Little miss Evangeline is 6 days old already! At the moment she is sleeping peacefully in her Moby wrap on me and Eliana is continuing her plot to make our whole house look like a daycare :)
And on a sidenote- I gained 33lbs total this pregnancy. Not my goal of 15, but fine I think considering I had a 9lb baby, TONS of fluid, and carried 41w2d :) I have lost 31lbs in the last 6 days, meaning I'm only 2lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. Insane, right?
The last few days have been about the journey in breastfeeding for me. The first few days it's dealing with a newborn and making sure they can latch and get colostrum. That went pretty well for us. I was praying and hoping during my pregnancy that I wouldn't need to use a nipple shield like I did the whole 14 months with Eliana. I had a couple packed in the bag just in case but didn't bring them out and just went for it au natural. It was very helpful that Evangeline was so alert and healthy after her birth. She was awake for nearly 2 hours and latched on pretty much right away. Talk about night and day difference between that and how drugged, lethargic, and completely uninterested in me Eliana was after her induced hospital birth.
My milk came in after 2 1/2 days and then it has been a whole new learning curve. She is learning to latch and eat from a full breast and I am learning to not freak out and to relax. The wacky hormones make things a little crazy at times. Yesterday she wouldn't eat from my right side pretty much the whole day. It freaked me out and I started worrying about latch and supply and all that. In the heat of a frantic, panicked baby that won't latch your hormone insane brain starts telling you the baby is starving and other craziness. I think these are the days that women without support feel they have no option but to supplement with formula or just give up on breastfeeding altogether. I get it, I really do. It's a horrible, panicky, "I'm starving my child" feeling when they can't/won't latch, your milk isn't letting down, etc. I've said it before and it's more true than ever that having support available to you right away can make all the difference in having a successful breastfeeding experience.
I met my friend Katie at La Leche League shortly before Eliana was born. I should've reached out more when Elly was born and could've probably avoided the shield if I did, but I was a new mom and didn't have the courage to reach out. This time I know Katie more, and mostly I know how important it is to reach out before you and the baby are screaming at 2am sitting in a pile of your own tears. Katie came to my mom's house 2x to help with latch and yesterday she walked me through a feeding over the phone and sure enough we got Evangeline to eat from the right side :) Katie is the baby whisperer! She has helped more friends of mine than I can count and is a Godsend to me and my family. What would I do without her? I will also comment that she leads the Central Kitsap La Leche League (open to all, 4th Wednesday of the month 12-2 at Hillcrest Church in E. Bremerton) and that she is an IBCLC lactation consultant AND an RN.
She had some great comments last night and I wanted to share them:
Take it one feeding at a time, you only have to get through just this one feeding (isn't that better than stressing about the next feeding before it's even happened?).
Do whatever you need to do to make the feeding happen. Put your toddler in the tub with some water toys and a little water, sit on the toilet, relax, and nurse. Put a little water on the highchair tray, let your toddler splash so you can nurse, etc. Basically, give yourself permission to think outside the box and do what works to make your home calm, relaxed, and to allow you a moment to nurse the baby (for us it's been a lot of Dora today).
When it comes to latching and baby pulling off- it could be gas, needs to poo, tired, not really hungry yet, etc. If baby is rooting and trying, keep at it. Baby will either tire of trying and pass out, or will eventually latch on. SO TRUE!
It's truly invaluable to have someone look at your latch, look at the baby's positioning, check for tongue tie, etc- that is what IBCLC lactation specialists are for. I highly recommend that everyone attend LLL a few times before giving birth to 1) meet Katie :) and also to learn and establish the best support team you can. If you birth in the hospital, demand (nicely of course) to see the lactation specialist asap, even if you think you don't have a problem. Get that person's phone number and make sure you can call them once you are home, otherwise find someone you can call.
As easy as we all wish and want breastfeeding to be, it's not necessarily. Simple? yes. Easy? Not always. I happen to be *blessed* with sort of flat nipples (although they are already getting tons better from 6 days of nursing) and then once my milk is in these puppies are a size H. I have oversupply, which is probably better than undersupply, but still carries it's own set of issues. Evangeline is learning to regulate her eating, stop to take breaths, latch onto a huge, full boob, etc.
And as far as pain in the beginning goes- it shouldn't feel like you're nursing a wolf. It's normal for your nipples to feel chapped, I mean think about it. Lansinoh Lanolin is great for that. If your nipples are pressed flat when they come out of baby's mouth or they start bleeding there's a good chance baby isn't latched correctly. Seeing a specialist before you get to that point is key.
Ok, more later I'm sure, but that's all for now. And yay me, I showered, made dinner, made Craig's lunch and coffee for tomorrow- and it's my first day home alone without any help :)