I thought I would document my first week of breastfeeding this time around. I wish I had done it with Sadie to a) compare and b) remember what my experience was. I was so delirious last time that I can’t actually remember what day it was I quit or when I started supplementing with formula etc. Plus, I would have liked to read some other mum’s journals of the first week of breastfeeding just to see if I was having similar experiences. I know everyone is different but if it might help another mum then why not?
He’s here! All 7lbs 1oz of him. Baby Lucas. 🙂 (Full birth story here).
Our first feed was in the post-op bay after we got out of theatre. The midwife helped me get him latched and said they would have the feeding team come and see me later on for a full overview but for now to just enjoy the first feed. I remember really clearly this ‘wooosh!’ of oxytocin when Sadie latched for the first time but I didn’t get that this time with Lucas. I had a bit of a reaction to the spinal this time so I’m not sure if that making me feel sick had anything to do with it.
He latched pretty well each time it was time to feed all through the day. The feeding team came to talk to me about a few things and help me get him latched a few times; he got named ‘the angry baby’ because he gave very few cues that he was hungry before just squealing for the boob. They told me that the way he was feeding I was in for quite a rough night of cluster feeding so I was mentally prepared. Kind of. He fed nearly all night. I think because it was the first night and this was the part I had been looking forward to/preparing for, I coped quite well considering. I was shattered the next day but the adrenaline you have from having the baby keeps you going.
In the day Lucas is doing well; he’s feeding approximately every 3 hours. Cluster feeding is a bitch. My nipples are so sore and its been really difficult to get him to latch. He doesn’t do the wide open mouth that I’m waiting for and so I have to try and navigate the squirmy newborn into a position, hold his arms out of the way, hold his neck to get him latched while also trying to pull his lower jaw down slightly. I need about 6 arms!
The cluster feeding got slightly too much for me tonight; he was just never off me for hours and after hour 4, I caved and called the Midwife for help. He just wasn’t settling after any feed and was being so fussy. At this point I had had about 4hours sleep in 2 days so the support worker suggested topping him up with some Donor Breastmilk. We gave him 15mls and he seemed more settled. We also started swaddling him which seemed to help.
The midwife could see I wasn’t 100% happy about giving donor milk so she suggested I express some into a syringe. I got 0.9mls which after 30 minutes of hand expressing is disheartening. I doubt I had much left in my boobs though considering I had just fed for 4 hours straight.
Unfortunately, he only settled for 15mins after we finished expressing and then he threw up all the donor feed he had just had so I had to get his sheets changed and then that woke him up and he was back to being unsettled. Eventually, at 4am the midwife suggested she take him out to reception to let me sleep a little so he went to have a cuddle with the support worker. They brought him back in after an hour and I had passed out immediately.
The midwife came to see me in the morning and could see I was nearly breaking so got the feeding team to come and talk to me. I explained that my nipples really couldn’t take anymore; they watched me latch and I explained how he never does the wide mouth that I need. They quickly confirmed a tongue tie and unfortunately there isn’t anyone to do it at the hospital for 3 weeks! In the meantime, they have given me nipple shields to use to help him latch and protect my poor nips!
I also have to start pumping regularly so that I have top ups for him if needed and to boost my supply a little. The whole plan sounded horrendous and just not what I had in mind for breastfeeding; I was ready to quit and go onto formula there and then. I didn’t like the idea of a barrier between me and him and I didn’t want to start expressing until my milk had established at around 6 weeks. After thinking about it and discussing it with Phil I decided to try the plan, at least until my milk came in. I never made it to my milk coming in with Sadie so that was my new goal this time.
I had another knackering night but it was easier this time because Phil stayed the night at the hospital. It made it easier for me because I wasn’t in pain trying to get Lucas in and out of the cot and when he wouldn’t settle Phil fed him some of the top up I got earlier in the day (7ml) so I managed to get some sleep. Plus my milk started coming in the early hours of the morning so that helped. Woke up feeling more positive; happy that I will have my own milk as top ups rather than formula which is my only other option.
Discussed our feeding plan with the feeding team again to make sure I know whats going on. Phil went home to take Sadie to nursery so I got all packed up and ready to leave. I pumped one more time and managed to get 23mls so it’s nice to see that my supply is building. My lovely friend is loaning me her pump and I managed to get 80mls today which made me feel like superwoman. He is latching better with the shields too.
Midwife came today and said my latch was good and that I was doing well. She said that if I need to I can always use some of the expressed milk as an actual feed instead of top ups so Phil can help and I can get some sleep.
Feel brilliant today because Lucas was so good throughout the night. He woke up every 4 hours for an hour each time and settled right after. After talking to the midwife yesterday, Phil was actually supposed to do the early morning feed so I could ‘sleep in’ but Lucas didn’t wake up until 8am by which point I was awake. Phil still offered to do the feed but I felt quite awake and my right boob which hadn’t been fed from for 6 hours was enormous and rock hard. It was actually nice to get Lucas feeding and I could actually feel it deflate! The rest of the day was pretty much as easy as the night; hope he feeds again like this tonight!
Last night was horrendous. Lucas cluster fed from 12-3am non stop. He took another hour to settle down so I didn’t sleep until around 4am and then he was awake again at 6am, 7am and 9am to feed. So tired today and had another conversation with Phil about whether to move onto formula because I cant do that every night. I was quite weepy today and think I’m having my ‘Baby Blues’ day. She reminded me to get Phil to do a feed if needed which I completely forgot about last night. I think because I see it as being so precious that I feel like I need to save it until I’m desperate but I need to start using it to save me feeling like this.
We also asked the midwife about using a dummy to help him settle which I’ve heard mixed things about. It is a nice idea not using a bit of plastic as comfort for him when he could have me but I do need to sleep as well or I’m no good to him. I was more concerned about nipple confusion and disrupting his feeding pattern. The midwife said that he will always let me know when he’s hungry so it wont disturb his feeding pattern. I know his feeding cues so if he’s fussy to just look for them and if I’m not seeing any or if I’ve just fed him and its been a good feed, a dummy wont hurt him. Nipple confusion was also something I didn’t really need to worry about because I was expressing and giving him the odd bottle, plus using nipple shields so he was already having different ‘nipples’.
Last night was better. He only woke twice through the night but he fed for about an hour and a half each time. The problem I’m having with the night feeds is that as soon as they move onto the heavy sucking, I instantly start doing the nodding dog. Apparently the hormones that are released as they settle into a rhythm makes you want to sleep so trying to keep my eyes open and not smother him is so hard. I’ll admit I have drifted a few times, never long enough or deep enough to be too dangerous but I need to maybe start getting up and sitting in an uncomfortable chair to feed to stop myself from sleeping. My C-section scar is really hurting today again so Phil is having to get him in and out the moses basket for me too which is meaning both of us are quite tired.
He is a week old today! I set myself a goal at the beginning to try and make it to when my milk came in which I hit and then it was to make it to a week. I have been drinking a ton of water since having him to keep my supply up along with a lot of milk and eating porridge. My boobs feel very full of a morning so I think its working.
I had my first time of feeding in public this morning which was a little odd. Its so much more of a faff when I have to put these nipple shields on. Its a lot harder to be discreet. Luckily it was at my daughters weekly play group class so no one really cares. I think I’ll be a little more stressed out when it’s in a cafe or somewhere like that and I have to whip my whole boob out to get the shield attached.
He has been a little snuffly today which has made his latching harder I think. The local Homestart group called me today to see how I was getting on and I asked them if the nipple shields could be effecting the ‘feedback’ system but they assured me that there would still be some of his saliva hitting my boob so it would still be working. They also advised me to do more skin to skin.
He didn’t feed to bad last night except we think his witching hour is around midnight. He was screaming and he didn’t want boob, he was clean and dry, he had just fed 30 minutes before. The only thing that worked was cuddles on my chest. Which I didn’t mind doing 🙂 He fell asleep at 12:30 and went into the basket afterwards and stayed asleep until about 3am for his first feed.
I felt knackered this morning so Phil did the 5am feed with some of the expressed we had left over.
So thats the first week! I’ll do some updates as we go, maybe monthly and let you know how its going. Let me know if you would be interested in a Tips & Tricks/What Worked for Me blog and I’ll get working on one.
I’ve also used 3 different pumps in this first week so if you guys would be interested in a review of each I can do another blog on that too. 🙂