Perhaps I should rename this post feeding a TEN POUND newborn. There are definitely pros and cons to having a big baby. A big pro is that they tend to be better eaters and sleepers. A big con is that it’s hard to keep up with the demand for calories that a 10 lb baby requires.
Allston came out of the womb at 10 lbs even and when we left the hospital he was down to 9 lbs. While it’s totally normal for newborns to lose up to 10% of their body weight in the first few days of life, it’s also something that has to be closely monitored.
My birth story didn’t turn out the way I had originally planned, but the one thing I was determined to make work was breastfeeding! I was going in with the mindset that this was the only way to feed my baby and unless I absolutely had to supplement with formula, I wasn’t going to. Enter the Nazi Lactation Consultants (actually just one was a Nazi…the other was very nice).
I requested to meet with a consultant the second I got into the “mother/baby” room where I’d stay for 3 days, however I didn’t meet with one until 2 days into my stay. The nurses were great with helping out the best they could though. One of the consultants put the fear of god into me that my baby was struggling and I wasn’t doing a good job. Obviously this didn’t help me in the confidence department! My milk wasn’t in yet and I was trying to get Allston as much colostrum as possible. I knew from the number of wet/poopy diapers that he was on track and doing fine in that respect. He was also a great latcher when he wasn’t throwing fists at my boobs. However the weight loss was scary. We left the hospital on a Friday and were told to get to his pediatrician on Saturday for a weight check.
Saturday morning we went to the doctor and his weight had stabilized. Our pediatrician is awesome by the way! Aside from his sweet South African accent, he’s very laid back and told me that I was doing a great job. He told us that Allston’s coloring was great and a big sign of dehydration is jaundice, which he obviously didn’t have. He also told me that waking up every 2 hrs was unnecessary and that I could easily go every 3 in between feedings. That might not sound like a lot, but EVERY hour of sleep counts!! Especially when you count time in between feedings from the BEGINNING of the last feeding, not the end.
Our return visit would be on Thursday, 5 days later, and that week my milk came in full force. There were many many late night feedings that typically included me having a snack (typically a lara or luna bar or grapes).
Breastfeeding is not the time to skimp on calories (or water). I’ve been trying to focus on eating more healthy, nutrient dense foods to keep my milk supply strong. Lots and lots of protein, healthy fats, fruits and veggies. Of course it’s the week before Christmas so I’ve also been eating a lot of cookies ugh. I ain’t perfect!
I also could not live without the Brest Friend pillow. Screw the Boppy…the Brest Friend is where it’s at!
During the day I breastfeed on the couch with my brest friend and at night I rotate between staying in bed or going into the nursery and reclining on the glider (by far the most comfortable option).
I can even walk around while breastfeeding which is awesome since Allston is super comfy on the pillow.
I obviously need to keep a hand on him at all times since he’d roll right off, but it’s easier than carrying all of his weight by myself, which I do often enough.
Typically our feedings last anywhere from 20-30 minutes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes last 10 minutes because Allston is falling asleep at the boob or over an hour because he’s cluster feeding.
Regarding knowing when to switch boobs, I try to empty the first breast first before switching to the next so that Allston can get more of the hind milk (the fattier, more caloric milk). Then I’ll top off on the other breast if he’s still up for it, burp him, and call it a day. That’s my “ideal” approach which oftentimes works. In reality sometimes I’m shuffling back and forth between boobs since he’s being finicky!
We went back to the doctor 5 days later and Allston was up 6 ounces!!! I was so happy and relieved. Breastfeeding is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done and I see why it’s so hard for many women to stick with it. I can honestly say there is NO WAY I’d be able to do it without JP though.
The first week of Allston’s life I might have been feeding him but JP did EVERYTHING else. Literally, everything (down to giving me water during feedings through a straw). He would strip Allston down for a feeding and hand him to me and when I was done I’d hand him right back to have his diaper changed. I didn’t even change one single diaper the entire first week. I good partner was so key to my breastfeeding success. Not to mention I was in a lot of pain from my c-section so getting up and down with a baby in my arms was virtually impossible. I’m so lucky to have had the best partner helping me!
This post was a little all over the place and more of my rambling than anything else. I guess the point is that it does get easier once you get into a groove. I feel much more confident in my breastfeeding abilities now that I’m nearly 2 weeks out from Allston’s birth. That first week was HARD! I doubted myself constantly, but I didn’t give up and now we’re in a good rhythm. Let’s hope we stay there :-).