Breastfeeding diary – The first 2 weeks

breastfeeding

It has been just over two weeks since baby Alex arrived in the world and my days are now full of newborn cuddles, nappy changes, kissing tiny hands and regular declarations of ‘I’m so tired!’. The activity that is dominating most of my time though is feeding Alex. After having a successful breastfeeding experience with Leo I knew that was how I wanted to feed my baby this time around too. Although it may be as natural to a woman as giving birth, breastfeeding is not always easy – it can actually be really hard at the start. I have decided to document mine and Alex’s breastfeeding journey to try and show mums to be what breastfeeding is really like, a diary that is refreshingly honest compared to the information leaflets the midwives dish out before you leave the labour ward. In this first entry you can find out how Alex and I  are getting on with breastfeeding just 2 weeks in and discover what feeding is really like at the very beginning,

Our breastfeeding diary – The first 2 weeks.

Day 0
If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, very soon after birth the midwives will be keen to help you and your baby to have your very first feed. Alex was probably about half an hour old when he started routing  around looking for milk. The midwife helped me latch him on and we were away, our feeding journey had got off to a good start. Still feeling the effects of the gas and air and the strong pain killer I had been given after the birth meant this first feed was pretty much pain free.

The biggest challenge I found during these feeds early on was keeping Alex awake. A newborn’s stomach is only the size of a marble though so it doesn’t take much to fill them up. Newborns sleep a lot and feed little and often. It is best to prepare yourself for lots of feeding in the early days as breastfed babies tend to not have a feeding schedule, you pretty much just have to follow their lead and feed them whenever they want it (even if that’s only 20minutes after you last fed them!). Saying that, during his first 24hours Alex only fed 4 times during the day but then spent the whole night attached to me. I found the first 30 seconds or so of each feed pretty painful but the pain soon eased up..for now.

Day 1 – 4
Thanks to Alex spending so much of his first night stuck to my boobs, by the following morning I was in quite a lot of pain. Without a midwife to help I was struggling to get a good latch and, as a result, my nipples were killing me. So, only 24hours into breastfeeding and I was already applying lanolin (life saver, I use Lansinoh) regularly and although my milk hadn’t yet come in, I was putting breastpads in my bra so my sore nipples had a bit of cushioning against the fabric.

breastfeeding

A breastfeeding mummy essential.

It became clear quite early on that Alex didn’t really know what to do when it came to feeding. All breastfeeding advice websites and leaflets will tell you your baby’s mouth needs to open really wide for you to get a good latch. Alex obviously forgot to read this information before he was born as he was trying to get on with a barely open mouth and there was nothing I could do to encourage him to open it more. This resulted in a very poor latch, like a pinch almost (yup..oww!) and was causing me toe curling excruciating pain throughout every feed.

My milk started to come in really quickly and by the end of day 1 my breasts were starting to swell up like balloons as they said farewell to super colostrum and welcomed in my ‘proper’milk. Unfortunately, these new rock hard boobs only exacerbated our latch problem and now I was dealing with engorgement pain on top of the agony of having my baby suck on my cracked nipples every 2 hours.

As the first few days passed, Alex was feeding more and more and some feeds were ok but others were so painful I had to fight back tears. On day 3 my milk was well and truly filling up and I had a cleavage my teenage self could have only dreamed of. Alex seemed to feed constantly now and in the evenings by day 3 he was cluster feeding his way from 10pm until 1am, exhausting for me and absolute torture for my poor nipples.

He may have been feeding loads but Alex was still struggling latching on. As well as the refusal to open his mouth wide, Alex also liked to: eat his hands, push his head away from me instead of towards the milk machines, scream and then clamp his mouth closed whenever I put him near my boob and just generally fight me when it came to feeding times. I found the best way to get him on was mid scream, I know it doesn’t sound nice but in those early days when my milk came in it really was the only way to get him to go on properly.

Like his older brother, Alex hates feeding from my right side. I have no idea what the issue is with that boob but my babies just don’t like it. I have to feed Alex using the rugby ball hold so he feels like he’s feeding from the left side, a clever little trick that the midwife taught me with Leo and has proved a success again this time around.

Day 5-8
By day 5 something had to give. My nipples were now actually bleeding and there had been moments during painful feeds in the dead of night where I just wanted to wake Oli up and send him to the shop for some formula. I stayed strong though and kept telling myself it would get better, Alex was still learning and just because I had done it all before didn’t necessarily mean it was going to be easy.

My saviour came in the form of a lovely midwife assistant at the clinic during Alex’s newborn check up appointment. I told her all about the pain, the exhaustion, the mutilated nipples. She listened, she reassured and, most importantly, she helped me. I was told to only offer the second boob if Alex had completely emptied the first side, giving each side more of a break between feeds (he had been feeding from both sides at most feeds!). She was surprised to see the state of my nipples and promised me that with a bit of help Alex could be latched on properly and they would heal. I was shown a new position to try and how to adjust Alex’s latch when he was already on to get his mouth wide enough. Thanks to this lovely midwife I no longer felt helpless and feeding time stopped being something I was dreading and instead was able to become the lovely bonding experience between me and Alex that I had been hoping for.

bf3

Post feed cuddles.

Thanks to my new found confidence, on day 6 I fed Alex in public for the first time (and have done several times since) and although he still prefers to munch on his hands for a good 5 minutes before latching on, by the time the first week was over things were so much better on the feeding front.

Week 2
Following the difficulties of the first week, Alex and I slowly got better at feeding over the following week. Thanks to the advice from the midwife and my determination, we are now achieving a proper latch at pretty much every feed. My evenings are still spent constantly feeding and I am still being woken by a hungry baby every 2 hours throughout the night. It is hard work spending so much time feeding Alex but it is worth it. Alex is gaining weight and our regular feeding sessions are a great excuse for me to put my feet up and to have lovely cuddles. Now there is no pain involved, feeding times are a lovely bonding experience between me and my baby boy.

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Milk drunk.

There are still a few issues with eating hands/hating the right boob that need to be sorted out but I am really happy with how breastfeeding is going at the moment. I am really pleased I persevered through those difficult days at the start and now Alex and I are well on our way to breastfeeding success.

My top tip for feeding in the first 2 weeks –

Ask for help! Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to be torture, if you are in pain then your midwife can give you advice and support to make things better. If you find breastfeeding is not for you then please don’t beat yourself up. Remember, happy mum = happy baby.

Apparently after the first 6weeks of breastfeeding it all becomes so much easier, I will be back with another diary entry then to let you know if this is true.

If you are thinking of breastfeeding or you are struggling to feed your newborn, I hope you have found this post useful and I would love for you to share it with any mums to be you know. Did you breastfeed your baby? Did you find the first few weeks difficult? I would love for you to share your top tip for feeding a newborn in the comments below.

 
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28 Comments

  1. November 7, 2016 / 4:48 pm

    Oh he is so gorgeous and you are doing so well. I am going to have another go this time (third time lucky) so I will be bookmarking this 🙂 so helpful x

  2. November 8, 2016 / 9:28 am

    So beautiful! And you’re doing such a great job! Sadly I wasn’t able to breastfeed my son, but if I ever have another I’m going to try and do everything possible to make sure I can breastfeed! #TwinklyTuesday

  3. November 8, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    Aw wow lovely you did amazing to keep at it when it sounded so hard at first! Bless that nipple pain is awful; had it worse with my first. So glad you are still going and fingers crossed the 2hrly feeds slow a bit xx #twinklytuesday
    Sarah Howe @runjumpscrap recently posted…Chi Kitchen Afternoon Tea **Review**My Profile

  4. November 8, 2016 / 10:13 pm

    Awww he is so perfect, congratulations!! It sounds like you are doing amazing, after my little Oscar was born he lost more weight than he was supposed to and had to go on formula. We tried a few times after that but it became more difficult once he was expecting to feed from a bottle teat haha! I have a few unused little hand knitted cardies I’m looking to rehome, they are in my blog sale but I would just like them to be used and well loved, I don’t mind lowering the price haha 😀 xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram tempting Too Faced Gingerbread giveaway!)

  5. November 9, 2016 / 6:10 am

    Think it is fab that you ares haring this, it will be a huge help to so many new moms. Getting help and the right support is so important, I never made a lot of milk but was lucky that all 3 were amazing at latching on which made breast-feeding a lot easier for me. But I needed a lot of support with incasing milk supply and sadly had to top them up with formula which broke my heart. Still Aspe fed for 13 months the other 2 not as long. I love that milk drunk photo isn’t it the cutest! You are doing amazing and remember like you said happy mommy = happy baby, so get as much rest cuddles and cups of tae as possible xx #familyfun
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…the gift of imaginationMy Profile

  6. November 9, 2016 / 7:06 am

    Definitely agree with the advice to ask for help if you’re struggling. I had a similar experience with my youngest with struggling to latch – thankfully we turned the corner in week 2 as well. So glad that feeding is getting better for you now and love that milk-drunk photo of Alex – what a gorgeous baby boy you have 🙂 #bloggerclubuk
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…Seeking refuge in the cocoon of childhoodMy Profile

  7. November 9, 2016 / 7:13 am

    This is brilliant. I breastfed both my babies, and people just seem to think that I was lucky and it was really easy, but it totally wasn’t. The pain is awful at the beginning and I had the bleeding too. Ouch! I just persevered, and eventually it does get easier. With my first baby, it took until 8 weeks for me to be pain-free, and with my second, it took 3 weeks. Keep going – you’ve made a great start. And that milk drunk photo of Alex is super lovely 🙂 #BloggerClubUK
    Lucy At Home recently posted…That Awkward Moment When… the parents’ editionMy Profile

  8. November 9, 2016 / 7:47 am

    Well done you my darling! You’re doing amazingly and well done for sticking with it! My boy also had a problem with right boob so I feel your frustration. You’re doing fabulously! xxx #bloggerclubuk
    Fi – Beauty Baby and Me recently posted…Dear Diary – Our Week!My Profile

  9. November 9, 2016 / 9:25 am

    I feel your pain on the nipple front! Mine were like that with Little B as he had tongue tie so couldn’t latch on properly until it was sorted out which was 10 days later. If that happens this time I’m not leaving hospital until the tongue tie is sorted! #twinklytuesday

  10. November 9, 2016 / 11:08 am

    This is honestly one of the best, most honest accounts of breastfeeding that I have read. You are so honest about the bad things, but the overall positivity of the post makes it so encouraging for anyone who is having problems. I was very lucky that Alfie latched perfectly, and save for a few issues whilst we were still in hospital, and the usual cracked nipples etc, we have had such a great time of breastfeeding. However, had it not gone so well, I definitely think I would have found this post so reassuring and encouraging. Well done with what you have achieved so far, and good luck with the coming weeks – you are right, the first 6 weeks are the toughest, but hang in there! Support is the most important thing you need right now, so I’m pleased to read you are getting it. #BloggerClubUk
    Something About Baby recently posted…Top Ten Toddler EssentialsMy Profile

  11. November 9, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    This is a great read. I struggled to breastfeed first time around. I was poorly and I never really started producing milk even with the help of drugs. I really hope I can do it next time around and it’s great to read experiences like yours.

  12. November 9, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    Oh well done you. It is so tough and I swear it takes an army – it took all the people to help me on my journey. It’s hard but good on you for keeping at it, I’m so pleased to read you got help and it is going well. I look forward to reading the next update. Thank you for sharing with us at #familyfun xx

  13. November 9, 2016 / 7:23 pm

    Sounds like you are doing great. I couldn’t agree more on the getting help. Sounds like you found a really helpful midwife at the clinic. #bloggerclubuk

  14. November 10, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    I wish I had read something like this when I was in the first two weeks of BF my first baby…nothing prepares you for it! Sounds like you’ve made great progress hun.
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub, and make sure you pop some lanolin on your lips as well as your nips – it’s an awesome lip balm too!
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 44My Profile

  15. November 10, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Well done on getting this far. I totally agree about the asking for help, i thinkg there needs to be more help sent to people earlier on. You were in Day5-8 when you finally had someone help you get the latch sorted. Thanks for linking up to #familyfun
    Karen : TwoTinyHands recently posted…Blackpool Illuminations 2016My Profile

  16. November 10, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    Aw I love his little milk drunk chops. He’s so cute!! I applaud you for sharing your experiences lovely as it really is hard and can be so painful at first. I for one was definitely not prepared for it. I’m so pleased things are settling down for you now though and you can both enjoy the experience together. # coolmumclub xx

  17. November 12, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    I’m glad it’s got easier – I can’t believe that Alex arrived not having read up 😉 I remember the first time my daughter wanted a feed – I was terrified. And I remember lansinoh well. Glad it is all going well #fortheloveofBLOG

  18. November 13, 2016 / 9:06 am

    Well done for sticking at it. I always read these posts in envy as breastfeeding and I were a disaster zone. #coolmumclub

  19. November 14, 2016 / 11:56 am

    Oh what a lovely post. The breastfeeding journey is special but also yes, it rips you apart! Has he been checked for tongue tie I wonder? My last two had this and it made a big difference to feeding when they had it seen to (it’s pretty common). I used that cream too – a definite helper! I’ve just shared a post about stopping feeding which obviously isn’t you yet, but it includes some products I highly recommend that you might find useful as they help at any stage of feeding. x #MaternityMondays

  20. November 14, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    I needed this post, my third baby is due next month and I would love to try and breast feed but I really struggled with my first 2 babies and gave up after a couple of weeks as I was in so much pain.

    I am also worried how I will possibly be able to breast feed and still manage to look after 2 other Children. #familyfun #mg

  21. November 15, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    Lansinoh is really good I was using it as well. Unfortunately I was able to breastfeed for a short period:(
    #AnythingGoes
    ohmummymia recently posted…First letter to my tummy;)My Profile

  22. November 17, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    Well done Wendy for persevering with breast feeding. This bought back memories just how hard it is and the pain. I remember days of pain! It got easier after a while, eventually. I hopersonally it gets easier for you. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofblog. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…Blogfest 2016My Profile

  23. November 19, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    I remember that pain well – coincidently I have an Alex too! He is my youngest and is just 5 now. I used to love our feeding time together. Well done for battling through, it isn’t easy and neither is the lack of sleep. He is beautiful by the way!

    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

    Janet
    Janet recently posted…#AnythingGoes Linky Week 71My Profile

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