Being a first time mom has come with many challenges. One of the biggest challenges has been nursing. Elliott's jaundice caused him to loose quite a bit of weight, dropping from 8 pounds, 11 ounces at birth to 7 pounds 14 ounces when we left the hospital. As a result, we have had weight checks with our pediatrician every 3 to 4 days since we left the hospital, and they will continue until Elliott reaches his birth weight again.
|At E's first Doctor's appointment.|
Before becoming a Mom, when I would hear about women who chose not to nurse their babies, I would instantly judge them. Why wouldn't you want to nurse? It's better for your baby, it saves money, and helps your body return to its pre-pregnancy state. I thought these women were being selfish.
On the other side, I now regret ever judging a woman's decision to not nurse. Nursing is hard work, for Mom and for baby. Nursing takes 30-45 minutes per feeding, whereas bottle feeding takes 10-15 minutes per feeding. Nursing a newborn is just plain exhausting. Elliott will be 3 weeks old on Thursday and has yet to return to his birth weight on a diet of breast milk. We have tried multiple techniques and I have worn myself out trying to get him to his birth weight on breast milk alone. I have left the Doctor's office heartbroken multiple times, feeling like I did everything I could and yet my child had not gained a single ounce.
The first week home I thought I would never sleep again. Elliott wanted to nurse all night long. As soon as I would pull him off, he would start screaming as though he hadn't eaten anything. I cried too, because I didn't know how to help him, and I wanted more than anything to breastfeed. I felt like I would be failing if I gave him formula. However, after multiple weight checks with no progress, I realized I had to quit beating myself up and do what was best for my baby, even if that meant supplementing formula when needed.
I've been determined to stick it out, even though it hasn't gone how I envisioned it. Elliott is now up to 8 pounds, 8 ounces, just 3 ounces shy of his birth weight. This progress didn't come without sacrifice though. We started "triple feeding" two weeks ago, meaning I nurse Elliott on both sides for a total of 30 minutes, then give him a bottle with 1 oz. of pumped milk (if I have enough) or formula (when I don't have enough pumped milk). After he's fed, I pump for 10-15 minutes to increase my milk supply and have milk for his next bottle. The whole process takes about an hour, and we do it every 2 hours (from the start of one session to the start of the next) during the day, and every 3 hours at night, meaning I have about an hour (2 at night) between feedings (if he goes to sleep) before starting again. Oh, and then I have to wash and sterilize all of the pump parts after each pumping session. See what I mean? Exhausting, right?