Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Panic Attacks & Feeding a Baby

Having a newborn is stressful. Period. You're at the hospital and are both cursing the nurses for waking you up every 30 minutes to check on you or your baby, but loving them when they help bathe your little one or usher your pain-stricken body to the restroom. Everything is new, scary, and exciting. The second night in the hospital (if it's anything like ours) is torture. The baby is screaming non-stop. He won't sleep or eat. He has a clean diaper, so that's not the problem. He wants to be held, then doesn't. You and your Hubby are at your wits end when you call the nurse to find out at what time she was planning to take your baby away to do the heel prick test, and if it takes an hour or two, you're totally ok with that. Sleep is already a distant memory.

Once you're home you're trying to figure out how all of this works and are scared straight. The few minutes you do sleep are interrupted by a screaming baby, or worse, a sleeping baby who isn't making any noise... Is he breathing? Did he roll onto his tummy? Are you sure he's breathing?

Then comes the feeding. Thankfully, WEB latched onto nursing like a pro. However, we still had our list of issues. Naturally, he lost a bit of his birth weight before we left the hospital because he was just getting my colostrum (what comes out before your milk comes in). Well, he had lost a little more weight than the pediatrician was comfortable with so she suggested we visit her two days later so she could see his progress, hoping my milk will have come in by then. At his first visit to the pediatrician, he was still smaller than she wanted. She suggested we supplement with some formula until my milk came in. I was crushed. I felt like a failure. I failed as the main food supply for my baby. I was worried about nipple confusion (using a bottle nipple vs. my nipple vs. a pacifier could cause him to get used to one and not latch onto me as well), the antibodies and other benefits he wasn't getting from me and my breast milk that I had hoped to pass on to him, among a million other things.

Finally, a full 5 days after birth, my milk came in. Now he was getting plenty to eat and we didn't need to supplement at all. We took him back to the pediatrician for another weigh in and follow up to find out that he was back up to his birth weight and then some! We were all very excited and thankful we were doing well.

Then comes spit up. My little WEB would eat and eat and eat. However he was a stubborn burper. He projectile vomited an entire feeding worth of breast milk probably half a dozen times. This was nerve wrecking. Thank goodness we bought the Baby 411 book (Side note: If you buy any baby book, let it be this one. It is easy to use and easy to flip through to find quick answers to your never ending list of questions. This was Hubby's right hand for the first several weeks. It helped put us both at ease many many times. Ok...let's get back on track.). Logically, if there is an air bubble in your baby's tummy and then he downs an entire feeding, when he finally burps, up comes the entire feeding. Their stomachs are only the size of a ping pong ball at most when they're newborns, so there's not much room for anything if air gets caught in there. Needless to say we were never ever lazy when it came to burping him again.

I thought this was a good story to tell because I hope it's encouraging. I got a text from my friend today and it made me think back to those first couple of weeks when I needed a big Lani hug and an even bigger cry. Anyways, my friend has a 2 week old little boy. She has been through more than enough issues from her pregnancy, delivery, and after, and now they're having problems getting their little guy to gain some poundage. I remember how much of an emotional wreck I was when my poor baby wasn't gaining the weight he needed to and wasn't getting as much food as he needed from me. I just felt so helpless - I know it doesn't help that your hormones are ridiculously out of control either. I can only offer lots of love, support, and encouragement to her and hope that they all get the hang of things soon. Before you know it, our boys will be chasing and beating each other up on the playground and this will all be a distant memory...

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