Welcome back to my breastfeeding diary, the place on my blog where I am documenting mine and Alex’s feeding journey to try and help other mums and mums to be see what breastfeeding is really like. Alex is now 7 weeks old and I am still exclusively breastfeeding him. It is often said that the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding are the hardest and once you pass this point feeding becomes so much easier. Is this true? Well from my experience I have to say yes! The past 6 weeks haven’t been all milky cuddles and relaxing feeds, the first two weeks were incredibly difficult (you can read all about that here) but slowly things have got better. Now 7 weeks in I can say breastfeeding is just another part of our daily routine, it’s just something we get on with and doesn’t cause me any stress at all. I have been keeping track of our progress from week 3 to 6 so you can see how we have got to this point.
Breastfeeding diary – Week 3 to week 6.
At 3 weeks old Alex is still feeding every 2 hours day and night, if I am lucky he might do a 3 hour stretch between feeds but this is very rare. That excruciating pain I was feeling during feeds has now pretty much gone and I am only feeling slight pain at the beginning of each feed now. The damage Alex caused to my nipples due to his poor latch in that first week has almost healed now (thank the lord for Lanolin!) and generally I am experiencing a lot less pain now.
This week I have started feeling a really strong tingling sensation when my milk lets down, it’s not painful but it feels a bit strange. After being a bit of a pain and only feeding from the right boob if I fed him using the rugby ball hold, Alex will now happily feed off the right side in a cradle hold which has made things so much easier – no need for loads of carefully organised pillows anymore.
I have started to get a really leaky left boob which is so annoying, I have soaked through a few tops when I’ve been out so I always make sure I have a spare top and bra in the changing bag now, in case of boob explosion emergencies. Clearly my milk supply still needs to settle down a bit, hopefully this stops soon or I will run out of nursing bras!
This week Alex has been a lot more alert during his feeds. Where he usually feeds when he is half asleep, now at 4 weeks old he is starting to get a bit grabby with his hands and often shakes his head around like a mad child before actually latching, this is a bit stressful when feeding in public and I just want to get my boob out of sight as quickly as possible.
Alex seems to have really enjoyed spending time attached to me this week and in the evenings he has been feeding almost every hour. The other night he fed 3 times between 5pm and 8pm, this was pretty exhausting for me but if he’s hungry then he’s hungry and I have to give him what he wants or he will scream the house down!
Now 4 weeks in I have decided to start expressing. My parents are coming to stay next week so I am trying to build up a bit of a freezer stock so Oli and I can go out one night. I am using a manual pump and it makes me feel a bit like a cow but I am looking forward to having a bit more freedom (if Alex will take a bottle that is!).
I think pumping has been messing with my supply though as I have been getting seriously painful engorged boobs in the night, they have been so full which has made it difficult at times to get Alex to latch on. I need to re think my pumping schedule I think as I can’t be dealing with painful boobs and latch problems again, I thought we were passed all that. Also, this week we decided to give Alex a dummy. I was reluctant to at first as worried it would interfere with feeding but it’s actually been great. Instead of only napping after feeds Alex will now lie down with his dummy and settle himself to sleep. He only does this in the day but it feels so good to be able to put him down and know that he can go to sleep without being attached to me.
So we are now at week 5 and Alex is still feeding every 2hours throughout the day, it is tiring at times but 100% pain free now so I can’t complain too much. Instead of always falling asleep during feeds, Alex will now finish a feed and still be awake, This is lovely as he is always so smiley after a feed (once he has got that pesky wind up that is) and means I don’t always end up trapped in the nursing chair, too scared to put him down in case I wake him.
Although latching on is now painless Alex is still not opening his mouth very wide, it takes a lot of careful manoeuvring on my part to make sure my nipple is in the right place. I guess he is just a lazy boy and if he can get milk out without having to open his mouth all the way then why should he? I would like him to put a bit more effort in but I guess I just have to accept this is how it’s going to be, at least I know how to get him on now without doing my body any damage and that’s the main thing.
My parents have been staying this week and on Thursday Oli and I went to the cinema. We didn’t try Alex with a bottle first so I was really nervous but I needn’t have worried. Alex took his feeds from a bottle fine and he did his best ever stretch of sleep, going from half 9 until half 3! This was a one off though it seems as he has been back to feeding every 2/3 hours through the night since then. I think all the expressing I did last week has really messed with my supply as my boobs are still leaking, particularly during the mid afternoon feed when I am usually out and it is most embarrassing. I think I will be putting the pump away for a bit until things calm down a bit, it’s no fun being covered in milk.
Here we are, we’ve made it to six weeks. The magically week where breastfeeding is supposed to be fully established and I am supposed to feel grateful that I don’t have to spend time and money making up bottles. It is definitely easier than it was at the start, so so much easier, I wouldn’t say it is completely problem free though. My boobs are still leaking, why is there so much milk in there?! Luckily I use really good breast pads but sometimes they are not placed in my bra properly and that always seems to be when my boobs are due an explosion, typical. Also, my let down has got really strong this week and I am not sure why. Alex has ended up choking a few times and has also ended up with milk all over his face, not nice for him and very annoying for me. I am really hoping this stops soon as this is not a problem we have been having up until now so I am not sure what has caused it. This forceful let down is making me not want to go out for fear of covering some poor stranger in breastmilk but I know too well that staying in all day with 2 children is a recipe for someone ending up in tears, most likely me.
I have had a bit of a mastitis scare this week too. My left boob has been so painful, constantly rock hard and a tingling painful patch on the side. I had mastitis with Leo and it was horrible, I am hoping I can clear what must be a blocked duct before the problem deteriorates and I end up on anti biotics. I have not let my breast pump anywhere near me for over a week now, I just want my supply to regulate itself and for my body to start only making what Alex needs and not all this extra.
Alex is still feeding at least twice in the night but can go for nearly 4 hours sometimes in the day, although this is rare and he will happily feed every 2 hours still if he’s awake. I am definitely feeling more confident in my breastfeeding abilities, Alex is putting on a good amount of weight (he was 11lb4 at his 6 week check) and I can see he is happy and content after his feeds so I must be doing a good job.
Just thought I would add a quick update. Alex is now over 7 weeks old, he is feeding every 2 hours during the day but is capable of doing 6 hour stretches of sleep at night and has for the last few nights only been having one night feed. I feel so much better for getting more sleep and the frequent day time feedings don’t feel so hard when I know I will at least be getting a break from it during the night. The annoying fast let down is still happening but leaky boobs seem to have stopped (hurrah!).
The last 7 weeks have been full of different feeding challenges but if you are a mum enduring painful feeds during that first week please know that it will get better, it can just take a bit of time. I will be back with another diary entry in another 6 weeks time, hopefully the last of our feeding problems will be gone by then and breastfeeding will be as easy as pie.
Did you breastfeed or are you currently feeding your little one? How did you find the first 6 weeks, easy or difficult or a mixture of the two? I would love to hear your thoughts and if you found this post useful or know a mum to be who may find it helpful then I would love for you to share it on social media. If you are having a tough time feeding remember there are lots of people out there who can offer you support and advice.
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