Thursday 2 January 2014

My Breastfeeding Diary: Week 1

When I started breastfeeding 3.5 years ago, I had attempted to keep a log of my breastfeeding progress including details such as frequency and quantity of milk feeds. However, I gave up after a few days as I was too busy struggling with the breastfeeding to remember to update the log.

Now that I'm breastfeeding again (and no longer as inexperienced as before), it is time to document while it is still fresh in my memory. Plus it's my way of sharing how I develop my milk supply from colostrum to full breast milk! =)

*Warning: Detailed documentation of breastfeeding and its related terms ahead. Reader's discretion is advised; please do not read if you feel uncomfortable =)

Day 1:
Started breastfeeding in the Delivery Suite by latching baby on to suckle. Baby had good suction and suckled really well for a first timer. He was really hungry! Nipples showed early signs of producing colostrum.

I managed to latch the baby again in my room and felt my uterus contracting (similar to labour contractions but less intensive) as I breastfed. However, from 6-10pm, baby refused to be awaken for a feed even though I had tried every hour to get him to latch on (I was afraid that if I don't get him to feed, my milk supply would not be established in time for when he needed it later). Plus I did not want a repeat of my previous experience with my girl, who refused to feed in the day and ate every hour at night when I needed my sleep the most!

Waking up for a night feed

Baby Boy finally awoke for a feeding at 10pm and breastfed once every hour till 12 midnight, and subsequently once every 2 hours till 4am, after which he was able to sleep for 4 hours at a go. I was beginning to discover that my baby liked to drink a lot at once so that he can sleep for longer. That was good news to me! =)

Day 2:
Although my latch on position was correct (an experienced nurse even confirmed it), my nipples were still sore from all the intensive sucking. I persevered on with full latch on breastfeeding despite the pain as I knew that by doing so, I will be able to establish a better milk supply for later. I dealt with the pain by applying generous amounts of Pigeon Nipple Care Cream after every feed, which helped to reduce the redness and swelling of my nipples and eased my pain somewhat. By now, Baby Boy was feeding every 2-3 hours. I continued to observe his feeding habits, which included nursing for a while, taking a break and falling asleep only to wake up to nurse again.

Sleeping soundly after another one of his feeds

Day 3:
I was not attended to by a lactation consultant (although they were available) during my stay at the hospital as I think they could tell I was quite experienced (many of them called me an expert *laughs*). After being discharged and on arrival home, I continued to breastfeed Baby Boy on demand (full latch on).

Finally, a photo of me breastfeeding my baby at home (^_^)

As you can see, my favourite nursing position is the football-hold as I have more control of his head.

Day 4:
Start of transitional milk, which is of greater quantity than colostrum but thicker than full breast milk. My breasts have also started to become engorged as his feeding simply could not keep up with my supply. They felt like they were filled with rocks! (>.<)

In order to ease the engorgement, I started to express (i.e. pump) milk after I have nursed my baby. I also started storing my expressed milk in the freezer in preparation for the future as from experience, babies usually go through a growth spurt during the 2nd or 3rd week and may suddenly require a lot more milk than I can supply it.

I also ate paracetamol & took a nap to cope with the tugging pain in my breasts. After waking up from the nap, I felt a lot more refreshed and decided to stop expressing for a while because I did not want to over-express and give my body the false impression that I have 2 babies instead of 1 and worsen my engorgement. Hopefully just latching the baby will help.

Day 5:
Start of full breast milk! I know, I am equally shocked at how fast my milk came in!

However this meant my problem of engorgement was not solved (although it was a good problem as it meant that I had more supply!). As a result, my breasts became so engorged that Baby Boy had difficulty latching on and dealing with the sudden spurts of milk into his mouth. The last straw came when my nipples started to get cut by Baby Boy's scissors-like gums and bled a little while he choke a little on the milk. I decided that enough was enough, it was time to solely express & feed him from the bottle so my nipples can rest and the hubby can help to feed the baby (especially at night).

Everyone had a turn at feeding the baby, including his big sister! =)

Thankfully, Baby Boy had no problems transitioning to the bottle.

Day 6:
I continued to express every 2 to 3 hours, following baby's feeding schedule as far as possible. After each session, I was able to express approximately 120-160ml of milk but Baby Boy was only drinking 80ml. No wonder my boobs were so engorged! Expressing milk helped to ease the engorgement and soon I had a steady supply of milk to feed my baby as well as to store in the freezer (can be kept for 3 months)! My perseverance at the hospital really paid off! =)

My stored supply after just 6 days of breastfeeding ^_^

Was afraid that he might forget how to latch if we keep feeding him with the bottle so I spent the night latching the baby on one breast while expressing and storing the milk from the other.

Day 7:
Baby Boy can sleep for almost 4 hours at a go after every feed (80ml)! I don't know how long this will last but for now, I'm very grateful for a good milk supply (am already expressing about 150-180ml of milk after each session) that is more than enough for my baby boy.

It is definitely not true that just because you have a baby boy with a bigger appetite, it means that you can't produce enough breast milk for him and need to supplement with formula! I'm proof that it can be done as long as you persevere during the most critical period in developing milk supply, which is during your stay at the hospital where full latch-on breastfeeding is a must.

I'm hoping to transition him back to direct breastfeeding next week, where hopefully his appetite will be able to match my supply of milk and I don't have to express (at least not so often). Expressing milk is seriously a lot more tiring than latching the baby directly.

Continue to >> My Breastfeeding Diary: Week 2

This post is part of my series on My Breastfeeding Journey.
Follow me as I battle the perils of milk production and boob-related pain all over again.

My Breastfeeding Diary
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