It's been a whole week since my last blog post. So here it goes all downhill from here. I've never been good at keeping anything going for a longer period of time, not a diary or any blog that I've started before this. I will try as my thought is that we can go back and see Alex develop in this blog and I want him to be able to read about his early years as well when he is old enough.
So, topic of the day is breastfeeding. I'm currently writing this on my phone using one hand. The other one is busy keeping my boob up for Alex. Alex is now 5 weeks and is breastfeeding well. But that wasn't always the case. I want to share the struggles so if you who read this have problems with it at the moment I can assure you. It will get better!
I feel like the midwives at the postnatal ward could have been a bit more assertive and actually stuck to their guns when I basically brushed them off. They must come across women like me all the time. Women who are shocked to suddenly be a mother but at the same time think they know enough. If only I would've asked for more help during the visit I might not have needed to go through the following hellish days.
My colostrum came in fine but both me and Alex struggled with latching on. I can see that now when I know how it is supposed to feel and look. He was new at it and I didn't know how to help him. We were able to leave the hospital the day after he was born. Probably a bit due to a little white lie: "Yeah, no, everything is going well!" Well, it wasn't as much a white lie as it was my reality then. I just wanted to go home where there was peace and quiet.
Instead of feeding on every que we started looking at the clock. "No, you cannot be hungry again, you ate half an hour ago." Besides the fact that he hadn't eaten much as my milk hadn't come in properly and he was still a rookie at latching on. When I gave up any hopes for a routine and put the boy to the breast when he wanted to we had a happier boy.
We struggled. I don't remember exactly when it started to go downhill but it did. Alex took forever to latch on and I didn't know how to support him in the best way which meant that suction wasn't good and or didn't stimulate my milk production enough. This led to a very hungry boy who just screamed his lungs out every time he saw my breast. The feeling that your son despises you still hurts my heart.
The midwives who come and visit could thankfully pick up on our struggles. That I was crying and the boy lost weight was probably a good indication. They recommended pumping to stimulate the milk production and formula to top up. The formula felt like a blow to the stomach. I felt useless, inadequate and like a failure. Some of those words might be oximorons. And I cried some more. The ones who know me are aware that I don't cry. I am analytical and realistic in my thoughts and it takes a whole lot for me to cry.
Well, said and done. Daniel went to Asda to buy a pump and the project could begin. I tried breastfeeding and when we had struggled on both breasts for a while I pumped while Daniel fed the boy with syringes. We used syringes so that Alex wouldn't get used to a bottle and therefore get lazy on the breast. Feeding took hours and once done we started all over again. I was aware that I should stay well hydrated but it was thanks to Daniel that I actually was. He was my rock.
It didn't take long until Alex got sick of the syringes and latched on like he never latched on before and ate well for the first time in a week. That was a victory! For the first time in two days we didn't need to top up with formula or pumped milk!
And the process with cleaning and sterilizing the bottles, syringes and pump all the time! Blah! It just made me want to breastfeed even more. Saying that, there were times during these days when I just thought: "What is the point? Why not just shove a bottle in his mouth and never need to worry again?" Because breastfeeding is easy (once you get a hang of it), always available, convenient (no bottles to sterilise), cheap (I would free, but sometimes it feels like chocolate is the fuel that keeps me going...)
Fast forward about a month where latching on could take up to 15 minutes to get right and we could spend hours feeding or nursing. We tried to introduce a dummy to soothe his nursing need but he doesn't take it. My nipples can be very sore from time to time. Thank you Lansinoh! Now, Alex can still clusterfeed but most of the time it feels like it's more for comfort than hunger.
Breastfeeding isn't easy but so worth the struggle to get right. There are still details about it that can be discussed and we are still practising. Give it another month and we will be pros!