Breastfeeding is no joke! The first two weeks, especially, were difficult. They say breastfeeding isn’t painful if you’re doing it right, but I was doing it “right” and it often hurt like the dickens until week three when I had finally formed callouses. (Now past week four I can say there is little to no pain, thankfully). One week in I thought, “if this doesn’t get less painful I’m either going to live on painkillers like Ibuprofen or I’m going to quit in a few weeks.” In addition to breastfeeding being painful, it is quite the chore. Feeding every 2-3 hours for as long as baby wants, leaving little more than an hour to sleep or eat before needing to start again! I found myself thinking, “Ok, what are the benefits again, what are they!?! Why am I doing this?” Thankfully, Henry has gotten much more efficient. He also has gone longer stints between feedings at night.
How do you prepare for breastfeeding? You can read about it, but it’s more of a learn by doing type of thing. The most important part of breastfeeding for me was being patient with the newborn, because even though they have sucking instincts they don’t quite have it down. The more a newborn feeds the better they get at it and less time it takes, but the first two weeks are slow going. There are different methodologies for training a newborn to breastfeed, since we were in the hospital Henry and I learned their version. The nurses were strict about me feeding him every 2-3 hrs. They wouldn’t have me feed him more often because “then he might learn to snack,” and they wouldn’t have me feed him less often because he needed nourishment to grow. Then to encourage my milk supply they had me pumping after every feed. When the breasts are fully emptied it signals the body to make even more milk the next time. When a baby is allowed to feed on demand it teaches the mother’s body how much milk to produce. Due to the pumping procedure once it was time to go home I was producing enough milk for two babies! It is nice to know my body can manage twins, but for many days I was quite uncomfortable as I weaned myself off the pumping protocol.
There is a lot of fluctuation regarding supply in the first two months of breastfeeding. Both low supply and oversupply can bring difficulties. In low supply I’ve experienced a fussy underfed baby as well as the emotional difficulty of not being able to feed your baby. In oversupply I’ve experienced the pain of engorgement and in the worst case scenario–Mastitis.
Lastly, let me say the first few weeks I had been really nervous to nurse Henry in public. It is a good idea to learn to breastfeed without a shirt on, skin to skin. They say it helps baby’s natural instincts to kick in, but also it’s just easier for a new mom. I had no problem with that! However, learning to be modest was harder for me. Slowly, I learned to use nursing tanks and nursing covers. My favorite nursing cover so far is a shawl thing that covers me all around (like this one). The draw back is it’s quite warm inside and if Henry gets hot he stops eating. The other part of the equation to public nursing was the amount of time it took Henry to eat. Thankfully, he has become efficient and rarely takes more than 15 minutes. Five weeks into breastfeeding I felt comfortable enough that it wasn’t so scary to venture into public.
- Fatigue: I’m getting 5-7 hrs of sleep per day. It’s this high thanks to my mom, my mother in law and Husband’s help with Baby and the house work.
- Baby Blues: overwhelmed by how much our lives have changed and will change.
- Sore Breasts:
- Sore from overuse with pumping and nursing right now. I’m using an abundance of creams on the end to soothe. (Week 2).
- Sometimes they get sore from not enough use (engorgement) and sometimes the ends are sore from use (week3).
- Matitis: breast pain, fever, body aches, chills (week 3).
- Bleeding: still…
- Hip pain: not sure why (week 3).
- Night sweats: Must be hormones?
- Back Pain: I have no abdominal strength to support my back in lifting 10lbs (for example Baby Henry) constantly. I am working to regain muscles in my abs asap.
This week we were home from the hospital and adjusting to home life. All I had energy for was sleeping and feeding Baby, with an occasional Baby shower/bath. We had several visits from our close family members. Husband’s Birthday came while we were in the hospital, so kindly his family threw him an intimate party at our house this week. I was very thankful for their help in celebrating him, as I was unable to contribute.
Husband went back to work but as He works from home he has still been around to help with many things including taking care of dinner, doing all our dishes, and several diaper changes. Baby really enjoys spending time with His daddy, it’s so sweet to watch them interact! Jaundice is still an issue, we went to the doctor and got him tested twice this week. His numbers went up two points since the hospital and then down half a point. The goal is to nurse him well and sun him often, so his numbers go down. Thankfully the doctor said I could stop pumping after every nurse. We gave Henry his first bath and his first shower. He likes water, which I am very glad of. Do most babies like water? They were in water for nine months after all.. After shampooing his hair it got so fluffy, it’s hilariously cute!!!