Following on from my Labour & Delivery Story, I thought I’d share how we got on in our first month of being parents and oh what a month it was!
Week 1 – So, I’d just pushed a 9lb 7oz little human out of me and I was still high on love at this point. After we got moved up to the main ward Charlie was sent home as it was out of visiting hours. We were trying to establish breastfeeding and just getting acquainted with each other which was lovely but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. By the time the evening rolled around, I was collecting colostrum in syringes as I could not get George to latch – I was getting a good amount and wanted to be at home so got discharged from hospital. In hindsight, I should have stayed overnight to try and get George to latch but all I wanted was to be at home with my new family.
Over the next few days we saw the midwives many times (day 1, 2, 3, & 5). We tried our hardest to get George to latch but we had no success. When we were on our own I had varying levels of success, or at least I thought, until one night when I just couldn’t get him to stop crying because he was so hungry. I felt so terrible and it was at that point that I began to cry hysterically. What was I to do? Women had been doing this for tens of thousands of years, so what was wrong with me? Every day was a struggle. I found myself getting really down about it all and felt like a failure because I couldn’t feed my son that way I was ‘supposed’ to.
Charlie set up the Tommee Tippee breast pump and I started to use that – to my surprise I produced around 2oz within the first 10 minutes which George guzzled straight down. After a bit of research, I found out about exclusive pumping and decided that this would be the best way to go forward in feeding George. So I started on a routine of pumping every 3 hours, even through the night which worked well for us as Charlie did the night change/feed while I pumped.
Week 2 – This was when Charlie had to go back to work. It was extremely daunting to me, I wasn’t really feeling myself and he’d been doing so much to help. I was afraid that I wouldn’t cope on my own and that I wouldn’t know what to do if he started crying. Luckily, I managed to make it through the week and even got George out of the house nearly every day for a walk. This was also the week where George’s umbilical cord came off; it is the weirdest and most disgusting bodily process I’ve ever seen!
We continued with the 3 hourly routine of pumping and feeding and I just adjusted my pumping times so I could fit it all in. Although he was still having breast milk, as it was from a bottle we were really cautious of overfeeding him so stuck to this schedule and it seemed to work for all of us. Pumping was becoming very tiring, especially during the middle of the night – as I only had a single electric pump, it was taking me double the time as I had to do both sides.
We had our final midwife visit who confirmed that George was back up to his birth weight. After the initial feeding issues, this was a big relief to me to know that he was gaining weight. The health visitor also came round during week 2 which I was very thankful of; she was so kind and reassuring that everything I was feeling was normal.
Week 3 – I was still pumping for every one of George’s feeds and getting a little stash going in the freezer, which gave me a great sense of achievement. I was determined to give him breast milk for as long as I possibly could but the constant pumping was getting to be exhausting. I stopped my middle of the night pump and we stopped waking George in the night, letting him tell us when he was hungry.
We started to make bedtime more of a routine and George then started to sleep through the night. We’re certainly very lucky for this and were so grateful for the extra hours of rest. I’m sure we’ll get our fair share of sleepless nights somewhere down the line though.
Week 4 – This was the worst week by far. I took George to get registered at the doctors and on the way there he was violently sick a yellow tinged liquid. I was instantly worried as I’d never seen him do this before. When I got home he was sick again but increasingly yellow in colour, he was extremely sleepy and wouldn’t wake to feed. I rang 111 and they made me an appointment with the out of hours doctors. The doctor I saw couldn’t tell me what was wrong with my baby and said I’d need to go to the children’s ward. I’ve never felt such panic like it!
We got up to the children’s ward and George threw up again; it was so yellow that it looked like he’d swallowed a highlighter. They pumped him full of antibiotics and I knew I was in for a long night, at this point it was around 10pm. They set me up a fold out bed in George’s room and I tried to get some sleep as well as trying to pump to make sure he had milk. After about 12 hours he started to seem like himself again but was definitely still a bit poorly as he wasn’t eating as much as usual. I spent another night in the hospital and managed to get a bit more rest. The consultant came round the next morning and George seemed to be back to normal. He didn’t discharge us but said we could spend the night at home and see how he got on – I couldn’t wait! 3 days after it all began, we took our last trip up to the hospital for some blood results. They never did figure out exactly what was wrong with George but they put it down to a ‘likely viral infection’. All in all, I was glad the whole thing was over and we were all back at home as a family again.
I’m definitely hoping that my next monthly update will be a bit more concise than this, but it was a long first month and I felt a lot of this was important to say. Leave me a comment and let me know how you found your first month of parenthood.