The first week home was pretty interesting. There were so many changes and things to learn about like when and how to feed you, when to change your diaper, how to sleep, drinking enough water, going to the bathroom and so much more.
Feeding you was by far my most challenging task, specifically getting you to latch. It always took you awhile to latch on, and I never felt like I was doing it right and would get frustrated that it took several tries to get a good latch. Then, when my milk came in, I was pretty engorged, and you had an even harder time latching. And for whatever reason, you couldn’t latch onto my left boob. You would try, and then scream while you continued to try. It usually took a good 5-10 min before you would finally latch. At about the one week mark, you were able to consistently latch onto both sides without a bloody-murder-scream fest. Additionally, I was pumping a couple ounces from each side before a feeding so latching was easier. It was pretty confusing because, the more I pumped, the more I produced, so there was this never-ending cycle I didn’t know how to break. Thankfully, a couple of calls with the lactation consultant helped with my frustrations. She believed I had an oversupply and suggested I only feed you from one side. She also said, I just needed to be patient and many of these frustrations would disappear with time.
I think one of the most frustrating things to me was, it felt like it should be a natural and easy thing to do. And the fact that it wasn’t, was frustrating. Daddy was a huge help to me during these times. I almost dreaded feedings because I would get so anxious that you were going to cry and it would take a long time for you to latch. Often, I would want to give up and just give you expressed milk with a syring, but Daddy was there to help and encourage me to not get frustrated. He would help get you into a good position and then have you suck on his finger to remind you how to suck the correct way.
In addition to the frustrations with feedings, I had no idea how much preparation was required. First was hydration. To ensure good milk production and continued recovery for me, it was important to drink lot and lots of water. The catch was drinking the water between nursings. And when it was close to nurse you again, I needed to go to the bathroom and empty my bladder. My uterus couldn’t contract down to its original size during feedings if my bladder was full. (I also didn’t realize you actually have small contractions while you nurse that help shrink your uterus back down).
Second was always changing your diaper before a feeding. You would often fall asleep while or just after you were nursed and would wake up if we changed your diaper. We also needed to feed you wearing only a diaper to help prevent you from falling asleep. As a result, we never put the swaddle on you in the day because we didn’t want to wake you once you were sleeping.
Third, Daddy and I developed a nice little sleeping schedule. I would sleep downstairs and feed you through the night while Daddy slept upstairs. Around 8 in the morning I would go upstairs and sleep while Daddy took care of you. The first night was difficult. I don’t think I slept more than 20 minutes. Every time you cried, I got very anxious because I felt like you were going to wake up Daddy and I didn’t have him to help keep me calm and patient. However, when it was my turn to sleep, i was able to sleep on my stomach for the first time in 4+ months and it was divine! Around night four, I was getting worn down and I asked Daddy to sleep downstairs with me. I missed sleeping next to him and just wanted him to hold me in his arms for a couple of hours. It was so soothing to have him by my side, and nice to hold him. I hadn’t been able to give him a real good hug in several months.