Before Jasper was born I always just assumed that breastfeeding was as simple as baby crying, putting baby to boob and baby feeding till they were full.
I’d seen all these ‘how-to’ books, been told by a few women that it’s tricky and even seen my friends in pain and make the decision to give up but I was still really naive to how it would actually be for me.
I’d had breast implants in Feb 2013 so not too long before I fell pregnant with little Rabbit. They were still pretty numb from the nipple down and I’d been told would take a year to settle; so they hadn’t even healed before I started getting sensitive nipples and swelling from pregnancy!
My only concern was that the augmentation would mean I couldn’t produce milk, I’d been told I would but it was in the back of my head. That was my only concern though, I never took into account the pain of feeding, the various conditions that your boobs can develop or the difficulty it could take for Rabbit to be able to feed. He had to learn to root, latch and suck. He also had to be alert, hungry and know when to stop. All of that added onto timings and positions made our breastfeeding routine a tricky yet very rewarding one!
I’m going to do another post on how I’m coping with feeding but this is just on how me and Rabbit got off to a tricky breastfeeding start but soon developed a routine.
As soon as Rabbit was born we did skin to skin and he latched on – as easy as that I thought! But after a couple of minutes I had a feeling nothing was happening so the midwife said not to worry and we’d try later.
Apart from when he was born Rabbit didn’t cry until we got him home. The Pethadin made him very chilled out and all he did was sleep or take in his surroundings. Because of this I had to really make an effort to wake him to feed. I’d have to undress him, change his nappy, do skin on skin and then try – needless to say it was pretty tiring and frustrating. We had to stay in for 12 hours anyway to observe him since he’d pooped but the midwives recommended we stayed in until he fed properly too which could have been a couple of nights depending on the little man. I was more than happy to take their support even though I really wanted to be at home with Pete on our first night as Jaspers parents.
Jasper didn’t show any signs of wanting to feed so when it reached 24 hours the midwife, with my consent, decided to give him a small amount of Aptimil bottle milk via a cup. The little genius had skipped breast and bottle and gone straight to the cup – so advanced lol
She told me that as he’d not only pooped inside me but was also jaundice he had to feed every 3 hours or his blood sugar levels would drop, he’d become more sleepy and would be in a bad cycle ending up back in hospital. This scared me but put the right amount of pressure on me to persist with feeds!
While she was doing that she taught me how to hand express by making a c shape with my hand and drawing my fingertips from the boob towards the nipple. After 5 minutes and a bit of doubt, milk appeared! That was my first fear over. I could produce milk so it was now up to me and Rabbit to work together to feed! I expressed into a syringe and although only got 0.3mg was very proud. We popped it into the fridge and gave it to him for his next feed to keep him topped up while we were still trying to get the hang of feeding properly.
After a few tries, the cradle hold, rugby hold and crossover hold he latched on. It took a few goes but he then sucked and I was so proud I buzzed for the midwife to come and see! I said I’d like to wait for his next feed to try the other boob so I knew I’d be confident feeding at home. 3 hours later, he’d fed from the other boob so myself and the midwifes were happy for us to go home. It was such a great feeling to call Pete and tell him we could come home; great but also a little daunting as it made me realise I was on my own with the feeding!
His first few days I had to wake him every 3 hours. I started setting alarms every 2 1/2 as I knew it would take me a while to get him undressed, nappy changed and even then I’d have to annoy him by tickling his feet and neck till he was alert enough to feed. I felt a little worried that he never seemed hungry enough to wake himself up, and he was also sick a few times. It looked like a lot of sick so I was concerned he wasn’t keeping anything down.
On day 3 while my midwife was visiting, my milk kicked in. It was actually while he was feeding she asked me if it had come yet that a load of milk dribbled out of the side of his mouth – thats one way to answer her question!
On day 5 he’d put on a good amount of weight which meant that even though he wasn’t waking to feed and was being sick, he was still getting enough milk – such a relief!
On day 6 we started demand feeding. On a couple of occasions I’d set my alarm and fall asleep but he would then wake me up about 10 mins later; I then knew that I could start to follow his lead with the feeds. We’re now into a great routine. He feeds just before I go to sleep, usually 11-12ish. He then wakes me up around 2-3 for a quick feed and then again in the morning between 5 and 6 – around the time that Pete gets up anyway.
Feeds take so much less time now as I’m not having to spend ages waking him up. When he wakes up, he’s hungry and latches on straight away!
It took us about a week to get into a great routine which I’m really proud of! However I’m now in week 2 and have hit a few speed bumps – cluster feeding and mastitis being the big ones! I’m going to post about these separately as I think breastfeeding requires more than one post!
A successful week 1 – high 5 Rabbino!
I’d love to hear your breastfeeding experiences, please feel free to leave links to any posts!
Thanks for reading 🙂