In my last post, I shared about my first night as a new mom to the most beautiful boy – my Aiden Kyle. It was definitely a challenging night and the week ahead was to present even more challenges in my commitment to breastfeed. I consider myself to be pretty tough; I grew up in and live in New York City so what can possibly make me back down from a challenge? I’ll tell you though, breastfeeding has been a doozy.
The day we were to leave the hospital, the lactation consultant came by my room to work with us since I was still in so much pain and could not sit up on my bottom to feed Aiden. She introduced me to the “side-lying” position and it changed everything! I was worried that because Aiden had a few bottles, that he would reject the breast but that was not the case at all. He loves nursing and usually burps better and sleeps sounder after nursing than after having a bottle.
During our first week at home, I still could not sit up and could barely walk. I called my bed the “command center” because I did everything from bed and gave out instructions from bed. My husband was amazing changing diapers, burping the baby, changing his clothes and bringing him to my bed every two hours to nurse. My mom and mother-in-law took turns staying over during this first week so that they could take care of Aiden throughout the night and let me get some sleep and heal. This was difficult for me because I did not want to supplement with formula but at the time, I could see no other choice. It was necessary for my healing process and Aiden needed to be cared for and nourished in the best possible way that we could find.
Slowly, during that first week, I started getting up at night to pump milk. Thankfully, my milk came in beautifully by day three and I was able to leave bottles for the Grandmas to use in place of the formula. My mindset was just to get him as much breastmilk as possible and hope that eventually we could eliminate the formula altogether. Since the first week is crucial for establishing milk supply I do feel like this affected my ability to produce enough to keep up with Aiden. I am currently - at 2 ½ weeks postpartum - feeding and pumping between feedings to make up for it. We have successfully cut down from giving him eight ounces of formula in 24 hours, to four ounces. I am optimistic about our progress and while things have not gone exactly according to plan, we are adjusting well.
The side-lying position was perfect for us and with a good support system I was able to not give up on breastfeeding my baby. It has so far been an emotional ride and much more difficult than I had imagined. Breastfeeding is a full-time job but I’m so grateful to have met with the lactation consultant at the hospital and for the resources out there to help me face these challenges. I won’t give up!