Before I had my baby, I knew that breastfeeding would be hard. I knew that it would take blood, sweat, tears, dedication and frustration. I knew that it would hurt. It's getting better, but I sure didn't expect all the roadblocks we've had so far!
2 days old: When home from the hospital, Leia was eating around the clock. Like, almost constantly and sleeping very little. I didn't know if this was normal or not - I figured she was working hard to make my milk come in so I nursed her most of the time. And it really hurt to breastfeed!
3 days old: We had a routine doctor checkup. Normal weight loss is 10%, and she had lost 10.5% of her body weight (down to 7 lbs., 10 oz.). The doctor and we weren't too concerned, but he had us come back the following day to see if she was any better.
4 days old: Back at the doctor after nursing constantly for 24 hours, she had lost 2 more ounces. And she had a fever - which is a big concern in a baby this young. It can be a sign of infection, and when you're that small an infection can spread very quickly.
This was probably the worst day of my life. We were admitted to the hospital so that she could receive antibiotics via IV in case she had an infection. They gave her:
- A urinary catheter to take a pee sample and check for bladder infection
- A spinal tap to take a sample of spinal fluid and check for infection there
- And they took a blood sample to check for blood infection
It was horrible! My poor baby was so brave, but it was just awful to watch her cry and not be able to comfort her:(
They gave us a hospital room and she was given fluids and antibiotics through an IV. If she had an infection, they couldn't wait the 2 days for results because it had to be taken care of immediately.
My milk was coming in at this time, finally.
5 days old: Baby girl got up to 8 pounds - but mostly due to the IV fluids they were giving her. James and I stayed in the hospital with her and I nursed her, as well as used a hospital pump to supplement with bottles after feeding.
6 days old: Leia got up to 8 lbs., 3 oz. and we were released from the hospital. The test results revealed no infection, and it was decided that her fever was due to dehydration because she was getting little to no milk from me yet.
|In the hospital :(|
7-9 days old: We rented a hospital grade pump so that I could continue to supplement at home (all along I'd been pumping more than she was eating). Unfortunately, she decided that she hates bottles and pretty much refused to take them. We were able to get very little additional milk into her body.
It finally stopped hurting to breastfeed, so that's the one bright side.
10 days old: We went to our doctor's office for a weight check up - 8 lbs., 1 oz. Our doctor wasn't too worried because her 8 lbs., 3 oz. weight from a few days earlier was not necessarily accurate (again - the IV fluids).
12 days old: Weight check at the Lactation Center: 8 lbs. So disappointing and frustrating! I broke down and cried right there. They gave us a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to use, which did work to get food into her. We were able to supplement more than ever before with that thing, though it's a pain in the ass to use and took literally an hour to get her to eat an ounce.
15 days old: Weight check again: 8 lbs. WTF!! We were told to up supplementation of breastmilk to 2 oz. per feeding - before they just said to give her whatever we can. I wish they'd given us an amount before.
Sadly, I had to give her formula on this day :( I hate it - it's one of the top things I never wanted to do as a parent - but I had to decide that it was more important that she eats something, than that she doesn't eat formula. In this case, I had to admit that formula was medically necessary (and I'm not one to say that! I never would have thought I'd do this a month ago).
My milk production was just a little behind her consumption, so I had to give 2 ounces of formula a day for about a week (even though I pumped 8 times a day trying to increase my supply). Other than that week, she gets all breastmilk.
17 days old: 8 lbs, 2 oz. :) She started to hate the bottle less so it got easier. But please note... it did not get easy. All I did day and night was nurse, bottle feed, pump. When baby was sleeping, I had to pump. Then get a few minutes a break, then start the cycle again. Can you say exhausting?!
18 days old: 8 lbs., 4 oz. Finally, this is working. I picked up a prescription for Reglan, which is a drug that increases milk supply. I never thought I'd have to go to these lengths, but I'm so glad it's an option!
22 days old: 8 lbs., 10 oz. The LC I'd been seeing multiple times a week thought that my milk supply was finally up to a sufficient level, with the help of Reglan and my all-day-every-day pumping. She said that for the next 24 hours, I could breastfeed only (as long as Leia seemed satisfied) to see if she gained at least an ounce that way.
23 days old: 8 lbs., 12 oz.! It's so great to just be a "normal" mom - all I have to do is nurse my baby. Sooo much easier!
24 days old: We went to our first Mommy and Me group, where she weighed in at 8 lbs., 14 oz. Now I don't have to go to the Lactation Center or Pediatrician multiple times a week, I'll just go to Mommy and Me weekly-ish and can weigh her there. I'm finally confident that my body is feeding her and it's fabulous. I'm so thankful that I can breastfeed my baby!!