While pregnant I had read a lot about breastfeeding and how it’s not as easy as it seems. Well, I still thought, how hard can it really be? and I also thought, once you’ve got it down there’s no problem. and also, that they baby at least knew how it works. Ha ha ha.
We’ve struggled a bit. First of all, who knew it takes a few days for milk to actually come through? Well I didn’t. Those first days were horrible, she didn’t sleep as well, some of the staff in the hospital made me feel super stressed, and the baby was crying more because she didn’t get enough food.
Then there’s the whole latch thing. With what you’ve seen you would think that you just put the baby close to your breast and they’ll do the rest. Oh oh no. They need the exact right everything for it to work, you need to latch them on in the right position, in the right angle, at the right time. If not, you’re nipple will be destroyed, and your breasts too. I had heard that it could hurt, but I had no idea. My nipples were all scared up, even bleeding and don’t even get me started on the pain in my breasts. I ended up using nipple shields, and I got help from our doula to find the right position.
The one that really works for us is the koala position, using nipple shields, and holding her lower lip down to make sure her mouth is really open when latching. Finally it worked, and didn’t hurt. Until I tried different nipple shields and it started hurting again. Yes it’s a whole science.
So at least after all of this it’s all good, you would think ha haaa. Oh no. So we thought we got it all down and it was working full well. She hadn’t gained weight properly with the struggles, but then she did, she gained what she was supposed to one week and we thought it was all good. Until we went back five days later and she’d only gained 5 grams… oh my god, what now. And let me tell you the doctors and nurses here are not super supportive about it, especially if you want to keep trying with breastfeeding, they want to shove formula down your throat using scare tactics. Good thing we’ve had the help of our doula and a friend of my mothers who is a breastfeeding specialist, otherwise we would have given up.
So with the weight problem I got really worried that something was wrong with my milk. What didn’t make sense was that she seemed completely content and full, so it couldn’t be my supply, but maybe it could be the milk in itself that wasn’t good enough.
I would breastfeed her for about 30 minutes every 3 hours, and she would fall asleep over and over while eating, I had to keep her up while eating and sometimes wake her up to eat. So logically one would think she was done. Well turns out babies can be really lazy.
I spend the last days making sure she was done, using all the tricks in the book to keep her up, a wet cold washcloth on her back or her forehead, undressing her, changing her in the middle of feeding. And even when she let go, I would offer her twice on each side and have her let go by herself each time. I also fed her every 2 hours during the day and every 3 hours during the night, for an hour at a time, which means I’ve basically only been nursing these last days. I also pumped in the morning and supplemented with that milk twice a day to really make sure she got enough.
And WOHO she gained weight!! So it turns out, nothing it wrong with me, the milk or the baby, she’s just lazy. So now we’re hoping this will continue, and that she will start eating more efficiently.