Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Breastfeeding - The First 2 weeks

Breastfeeding has been going well overall. I researched it a lot during the last month of pregnancy because I knew it wouldn't be easy at first. I nursed her twice immediately after she was born because I read it's best to put baby to breast while they are still very alert after delivery. I had the instinct to nurse her immediately, but I felt shy about it because I'd never done it before. I asked my midwife "should I feed her?" and she said "yes, definitely!" and showed me how to get her latched on properly. When we were transferred to the Mother & Baby Unit the nurse we had overnight was very helpful in showing me how to feed her which was great. I still had a few bad latches while I was learning though and it was enough to make my nipples crack and bleed. They are almost completely healed now, but it was VERY painful for the first 10 seconds after she latched on while they were healing. It felt like she was feeding non-stop until her jaundice cleared, so I'm sure that didn't help the healing process. I just clenched my teeth until it stopped hurting and told myself that many women go through the same thing while learning to breastfeed. I pumped a few times in the first week to relieve the engorgement in my breasts when my milk came in, but I hate pumping and haven't done it since. 

During the nights, when she wakes up a bit in her sleep, we rock her and try to encourage her to fall back asleep so we can get some longer stretches of sleep. During the day, I feed her on demand. She seems to cluster feed and then sleep for a few hours. When she wakes up though? She is starving. She cries as if it's been forever since her last feed, when it's probably only been 2 1/2 hours. She goes from a sleeping angel to a red-faced, frustrated girl in 10 seconds flat. She arches her back and stiffens her neck while she's crying so I can't move her head towards my boob. It's as if she's saying "Feed me noooowwww!" and I'm saying "Here! Here it is! Take it!" while spraying milk all over her face. Even though it only takes a few seconds until she finds the boob, we're both wet and sticky when she starts to eat. And then? She sucks with such force she chokes herself, pulls off and starts crying again. Then of course I have to burp her while she's crying because I know she's just swallowed a ton of air (fortunately, those burps are very quick to come out.) This whole process repeats 3 or 4 times before she is finally calm enough to peacefully nurse for 20 minutes or so. I'm pretty sure (because I am the research queen, so obviously I googled it) that I have a "forceful letdown" or an overabundant milk supply. Until now, I've only fed her at home so this hasn't been a big deal, but I don't know how I'll be able to feed her in public under a nursing cover with these kind of antics. I have tried the nursing cover once or twice, but I definitely prefer to nurse her without it. Unfortunately, breastfeeding in public makes people uncomfortable so I'll have to get used to the cover. 

At our checkup on Tuesday, V weighed 7.5 pounds. Up from 6 pounds 10 ounces at birth. She's certainly a hungry girl! 

3 comments:

  1. This gives me hope! I remember my sister said there was nothing appealing about breastfeeding... and how she and the baby were both just sticky and covered in milk... which is why she never stuck with it. But I am so determined to make it work! Sounds like you've found your groove, and fairly quickly, too. Hopefully I'll have a similar experience. Thanks for these posts, they are very helpful, and I can definitely see myself coming back to them in a few weeks.

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  2. I could be wrong since I haven't breastfed before, but I think after a few weeks, your milk production will level out to what V needs and you won't be making an overabundant milk supply which hopefully will help with the forceful let down. Maybe pump for a few minutes before feeding her so that it's not as strong?

    I'm so glad to hear a happy breastfeeding story, it seems like there are so many negative ones out there which makes me nervous! I'm determined to make breastfeeding work, however, so I may lean on you for advice!

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  3. I love your dedication to doing what's best for her no matter what. It's actually really great to hear you don't like pumping and are partial to BF'ing. I'm pretty nervous about my ability to do it too once baby comes, and I anticipate hurdles and the learning process. Reading your experiences are great for a FTM like me, so thank you for sharing so openly!

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