Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 30: Baby Breastfeeding Delight

In my last blog I shared my birth story and my experience with Cesar in the hospital. Within this blog I will be sharing how things went once I was at home, with specific focus on the breastfeeding aspect.

Once we got home and drove through the gate, we made our way quickly to the room as Cesar had been showing signs of hunger in the car. I wouldn’t be leaving my room much from that point onwards lol (It took two weeks before I even ventured out of the house!).

The first few days he would sleep a reasonable amount of time during the day (2-3 hour stretches) before he would wake up for a feed. He’d feed for about 30-40 mins. After that he was mostly awake during the day and having quite the appetite. He wanted to eat every hour – this ‘hour’ starts at the beginning of the last feed. So say, that he starts feeding at 12.00 and eats for 20-40 mins, after which I burp him and change his diaper as he likes to poo while feeding – then I have about 15 mins if I am lucky before he is hungry again and have to start the feeding, burping and changing cycle over again. Gian would change his nappies which gave me a few minutes for myself. Afterwards, his sleeping pattern changed to sleeping for an hour if he would fall asleep. I could swear he has his eating and sleeping time swopped around as it seemed that he spent most of his time eating rather than sleeping. The rocking chair became my new home…

I was still taking some pain medication in the beginning. They had given me a bunch of painkillers varying in strength and told me only to take it if I felt I needed it. I mostly used the lowest strength ones to take the edge of the pain from the cut for 2-3 days. Even though I was taking painkillers for my C-section – breastfeeding was hurting like hell. I couldn’t figure out why it was hurting so much. Everywhere I read and was told that ‘if it hurts, it’s because the baby is not latched on correctly’. But he was latched on correctly – and it was still hurting like hell. My nipples were so raw – each time my bra or my clothes would just *slightly* rub against them I would feel a pang of pain. Whenever Cesar would start nursing I would gasp, curl my toes, clench my jaw, sometimes bite down on my free hand and fervently rock the chair not for Cesar - but for me, to distract myself from the pain. It was absolutely horrible.

It came to a point that whenever Cesar would make the slightest sound awake or asleep – that my whole body would shiver in anticipation of the next feed and the next wave of pain. I broke down a few nights, just crying and crying as the pain and exhaustion got the better of me. Some days I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with this and whether I shouldn’t just switch to formula.

I had done some reading while breastfeeding (which became a new habit as I spent lots of time nursing and had enough space left of my breastfeeding pillow for my tablet – yay!) and some women had shared that after two weeks the pain would subside and that one would just have to ‘hang-on’ for the time being. At that point my days and nights consisted mostly of me breastfeeding in excruciating pain and agony – and reading that it would take ‘two weeks’ was like a punch in the face. It sounded like eternity.

Turned out they were right – Cesar had been latched on correctly, and it simply hurt because this was a completely new reality for my nipples. They got utterly destroyed during the first week and a half and then built themselves anew in the last part of the second week. Once they were reborn, breastfeeding had become painless and I stepped out of timelessness back into my regular time sense lol.

Thankfully, during my time of agony the people on the farm had been of great support. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were made for me. On more than one occasion Gian would spoon feed me while I was feeding Cesar lol. The latest gadgets and creams were purchased to alleviate the pain and promote healing and my little trolley next to my rocking chair/glider was stuffed with foods that I could eat for night and day. It was the best of a worst case scenario.

While I had been pregnant, breastfeeding had been one of the points that I had researched the least as I had assumed that it was ‘natural’ and that you just pop your baby on and voila – you’re breastfeeding. Boy was I wrong. There’s all these different techniques and holds and things to be aware of to prevent unfavorable consequences like say oversupply, clogged ducts, infections, thrush,… -- it’s like breastfeeding is a science on its own.

So I played with different holds and ways to be comfortable and got better at it. By the time the pain was gone I was comfortable with the whole procedure.

In my next blog I will go into the sleeping aspect of babyhood (or rather, the lack thereof) and also share some on how my body was being sensitive to my mind in terms of experiencing pain with the slightest reactions that would come up.
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