Monday, January 30, 2012

feeding the baby

when you're pregnant, everyone tells you that breastfeeding is a learned skill, and it can take both mother and baby some time to get the hang of it. i knew this was the case, and yet, i still found it incredibly upsetting when arty and i didn't get it together as easily as i'd hoped.

my supply was good from the very beginning. i had fantastic amounts of colostrum, which we expressed and fed him through a syringe as he sucked on a finger. i just couldn't get him to latch on and suckle for himself. he became so hungry and frustrated that he would scream whenever i offered him the breast, and this just broke my heart. i knew what he wanted, i wanted to give it to him, but nine times out of ten we just couldn't make it happen. this all meant that arty wasn't gaining weight fast enough for the paediatrician's liking, and he suggested we start supplementing his feeds with formula. i really wanted to avoid this, so i got very anxious, and very determined to find ways to get breastmilk into our boy!

our hospital had a breastfeeding room which turned out to be a godsend. there was a lactation specialist on duty there all day every day, and i was in and out of there with arty pretty constantly. towards the end of our stay, one of the consultants gave me a nipple shield to use which helped enormously with arty's attachment. my nipples are quite small, and he was having trouble getting enough tissue into his mouth to suckle effectively. the nipple shield gave him more to put in his mouth, an made it much easier for him to suckle. i also used the breast pumps to express milk to bottle feed between breastfeeds. getting on the boob was still stressing him out, so having a bottle there to calm him when he got too upset was great.


arty having a midnight breastfeed

s has been really encouraging of our attempts to breastfeed, and i have been determined to keep trying. it's been a slow process, but in the last two days almost all his feeds have been directly from the breast, and i am so proud of us. i'm still expressing a bit so that s can feed him from time to time, and because i feel better having some backup milk in reserve in case we take a few steps backwards, but we seem to really be getting the hang of this, and it's such a relief.

from what i have read, we should really be weaning ourselves off the nipple shields in the long term. i am a bit nervous about that, but would like to try. i think i'll wait until we've seen the maternal and child health nurse on thursday and i've asked her opinion about whether he has a tongue-tie (one of the lactation specialists in the hospital said she thought he did) which would effect his latch.

in the mean time, he's thriving.

9 comments:

  1. Yey! So glad you're getting steps forward! :)

    Yep, get onto the tie ASAP.. can make a huge difference from what I've heard within our ABA group.

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    1. we've got the number of a specialist, and we'll make an appt asap :)

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  2. yay arty!
    and yay you!
    (and yay S too for good measure!)

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    1. is supporting us heaps. it's definitely a team effort!

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  3. I'm glad to hear he is thriving! Bunbun and I used nipple shields for a few weeks - she had a lot of trouble latching and maintaining a latch to my giant-breasts-with-teensy-nipples. We started weaning off them when I simply could not find the blasted thing one night (and being middle of winter, was not about to throw off the sheets and find my glasses and search for a small bit of transparent silicone) (it was tucked into the opposite side of my bra the whole time, as part of my "feed from this side" reminder plan). We managed a dodgy latch that night and we went from there. If she got too worked up trying I got the silicone out, otherwise we persisted with as much latching au naturel as possible, so to speak.

    The lactation counsellor I saw reckoned that the majority of women weaned off the shield because they forgot it while out one day (although she said she will use my story now as well...) and the main reeason for weaning off it, if everything is going well, is because it is such a pain. I never found it affected supply or anything like that, but life got a bit easier once I could ditch it.

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    1. thank you so muh for this - i'm glad to hear everything worked out for you guys x

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  4. I agree, once you and arty get a good system down with the shield it wont be too hard to ween him off of it. At around 8 week, Izzy and I decided to spend the day getting her off the shield. We spend the day lazing in bed and did a lot of skin-to-skin nursing (when she wasn't starving) and after a few times, she got the trick. For us, she was a gassy baby and the shield can cause a bit more air to get in so we were motivated...but during those first few days if she got annoyed, I would just put out the shield and try again the next time. It took about 3 days too get her completely off the shield and I certainly had to set aside time for longer than normal nursing sessions as she would slip off and it would take a bit longer to get her back on, but it worked and we never looked back!

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  5. awesome - thank you for sharing this. it's so good to hear such a positive success story! very reassuring :)

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  6. I think flexibility is DEFINTELY the key! Like you, things haven't turned out exactly like we planned. Well, in some cases- not at all like we thought!

    Glad you're working out what works for each of you individually, as a family together. :-)

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