16 Days Post Partum
Holy emotional roller coaster!
I guess I was naive in thinking that breastfeeding was a natural and automatic skill set that babies had with their moms. Maybe too many National Geographic episodes, seeing mammals gravitate to their mothers right after birth for food.
To my surprise, right after birth within the first 30 minutes-hour, the nurses asked me to put Easton on my chest to see if he would latch to my boobs and if colostrum/milk would come… none came. I ended up squeezing some colostrum out enough to fill half a teaspoon which to my surprise is all that he needed for Day 1 of life.
The next day, while still in the hospital as they had to run the 24-hour tests/exams on both me and Easton, they brought in a lactate specialist who helped me for an hour or so to try to get Easton to latch, again no luck. They shared that Easton would need to eat every 2 1/2-3 hours (at least 8 times a day and the ounces would vary depending on how many days old he is). Since he was not latching they showed me how to use a breast pump machine, and supplemented the rest of what he needed through formula.
For the first 5 days the routine was pretty much the same… tried to get him to latch to my breast, him rejecting, feeding him my pumped breastmilk first, and then supplementing with formula to get his needed servings.
Day 6 was a breakthrough day! I successfully was able to pump enough milk to stop formula, and we haven’t gone back since! Also on day 6 tried a nipple protector to try to feed Easton. It worked for a couple minutes and really thought this would be the best way to transition to breastfeeding. After doing this for 2 days and tearing up my breasts by taping these protectors on, met with a lactating consultant again … and decided that pumping and bottle feeding would be the best option for us. It would allow us to feed him more regularly, would still give him the benefits of my immunity support through my milk, getting help throughout the late ours from Jeff to be able to feed, and less meltdowns for both Easton and me.
To be honest, at least at first (and sometimes even now), feel like I have not been able to properly provide for my son since I couldn’t do it the natural way. What I am coming to realize is that having a baby latch and breastfeed is a common challenge for moms and that I am not the only one. In fact, many moms have already reached out to me to share they too could not do breastfeeding and to provide their emotional support. This has meant a lot.
Today marks 16 days PP and can say Easton has gained 21 ounces since his last check-in, which the pediatrician shared today means he is getting enough to eat and is healthy from where he had started. This to me is the most important thing… our little baby is healthy, progressing along as he is supposed to!
Some tips that I have found has worked for me to increase my pumping milk output:
Drink at least half my weight in water
Pump every 2-3 hours to train my body to continue to produce milk
Have the right size flange for the pump, the sizes that came with the pump were too big, and when I reduced the size the output increased
The white duckbills for the bottles are needed to get the milk to come out. I washed these and forgot to put them back and no milk came out. Once I realized what I had done and put them back on, it worked!