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I desperately need encouragement

(9 Posts)
9DonkeysAndABoy Sat 03-Sep-11 21:30:55

Hi, I just posted a more 'practical' question regarding breast feeding, but really, I need some advice / encouragement. My baby is 7 days old. He was born at exactly 38 weeks and is quite small. I was also so surprised that he came before term and didn't have everything sorted out, was just in the middle of it. I am just describing my state of mind.

We, however, had an easy delivery, and I have tried to breast feed him from day one (he fed on birth), but at one point my colostrum dried up (day 2 and 3) and my milk did not kick in until day 4. I was so confused what to do at that point, and all the midwifes and councillors said to preservere with breast feeding. I did that, but there was no milk, my nipples were excruciatingly painful and the second night I think we went pretty much the whole night without feeding. I think it was like 10 hours. I am crying every day since then about it as I realise how bad this is for a baby. I was just so confused, did not understand that he was not feeding off me, I did not know what to do... I feel so bad. After that we had a midwife visit and she seemed not too worried about it and encouraged me to breastfeed. It had indeed gotten better since then. However, he had lost more than 10% weight on day 5, and we had to go to the hospital. They checked him out and said he was ok, but he must gain weight and to top him up with formula. I have been doing that since, an his nappies are getting better. But I would say that I am only doing ok now, and am so worried about what I have done to him until now. I just cannot stop crying.

Also now, he spends hours at a time feeding on and off and being awake. Surely this is not good for a tiny baby who needs to grow? The midwife is coming back tomorrow so I guess I'll ask her all this, but was just wondering if anyone had similar experiences and could encourage me? I feel like it cannot get better. I just don't seem to cope like everyone else. I have been told to express, but I just did not find enough hours in the day for 2 days to actually figure out how the breast pump works. I don't know where the hours in the day go, but I seem unable to care after my child.

If anyone can share experiences that would be great.

pozzled Sat 03-Sep-11 21:43:00

Please try not to be too hard on yourself. Your baby will be absolutely fine, and the feeding really really will get easier. At the moment you're right in the middle of the 'baby blues' when it feels like everything is a challenge, and if you didn't feel ready as he came a little early, it's probably hitting you even harder. And believe me, everyone else is not coping better than you- every single new mum has felt similar to you at some point, I guarantee it!

The hours at a time feeding is normal, it's really hard going but he is building up your supply and the more he feeds the more milk you will make. Do discuss your concerns with the mw though, and ask her for some local bfing support numbers as well.

Practically, you sound as though you are trying to do too much- do you have plenty of support?
*Get someone else to cook, clean up and do the washing. Most other things can wait.
* If someone else can get the breast pump out, read the instructions and set it up for you that would help.
* Make sure you are eating and drinking plenty.
* Rest whenever you can- put your feet up when feeding.

Georgimama Sat 03-Sep-11 21:49:29

You are knackered from the birth and caring for your baby and to boot your body is dragging you through another mill with the milk trying to come in. It is really really hard. But it can and will get better. I second pozzled's words - do nothing except feed/pump, rest and eat. Lots of skin to skin will encourage your supply and DS feeding.

DD is five weeks and went down from 6lb 10 to 5 lb 15 at 3 days so a shade over 10% loss, but luckily we were not readmitted as my supply came in well and she fed well (she is my second child so I have BF before and had that on my side). I completely understand the anxiety/guilt but there is no need for it. I recommend lasinoh if your nipples are sore.

TCOB Sat 03-Sep-11 21:55:26

Just to echo pozzled's very wise words - this is such a raw and vulnerable time (and when you look back at it rather magical time, trust me) with your new baby and you sound really tired, which makes everything ten times worse. Your baby is tiny and he needs to practice and practice feeding as much as possible and for as long as possible and the two of you need space and time to practice together.
I had problems BFing my DD (my second baby, having BF the first) which shocked me as I am used to doing well - being a 'good girl' who always tries hard - and I was baffled that I wasn't immediately and A* BFer as well, especially when I'd done it before. You are doing more than 'okay' - please don't mark and judge yourself as at 7 days post-labour, anyone who still has their head above water is not doing 'okay' - they are doing fantastically. YOU are doing fantastically.
Keep talking to you MW and as pozzled says, call in your support network. Now is the time you need them.

JoinTheDots Sat 03-Sep-11 22:08:38

Firstly congratulations on your baby!

Secondly well done on doing such a fab job getting to this point, it must have been a shock to have a slightly early arrival, and to have coped when your milk was slow to come in. I am sure if the little one is now producing wet and dirty nappies and is starting to put some weight on, you have no need to feel bad.

Feeding and sleeping loads sounds normal. They have tiny tummies at this age and like to graze to get your milk supply up. They also do a lot of growing and brain development while sleeping so it can seem like feeding and dozing is all they do for quite a while!

Remember you are doing great, when you speak to the midwife you might want to formulate a plan to cut down and eventually cut out the top ups but only when the baby and you are ready.

You sound like a wonderful mum, if you keep feeling low, tell your health visitor as there is loads of help out there and you can always tell us about it too.

Poshbaggirl Sat 03-Sep-11 22:19:45

I was determined to BF, but had difficulty with both DDs. I remember after a week with DD2 the mw said the baby was dehydrated. I was beside myself as i was trying so hard and so wanted to be a good enough mummy. She told me to suppliment with formula, which i did, but decided after a few weeks that i'd really persevere with exclusive breast, which i stubbornly did. The milk supply increased and as DD got the hang and got stronger we finally cracked it.
Good luck, just rest, eat, drink and rest. You'll both soon be out and about like pros! And it'll be you giving the advice!

organiccarrotcake Sun 04-Sep-11 09:03:09

You might want to consider phoning the NCT helpline. They're highly trained counsellors and know far more about breastfeeding than most midwives or health visitors as well. Just talking through what's happened, and how you'll move forward, may really help you. The number is 0300 330 0771. If you don't get through first time, just keep trying - and leave a message if they say to as they will call you back.

HappyAsASandboy Sun 04-Sep-11 09:17:44

Well done for all your efforts so far grin

Please don't feel guilty about the time that baby went without milk. He would have let you know if he was starving, and it really won't have done him any harm. I know how hard it is to stop feeling guilty - I didn't feed my twins for 12 hours after my CS - it didn't occur to me to feed them blush and the hospital didn't suggest it angry. It is all done with now though, and I am sure it won't have hurt him.

Please find someone who can take over your house for you. You need to stay in bed with your baby and feed him. As much as he wants. Someone else can cook and do the washing, and there isn't anything else that needs doing. Your dinner needs to be brought to you cut up so you can eat it one handed if necessary. You shouldn't feel guilty for asking for this help over the first few weeks - you're not asking for your benefit, but for the benefit of your baby and your Breastfeeding relationship that will be beneficial to your baby for weeks, months (maybe years) to come smile

Good luck! It is worth speaking to the helplines as they have good advice and can sympathise. My advice is to 'just keep going'. Take it one feed at a time, and next time you look up you'll be a month in! It really does get easier smile

9DonkeysAndABoy Sun 04-Sep-11 16:48:15

This is very annoying, somehow my long response to this got lost. In short, thank you all for your support.

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