And then there were three … part five
I was so scared of feeding my son, but we tried. And we kept trying over the next four or five days, each time feeling that it wasn’t working, he still couldn’t latch on, it was never going to work. I hadn’t realised at the time that he needed to get used to this new tongue and learn how to use it. And of course, he needed to learn how breastfeed, since he had never managed it efficiently in the whole of his four weeks of life.
So much happened in that week. The day before his tongue tie was released, he was weighed and we found out he had gained ten ounces in the four days. That was a big ray of hope.
I sit here now, my son now seven and a half weeks old, and see that we have made big leaps, although there are still a lot of days when it feels like we are trying to run through treacle and it will never work, we’ll never get off this formula. I still have a heavy heart every time he has formula, but have accepted that it was entirely necessary in our case, that it was, literally, a life-saver. But it doesn’t make me happy.
There are other days though when I can see that we’ve made huge improvements. I’m still trying to get supply up to the levels we would like, but I’m no longer expressing round the clock. That became impossible the day my son decided he would like to breastfeed properly every now and then. He accepted the breast more and more often, and so there simply wasn’t time to express all the time. It meant he was having more formula, but not more supplements. I’m no longer getting up in the night to express either. He has his last feed (from me) around 1am and then sleeps until 6am and so do I, thankful that our IM thinks it’s more important that I get some rest than express at 3am. And we’re no longer giving entire feeds from a bottle. He still has, still needs formula, but now he gets 60ml when he first gets hungry and then he comes to me for the rest of the feed. He was getting lazy and fussy, and was beginning to refuse the breast, knowing we would relent and get the bottle. So now we don’t. He gets the bottle at the start, to take the edge off his hunger and then he has the rest from me. It’s going well. He generally settles down to a really good feed. He still only likes to feed from one side though, and I’ve let that slide for a while, deciding it was more important that he fed, than which side he fed from. We go back to the other side every now and then (and my daughter is happy to have that side pretty much to herself!) but I’m not pushing it.
And so here we are, He’s put on almost three pounds since the day we were referred back to hospital. To be exact, he’s put on 43 ounces in exactly 4 weeks. I don’t know how long it will be before we manage to wear the “exclusively breastfed” tag, but I am now sure we can. There will undoubtedly be steps backwards, but I think we will move forwards overall now.
We’ve had a lot of support along the way, from friends, colleagues, parents, peer supporters, the feeding co-ordinator, independent midwife and more. We certainly couldn’t have come through this on our own. My thanks go out to all of them
And now I can settle down into the normal chaos of having a new baby!