12.09.2013

breastfeeding woes



Breastfeeding sucks. At first. For us, at least.

Rory was born with a two 9's on the Apgar scale- basically perfect. Perfect and huge with the most gorgeous brown hair. But for the first 8 or so hours of his life he made these constant coo'ing noises with every breath he took. The doctors ordered a few stress tests because they were afraid he was working too hard to breathe, though there never was any definite diagnosis. These consistent coo'ing noises were ADORABLE and I seriously am getting teary just thinking about how cute they were and how I almost miss them (hormones much? gosh), but they definitely interfered with Rory's ability to breastfeed. He couldn't concentrate or just wasn't interested. I don't remember how long it was exactly, but it was a while before we were able to successfully get some milk into him, despite him being placed immediately on my chest after birth. It was a bummer, but I was thrilled at the fact that everything with the whole birth went so perfectly and nothing could get me down.



^^Rory's cooing noises recorded by my mama in the hospital.

Over the next few hours we had help from a few nurses, though now that I think about it they weren't much help at all. As sweet as they were, most of the time they were rushed and I didn't get many answers out of them. Rory wouldn't latch. He'd jump right off as soon as I'd think he was in the right place. Over and over they told me that it wasn't an issue - newborns are sleepy for the first 24 hours and Rory was especially tired because of my epidural. I really tried not to worry, but my baby had no food in his belly. Eventually we talked to a lactation consultant who helped out a lot and I got answers, but Rory still seemed sleepy and didn't latch well. He'd pull away frustrated a few seconds after I'd get him on. We left the hospital frustrated but hopeful. I thought I'd figured it out.

Wrong-o. I don't know how I got through the next two days. I really really don't. Rory never latched for more than a few seconds at a time. My milk hadn't come in and Rory was so drowsy. He slept for hours at a time - which is not a good thing with such a young baby. He once went 7 hours without eating and it scared the hell out of me. Every 3 hours or so I'd wake him up and spend an hour and a half to two hours squeezing what I could into his mouth. I was so worried that he was starving.

But we had an appointment with our pediatrician when he was 3 days old and she calmed us immensely. He wasn't jaundiced, he was definitely healthy, but he had lost a pound which was a bit over 10% of his body weight. Losing 10% is normal for a newborn, but the pediatrician gave us some formula to supplement with until my milk came in. I can't describe the relief. She asked if I had any problem giving my baby formula and I was like "are you kidding? Food in my baby's belly?! I LOVE IT. I'LL DO IT!" We went home and I did my best to breastfeed, then we tried our one and only time supplementing. He took half an ounce. Heh. Jeez baby why??

But you know what, miracles do happen. My milk came in that day. Rory still wouldn't latch, but my milk was in! I pumped a few ounces and we made it through the night by syringing that miracle juice into Rory boy's mouth.  But yes. I was at my wit's end. Like I said, I don't know how I made it through those first couple of days without a serious breakdown.

AND THEN. My mom and Andy's mom accompanied Rory and I to an appointment with a lactation specialist at the hospital the next afternoon. I remember being hopeful, but not expectant. Turns out, this lady was sent straight from heaven itself. She took one look at Rory trying to hang on to my boob and immediately said "I know what's wrong." She helped me put on a small silicone fake nipple thingy, we situated Rory.. and he latched. And he guzzled. Holy crap that kid just ate and ate. And I just started sobbing. My hands were preoccupied so my tears just dripped down my face. Oh the happiness and satisfaction I felt seeing my baby boy eat.

We weighed him after eating and he had gained 2.5 ounces in the 20 or so minutes we were at that appointment. The consultant graciously handed us the nipple shield and sent us on our way.

Have we had issues since? Yes. BUT Rory is past his birth weight now and is as healthy as can be. I'm working now on weaning him off the nipple shield. I don't want to be using it long-term, but it is just so easy to pop on and off. Hopefully we'll be done with it in the next few weeks. Hopefully :)

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