I've been reading other new mom blogs the last few weeks and breastfeeding is obviously a hot topic for many of us right now. Sleep-deprived, trying to get to know our babies and figure out this breastfeeding thing.
So, today after Lily got up from a nap and it was time for her to eat, watching her while she nursed, I decided that I wanted to write about my experience with breastfeeding this time around.
In the hospital, after Lily was born and cleaned up, the nurse brought her over to me and asked, "Do you remember how to do this?"
Previously, I had explained my son was 10 1/2 and it had been a long time since I'd had a baby.
As the nurse handed Lily to me and I got her into position to nurse, I said, "I think so." at the same moment Lily latched on and began to eat. George and the nurse laughed while the nurse said, "Well, that was easy!"
(I, of course, looked at Lily's tongue to make sure she wasn't tongue-tied. She isn't. Andrew was and it was about 2 1/2 weeks before we realized it and 3 weeks when we got his tongue clipped and his nursing and weight finally improved.)
I was SOOOOO relieved that she was latching on, sucking and this was very natural for her.
I remember crying A LOT with Andrew and HATING breastfeeding. Well, until his tongue was clipped, that is.
He was 8lb, 9oz when he was born. Dropped to 7lbs, 15oz. and stayed there for nearly 3 weeks. We went for weight checks every 2 or 3 days, met with a lactation consultant who confirmed the pediatrician's diagnosis of his tongue tie. He nursed every 1 1/2 for 30 minutes at a time, so I was nursing EVERY hour. Crying, not sleeping and HATING breastfeeding as a first time mom. I cried every time on the way home from the pediatrician's office thinking he was going to die.
At 3 weeks to the day, life became better for Andrew...and me. He was able to eat every 2 1/2-3 hours because he was FINALLY getting enough milk at each feeding.
Back to Lily...
The day she was born, of course, she was really sleepy and I woke her up every couple hours to try to nurse. She'd eat a little then fall back asleep. Her diapers were wet, she pooped and all was ok.
The next day, she seemed to be awake a little more and nursing every 3 hours seemed better for her. I was thrilled because I was relaxed and she was doing well. Later that day, EVERY freaking time, I'd start to nurse her, a nurse or a doctor or someone would come to take her for a test or blood or whatever else. So, then she'd come back and want to do NOTHING but sleep and I couldn't wake her up to nurse.
THAT day was the downfall.
Since she wasn't eating as she should be, she wasn't pooping as she needed to be which led to her jaundice and super high bilirubin when we got home, that made her very lethargic and sleepy i.e. not eating as she should.
That first week was pretty rough. No sleep, constantly trying to get her to nurse, milk slow to come in without enough stimulation. Honestly, just a cycle that I hope to never repeat.
She had lost more weight. THAT stressed me out along with her bilirubin being so high.
I really wanted to be able for her to breastfeed AT LEAST three months minimum...just for a great beginning.
Lily had her own set of visits to the pediatrician for weight checks and has gained a few ounces back, but not back to birth weight. The doctor has made some suggestions regarding nursing, listened to my previous experience with Andrew and how things are going with Lily --her feeding schedule, her wet/dirty diapers, her behaviors--and of course, how Lily checks out. We've seen 3 pediatricians in the first few weeks of Lily's life and each of them is surprised how physically strong she is. :)
I have tried nursing every 2 hours and then she spit up every time, so that was too much.
I have tried nursing only one side each feeding.
I have tried nursing then offering her 1/2 ounce to an ounce of pumped milk at the end.
She consistently wakes herself up every three hours hungry and ready to eat, so that seems to be what she needs. She eats for about 30 minutes, then is awake for about an hour before going to sleep. At our last weight check, the pediatrician felt that based on my history and experience with Andrew as well, that I may just have babies with high metabolisms and it takes them a little longer to get started --especially coupled with the other beginning issues (Andrew's tongue tie and Lily's jaundice).
She's alert when she's awake and her output is good, her latch is good, she's swallowing appropriately...all the things the lactation consultant and pediatricians have suggested, she's doing.
We go back again next week for another weight check, so we'll see where she weighs in.