celebration. In addition to Mateo’s birthday, I am personally celebrating another significant milestone: our breastfeeding anniversary!

For some, this might sound unusual or unfamiliar, but this achievement holds immense significance for me. Breastfeeding is often met with mixed emotions in our community, and while it may not be everyone’s journey, it has been a profoundly fulfilling experience for me. Reflecting on the second time around with my second baby, I realize how different it has been compared to my first journey. In this post, I want to share my experiences and the four factors that have helped me exclusively breastfeed. I hope this can help you if you’re expecting or have a newborn and are contemplating your breastfeeding journey.

My Personal Breastfeeding Journey

A year since Mateo’s birth, I find myself reflecting on an important milestone: our breastfeeding anniversary. I never imagined we would reach this point. When I first became a mami to Diego three years ago, my breastfeeding journey was vastly different. However, I’ve learned to embrace and celebrate both experiences, regardless of how they unfolded. In this post, I’ll discuss the distinct nature of my second breastfeeding journey and share the four components that made it successful:

  1. Reading Hunger Cues
  2. Trusting My Body
  3. Seeking Professional Help
  4. Leaning on Support Systems

Breastfeeding Diego: Lessons Learned

When I first became a mom to Diego, my breastfeeding journey was far from what I envisioned. I thought it would be a natural process – put him to the breast, and everything would fall into place. However, Diego didn’t latch well, and despite virtual doula support and countless webinars, I couldn’t get it right. Feeling desperate, I turned to formula on the pediatrician’s advice.

In hindsight, I realize I didn’t advocate for myself or seek out the right lactation professionals. This experience ended with me stopping breastfeeding five weeks postpartum, believing I had low milk supply. Although I fed Diego formula, I felt unfinished about breastfeeding. I later discovered the concept of relactation and with support, managed to partially breastfeed Diego, blending breast milk and formula – also known as combo feeding.

Breastfeeding Mateo: A Different Approach

With Mateo, I was more flexible and open to the journey. Despite some initial difficulties, such as his lack of interest in latching, I sought immediate professional help from an IBCLC through The Lactation Network. With their support, Mateo eventually latched, and I successfully developed a breastfeeding rhythm.

Here are the four components that made my breastfeeding journey with Mateo successful:

1. Reading Hunger Cues

I learned to trust Mateo’s hunger cues rather than relying on apps and timers. Understanding his needs allowed for a more relaxed breastfeeding experience. Babies have natural signals that indicate when they’re hungry or full, and learning to read these can make a significant difference.

2. Trusting My Body

Initially, I doubted my milk supply, but my lactation consultant helped me realize that I was producing enough. Trusting that my body was capable of nourishing my baby was a vital part of the process. It’s important to let go of anxiety about supply and trust that your baby knows best.

3. Seeking Professional Support

I reached out for professional support immediately. The Lactation Network was instrumental in connecting me with an IBCLC who guided me through the early weeks. Establishing this support network early on ensured that I had someone to turn to during challenging moments, like when I experienced mastitis.

4. Leaning on My Support System

Support from my husband Alex and my family was crucial. Alex was incredibly supportive, helping with Mateo’s feedings and making sure I had everything I needed. My mom also provided invaluable postpartum support, including making nourishing foods to boost my milk supply. This collective effort made the journey manageable and fulfilling.

Embracing Different Journeys

It’s essential to embrace and celebrate your breastfeeding journey, no matter how it unfolds. Whether you formula feed, combo feed, or exclusively breastfeed, what matters most is that you and your baby are healthy and happy. Breastfeeding can be a challenging journey, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Every journey is unique, and it’s important to find what works best for you and your baby.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my breastfeeding journey. I hope it offers insight and encouragement for moms at any stage of their journey. Remember, you’re not alone – there’s a community here to support you.

Episode Show Notes

In this solo episode, I celebrate my son’s first birthday and share an important personal milestone – our breastfeeding anniversary. I reflect on my experiences breastfeeding my two children, highlighting the challenges and differences I encountered. I discuss the struggles I faced with inadequate support during my first son’s breastfeeding journey and the successful strategies I employed the second time around. 

I also offer four key components that helped me exclusively breastfeed my second one and provide valuable tips for new and expecting mamis. Throughout the episode, I emphasize the importance of trusting your body, seeking professional support, and leaning on your support system. 

Tune in to hear my insightful advice, relatable stories, and to feel empowered in your breastfeeding journey!

Resources Mentioned:

About Jessica Cuevas

Jessica is the founder and creator of Viva la Mami, LLC a community centered around Latina motherhood. Jessica created this platform after not finding empowering stories about experiences of Latina moms. She realized that there was a lack of representation in this space and felt there was a need for mamis to share their stories and to learn more about the nuances about motherhood through a cultural lens.

Viva la Mami’s mission is to empower the modern Latina mom to redefine the meaning of madrehood through education, story-telling, and cultural relevance all while bringing comunidad together.

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