The First Few Weeks and First Pediatrician Appointment

The first few weeks at home were really hard. I nursed constantly, but my baby would cry sometimes less than an hour after I fed him. My nipples hurt, and I wondered why the baby was crying so much. He would not sleep. I would wake up and nurse him – he would usually fall asleep during feeding, but I would try to keep him awake so he would eat 15 minutes on each side. This is what the lactation nurses and all the books suggested. Finally, I would give up and put him back to bed, only to have him wake up again right away looking for more food.

Fortunately, my husband was incredibly helpful. He cleaned and cooked and got up with me every time the baby woke up. Everyone told me the first 6 weeks are very difficult, and my parents, in-laws and husband did their duties by making sure I did not lift a finger except to feed and hold my baby. I was still unbelievably sore from surgery, but every day I felt a little better. I was tired, but all the help was wonderful, and I was able to sleep when I wasn’t caring for the baby. I was pretty much prepared for the first month being hard, and knowing there was a light at the end of the tunnel made the first few weeks bearable.

When we took my baby to his first pediatrician appointment, I was appalled. The waiting room was chock full of kids wearing surgical masks and signs everywhere warning of swine flu. My husband and I were furious and were sure to take it out on the receptionist. How could they allow a newborn to come into an office at the heart of swine flu season full of sick germy kids? We sat as far away from everyone else as possible, and scowled at anyone who even dared to look at us or our precious, helpless baby. It’s a good thing we were called back to a room relatively quickly, because I kept telling my husband I was going to bolt. I was on the verge of tears. I could not identify with this feeling of overprotective worry and sympathy for my poor helpless baby. I did not like it one bit. Meanwhile, baby couldn’t have cared less. He snoozed comfortably while hubby and me gave a sniffling 2-year old girl the stink eye.

I told the pediatrician my concerns about how fussy he was, and I didn’t have to describe it. He was screaming inconsolably as soon as we got into the exam room. I felt like the worst mother in the world when he was weighed and was a pound and a half below his birth weight. “Maybe he’s hungry?” The nurse said. She gave him a dropperful of formula and he was instantly happy as a clam. I felt like an idiot. But how is even an experienced breastfeeder to know how much milk is coming out?

After that appointment I bought a breast pump so I could see how much milk I was producing (and, frankly, to store up some milk so I could get my baby on a bottle right away). Do you know over the three months I breastfed, I never pumped more than 4 oz? I kept hearing these tales of women who could pump 8 oz in 10 minutes. Who are these women and how come their boobs ran like faucets? Surely I hadn’t blossomed into an E cup bra for nothing.

Anyway, once we got the starvation issue figured out and started supplementing with formula, baby started sleeping better and was happier overall. Go figure. But breastfeeding was never much of a success for me. When my production didn’t increase enough to feed my baby even one meal let alone store any up, I got frustrated. My heart wasn’t in it. I kept up the pumping until he was 12 weeks, and didn’t miss it for one second when I quit.


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