I’ve been home for over a week now and we’re really getting a crash course in our new roles as parents.
Nothing can really prepare you for that moment you are home from the hospital and it suddenly becomes your sole responsibility to nourish and care for your baby.
The experience has brought us overwhelming highs and lows often within the space of minutes. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster!
In the first couple of days I started to get stressed out that our routine was not going by all the books I’d consumed throughout my pregnancy. Instead of feeding every 3 hours for up to 45 minutes like ‘they’ say, Lila has been feeding more like every 2-3 hours for up to an hour, so I guess you can say I’ve been spending A LOT of my time feeding her and the books have more or less gone out the window. 😉 Breastfeeding my girl and simply trying to get some rest in between is pretty much the way of things right now – it really is an all-consuming 24-7 process!
My milk officially came in on the first night home and it was like one big milkshake party where little Lila bounced from breast to breast while we attempted this new art of breastfeeding. Talk about a messy experience!
On one hand it has been great to have such a plentiful supply of milk, but on the other, I’ve had painful engorged breasts and ended up coming down with mastitis a few days ago which was no fun at all. I woke one morning feeling very achy with a nasty fever only to see redness developing around my breast. I called the breastfeeding hotline and described my symptoms, and they recommended I see a doctor straight away for antibiotics.
Not long after taking the antibiotics I started to feel better, but I was still having trouble getting Lila to fully drain my breast. My sister-in-law, who has just had a baby herself, came to the rescue with her hospital grade Medela Symphony breast pump so I could express after feeds. I overheard one of the nurses at the hospital referring to it as the ‘V8 of breast pumps’ and she must be right as once I got used to it, the milk flowed really easily and I started to feel like I was getting on top of the mastitis.
On another note, I’ve got to say, having a supportive husband has really helped when it comes to some of the breastfeeding challenges I’ve experienced so far. From providing snacks and water to keep me going while feeding Lila, to offering some much needed technical advice when it comes to positioning and attachment, my husband has been incredibly patient! I am determined to master breastfeeding and honestly think it would be easy to consider giving up if my husband wasn’t such an amazing support.
Finally, I’m finding as the days go on I am getting to know and respect my breasts a little more and am having faith that eventually they will adjust to do what they are designed to do. Our lovely little Lila is making the sleepless nights and painful feeds all worth it. Like me, she is also learning one feed at a time and is only going to get better as we get to know each other more. On that note, I better get back to it as she has just woken for some more guzzling time with her mummy, so stay tuned for more from me as we get settled into our routine over the coming weeks.
– by Sally Wood
Sally’s Diary of a New Breastfeeding Mum is sponsored by Medela.