When you think you’ve got it all figured out…

So here we were, settling into our routine really well, she started sleeping well in her crib, she was eating quite regularly, and BAM. All of a sudden she didn’t want to sleep unless she was ON someone and she started cluster feeding. And for those of you who doesn’t know what cluster feeding is. It’s when she eats, ALL THE F’KING TIME. I have never been more grateful for being able to just text my doula and ask what’s up cause I was going completely crazy. It’s not only that she eats for a long time, it’s that she eats for like 15 minutes, let go, sleeps for 2 minutes, and then wakes up hungry again, and goes on like that for TWO HOURS. So every time she lets go you think she’s done, but noooo. And little did I know, that was just the beginning. Last night she was eating for the most part of FIVE HOURS.

BUT after I got the respons from my doula that it was normal and that she might go on like that for some time, I realized that there was no point going crazy but just get settled on the couch and try to relax. This apparently happens because they’re in a growth spurt and start needing more milk so they eat like crazy to promote the production. And it also means that I need to eat and drink more, and feel even more thirsty than usually (usually is already a hung-over-as-f’-feel).

However, since our girl haven’t really gained weight as she should, we have gone to the nurse once a week to keep track. And this week she had gained perfectly, more than any other week before. And I also get to catch up on friends, cause watching the whole serie 15 times obviously isn’t enough.

Well she has just started to sleep in her bed a little again, and today she slept quite a lot. Well let’s just agree that having a baby means working on being flexible and patient. I am not giving up on create a routine though, I’m just realizing there will be more bumps on the road than I might have thought.

Tips for anyone going through this

  • Get yourself a bunch of awesome snacks
  • Choose some books to read and stuff to watch on netflix
  • Call your loved ones, what better time to be on the phone then when you’re stuck on the couch. Or if you live closer to yours than I do, why don’t you invite them over so you also have someone who can do stuff for you and bring you stuff while you sit there.
  • Get out anyway, good time to practice being comfortable with breastfeeding in public
  • Allow yourself to take a break, Jesus Christ you’ll need it.

Breastfeeding

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.

The koala position looks like this

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.

Our first days at home

So we got home from the hospital and the first thing to do was introducing little Emma to the dogs. She was sleeping so she didn’t even notice them, but they were really confused and also excited. We put her down in the car seat for just a little so they could smell her and then we decided to wait a while. They were confused and a little stressed for a little while but they got used to her being around pretty quickly.

It was so amazing to come home. But also completely surreal. All of sudden we’re just here with this little baby. She slept most of the evening the first night. And we just sat on the couch just letting it all sink in. Anna came home and got to meet little Emma for the first time.

We’ve just spent the last days figuring it all out, trying to learn and get to know her. I had decided to breastfeed, and one would think that the baby just latches on and that’s that. But it’s actually quite complicated. What position to hold the baby, for the baby to latch properly, for the milk to come in, which usually takes 3-5 days. And the pain…

The personal at the hospital tried to be helpful but I ended up just feeling super stressed and I was questioning if I even wanted to breastfeed. The baby is of course also more fussy since she’s not getting proper milk and you try and try while it feels like someone is ripping your nipples off. But when we got home I felt more comfortable and got tips and advice from our doula both with how to do it and also for creams and tricks for it not to hurt as much.

With some practice and the most amazing nipple cream we started to get a hang of it and the milk finally came through. It made everything a lot easier since when she’s hungry she eats and then sleeps, while before she would latch on for a while, still not be satisfied, cry again and then it went on and on like that. Now she sleeps like an angel.

I do believe that we’re pretty lucky. FOR NOW (I will probably regret saying this) she’s easy to get to sleep, the breastfeeding is going well and she’s just so cuddly and cute.