Friday, January 27, 2012

Birth Story, Part 3 {Breastfeeding Woes}

Birth Story, Part 1 is here.
Birth Story, Part 2 is here.

After 18 hours of labor, a c-section, Liam finally being born and then being wheeled off to our new room for recovery, we were in store for a whole lot more unexpected experiences.  I guess no matter what you thought would happen or planned for, the whole birth and after effects can go a million different ways!

Given the nature of my delivery, I was kept on the epidural, along with my preeclampsia meds, for 24 hours postpartum.  This meant the catheter was still in and I couldn't move my lower half - I was starting my new role as a mom bedridden.  So my husband was on 100% parental duty for the both of us right away.

Thankfully he is an awesome dad, and was from the minute I went into labor.  He got to change all the diapers (the nice nurse helped him with the first one of black tar - meconium) and do all the swaddling for the first 24 hours.  He would bring Liam to me when ever he was ready to eat and I'd nurse, then he'd take him back and rock him to sleep - basically everything but feed. I felt pretty useless.

I felt even more useless when two days later (after two consecutive morning weigh ins) we came to find out poor baby boy had lost over 10% of his weight (when docs start to worry).  He wasn't getting enough from me.  Due to the meds I was on and surgery I'd had, I was very dehydrated and therefore delayed in getting the right amount of colostrum & milk in.  Poor sweet baby was so hungry and had spent the night before we discovered this crying inconsolable.  We were told to stay another night in the hospital (our 4th recovery night & 5th night all together) so we could make sure he didn't loose even more weight.

Per the recommendation of our pediatrician and the horror of the lactation consultants, we supplemented with some formula on the Friday after he was born (born Tuesday morning) in the hospital to get him caught up.
He guzzled the formula down and was immediately a different baby... satisfied and sleepy!

By the next day (Saturday - go home day) my supply seemed to have come in and he was off formula.  I've been nursing him since, though not without further bumps in the road (and some supplementation)...

More on how breastfeeding has been going at home later.  But just want to make sure all those soon-to-be mamas out there know that there isn't just one right way and things don't always go according to plan.  If you plan to nurse, just know it is hard work.  But if you keep trying it gets better!

Visit me and my mothership blog - Chasing Davies


  1. He's a beautiful baby! I had a very hard time nursing - wasn't producing a thing! Turns out that my pregnancy had created a thyroid condition for me that I still deal with today. And somehow that was connected with production. I cried and cried over giving my guy formula, but he seems to be a pretty happy 4 year old these days! And you are right - have to do what's best for the babe and not worry about the judgey mommies, b/c they do exist. :(

  2. I ended up with a raging case of PPD and PPA (a story for another time--but awareness of them has become a passion of mine). Breatstfeeding was never a problem, but I couldn't pump--like, at all. Every time I hooked up that machine, I started crying--only after intervention by my therapist, my OB, AND our pediatrician did I listen to reason and stop trying to pump. To me, it seemed like the hugest failure at the time--I wasn't doing everything right, I wasn't doing 'the best possible' for my kid, I wasn't putting my kid before myself, yada yada yada. But packing away that machine saved my life, I'm pretty sure.

    So, we started supplementing whenever I wasn't around for The Pup to 'eat from the source.' SO not a big deal. He didn't care at all, never had a single problem with the formula, never cared about bottle v. breast, NOTHING. The kid did not go to the doctor for sickness until he was 14 months old, and he's been on his exact same percentile for height/weight since birth. He's smart and thriving. Formula saved my life--I'm not being overdramatic. I had hit the point where one thing was very close to sending me over a very scary edge--pumping became my personal symbol for everything terrifying and restricting about new motherhood. Letting it go--along with the notions that my child would be exclusively breast-fed until a year--was the best decision I made as a mother, as hard as it was.

    Stay strong, mama. You're doing the very best you can for your little man, and you're doing a great job. He will be happy and thrive with your love and attention, NOT just because of the boob!

  3. Good for you! Breastfeeding is hard, but so worth it. It's awesome that you're sticking with it...AND not beating yourself up for supplementing. Well done, Mama! :)

  4. Found your blog a while ago, in December, before I went to the hospital to give birth to our baby boy, who is now 1 month 1 week already... Thank you for the blog - what a sweet read! The breastfeeding vs formula issue in the hospital - we had exactly a similar experience with me not being able to fully feed the baby during the first day. Luckily, there was a really nice relaxed midwife who explained that giving the baby a little formula from a syringe will not automatically ruin all of our breastfeeding plans, but will provide all three of us a calm night to get used to the situation. And voila, my own milk was there the next day. I'm slightly angry with the lactation consultants for quite often making young mums believe all is fully ruined if you ever give your baby formula...SO not true.

    Excited about reading how Liam and you are developing and all the best from snowy and very cold Tallinn, Estonia!


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