Sunday, October 2, 2011

The first 3 days - breastfeeding trials and tribulations

After labor, I felt fantastic. Despite being awake for about 24 hours, I felt like I could do a lap around the hospital. Eva was borderline hypoglycemic after birth, and she was having a bit of trouble with the latching/breastfeeding. I didn't want her to continue to become more hypoglycemic, and I wanted to avoid interventions like an IV catheter/dextrose, so I acquiesced to her going to the nursery for a bottle. My husband went with her. They moved me to a recovery room. After 20 minutes, I was so restless and worried about her that I trucked down to the nursery to check on her. Apparently that was a no-no for a recently delivered mommy. That's how good I felt though.

We opted for having her sleep in the room with us, as I couldn't stand the thought of her going to a nursery and being away from us. We plan on "attachment parenting." Basically, keeping her with us at all times. This includes co-sleeping (or "sleep sharing") which is controversial. I will say that the first night, she would not settle in her bassinet. I did not sleep the entire night. Doctors, nurses, dietitians, and everyone else came traipsing in and out from 8am-1pm. Then lunch, etc. So I didn't sleep again. The second night was agony. My nipples hurt from breastfeeding, I didn't feel like I was getting a good latch, she was frustrated, I was frustrated, and totally, utterly exhausted.

By the second morning, I had been up for 50+ hours. I was so tired that I was borderline hallucinating. I burst into tears when breastfeeding because it hurt so much, and we were both frustrated. She wouldn't sleep in the bassinet. So, I moved her into the bed with me, and we both finally, finally slept (around 6am). It was very restful. It solidified my position on co-sleeping with her.

When we were finally discharged on the 2nd day, after her PKU test, a tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccine and an MMR for me (turns out I am not immune to rubella), and the other formalities, she began to cry right before we left. I knew she was hungry, but it was only a 30 minute drive home. Of course, we got stuck in crawling (but moving) traffic. She wailed and wailed like her heart was breaking. I was able to stand it for ... oh, about 5 minutes, then I burst into exhausted tears too.

Now, we're home. My mom is here and has been taking care of whatever we ask her to do. As a result, I have been able to sleep some, although I am still very tired. Breastfeeding is still a challenge - it hurts much more than I expected.

I will say that my job has prepared me well for the waking on command and being able to be coherent (at least, coherent enough to change a diaper and feed the bebe).

So, what have I learned in the first 3 days of motherhood? Sleep when you can (not good at this yet). Comfortable, easy clothes for nursing are a must. Having a stay at home dad to help makes being a new mommy 10,000 times easier on you. And finally - it is absolutely amazing how much you can love someone you have known for only 3 days. It is also absolutely terrifying.


Anonymous said...

If it continues to hurt, you should see lactation consultant. La Leche League is great for that. I hated the in and outs of all the doctors and nurses too. Our birth experiences are very similar. I am thinking about doing a birthing center next time. My friend went home 2 hours after labor!

WeldrBrat said...

Here's a Life Saver!

And a good treat for both of you... homemade milkshake with banana and a raw egg. No. You won't taste the egg. It won't be gross. But it WILL spoil you enough that you won't want a shake without one, ever again! Helps with your let-down. If you're lactose intolerate - find a "Hook-Up" for Goat's milk!

foffmom said...

Sleeping whenever possible is imperative. Learning to relax on the domestic details is also important. Before I had kids, I asked a friend also an MD what her secret to Mommy success was, and she said "Lowering my standards." I couldn't believe that, but now after raising two, youngest kid 21 years old, I realize she was totally correct.
The breastfeeding does get easier.

Jenn said...

Your daughter is gorgeous - congratulations! Doesn't giving birth make you feel like a superwoman? ;)

Also, check out Dr. Jack Newman's website - Ask your pediatrician about Jack Newman's nipple ointment - it helped a TON for me with pain from cracking and mislatching at the beginning. TONS of great breastfeeding resources on the website, also try

As a mom who nursed her son for over 2 years, we had our share of trials in the first weeks, too, but I can reassure you that it DOES get easier, and hurt less. Remember to take lots of quiet time for you and the baby, lots of skin to skin contact can help, too. I used to wear my son most of the day, and co-slept at night, too. You might find yourself getting more sleep that way. :)

Jenn said...

Congratulations! Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous. Doesn't giving birth make you feel like a superhero? ;)

Re: breastfeeding. From a mama who nursed her son for over 2 years, I can tell you that we had our share of trials in the early weeks, but that it DOES get easier. We found that lots of rest in bed, quiet and skin-to-skin contact helped (I wore my son all day and co-slept at night). I also loved Dr. Jack Newman's website - he's my go-to breastfeeding guru. My ped prescribed Newman's nipple ointment that helped with the early cracking and pain, made a huge difference! is great, too.

Anonymous said...

Yep, if breastfeeding truly hurts, something is amiss. Follow the advice of your previous commenter; either your local LLL or at least a lactation consultant from the hospital where you delivered.

Breastfeeding is a true labor of love, and I wouldn't trade it for the world! I hope you find good and knowledgeable support :).

Holly said...

ohhhhhh *melts a little*

a new baby.

I breastfed all 3 of mine and the first 2 weeks were the worst. Then my nipples got tougher and it was a true pleasure.

With baby #1, I was going to do it all "right". Baby #2, I dropped the "right" part and with #3, we did what worked. For us, it was parking myself somewhere comfortable and cat napping with the baby sleeping on me. She was happy, I was content & the kids got plenty of Sesame St.

27 year later, I most strongly adovcate "do what works". Whatever that might be.

I STILL can't stand to hear a baby cry in real distress. There was never any "letting them cry it out" for me, especially with a new baby.