So let me start the December series off.
Breastfeeding was a complete challenge for me from the get-go.
Before the baby came , I thought I was well prepared to breastfeed. I had talked to friends and cousins, remembered their advice and felt that since I am prepared, this is going to go smoothly.Besides I had read a lot of good stuff about breastmilk for the baby , so I had given myself no other option.
I was in the recovery room when they said I could feed the baby if I wanted to.(I had researched the hospital to make sure they would not take the baby away to the nursery, one of the many things I had been told). That session went great! She latched on like a pro and I thought easy-peasy!
I could not have been more wrong.
I was soon to be introduced to a dizzying array of breastfeeding language – supply issues, nipple confusion, falling asleep while feeding,pumping. You name it , we experienced it all.
First off , my milk came in on Day 5 .I did not know this. I was blissfully feeding the baby every few hours and thinking things are good.Well, not quite blissfully, as much bliss as the three Ps would allow. Pain, Percocet and Post Partum Blues.
When I went to the pediatrician to weigh her on day 4, the baby had lost weight. Everyone freaked out! Since the weight went below a certain percentage of birth weight, the pediatrician recommended formula.
So we gave her formula but kept up the nursing. When, to my relief ,the milk came in on Day 5 morning, I decided I would nurse the baby and then supplement with formula and wean her off formula gradually. I was not looking forward to cleaning bottles. Nursing seemed so much easier and it was almost a dream that needed to come true at that point.
But the baby was not interested in working hard to nurse when the bottle was so much easier. Besides she fell asleep a lot while nursing. All of this caused the baby not to take in too much milk and my supply fell.
So I went to the lactation consultant to help with my supply and baby’s nursing issues.
She measured the baby on a special scale before and after she nursed, to figure out how much milk she took in.Turned out Baby S would take in enough to maintain her weight but not to increase it as per the Lactation Consultant calculations.
So she asked me to nurse the baby, then pump and feed her in a bottle whatever she was not taking from me.That would increase my supply and her weight.
I was also to take fenugreek(methi) supplements to increase supply. Fenugreek is known in India to increase milk supply. My mom was making methi dosas for me anyway.
The lactation consultant also helped with the latch and also suggested methods like tickling the baby, massaging the breast to keep the milk flowing etc. to keep her awake when nursing. Without that visit I would not have been able to breastfeed. I am really grateful for that opportunity.
So a few more weeks of hard work, first nurse ,then pump and feed (each session would take an hour, a little break to grab a quick bite or shower and back to the next session).I was hearing voices from the pump,mostly scolding me, other times calling my baby’s name! I thought I was losing my mind before I read this.
I was tracking her formula versus breast milk supplements on a whiteboard. We slowly weaned off formula supplement to breast milk supplements in a bottle and then finally to exclusively breastfeed. Soon I could surf the web on my phone and feed her at the same time. How easy it was! Just how I had imagined it!
Now my daughter is 13 months old and still nursing.It was a lovely journey although with a rocky start.
I hope this helps some mom going through some or all of the issues I faced and needs some encouragement. I sure did a lot of times in the beginning and I got it from a lot of people.Hang in there! It gets better.
We are now working on weaning, thats entirely another story.