Why Breastfeeding Is So Much Easier With Baby #2

breastfeeding baby

If you struggled initially to breastfeed your first baby, well, join the club! Nursing is hard to get the hang of at the outset. Yet if more kids are in your future, here's some good news: Breastfeeding really is easier the second time.

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Which makes sense, since breastfeeding is a skill, and skills are easier to resume than learn from scratch. It's the difference between learning to ride a bike and hopping on one a decade later: You may be rusty, but those skills -- of getting baby to latch, of various ways to hold baby while nursing, and more -- quickly come back.

But this new study says it's more than that. According to research on pregnant mice by Camila dos Santos of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, the brain isn't the only thing that remembers how to breastfeed. Your body remembers, too.

The gist: During pregnancy your breast tissue expands considerably, and permanently loses certain marks called "methyl groups" which stem milk production. That means during your second pregnancy, there's nothing to stop your breast glands from churning out milk as soon as the time is right.

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Plus, those milk ducts continue to expand during a second pregnancy, which explains why moms produce more milk the second time around.

To me, this makes total sense that the body would "remember" milk production and, given they've produced milk before, be able to spring into action again far more easily. To me, it's the difference between building a milk factory from the ground up to make milk, and just reviving a dormant milk factory to make more.

So if you're bracing yourself for a steep uphill struggle to breastfeed subsequent kids, rest easy! You've got a lot more going for you this time around.

Was breastfeeding easier the second time for you?

 

Image via Soloviova Liudmyla/shutterstock

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