As I held my baby for the first time, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. The feeling was surreal to say the least. Once in the recovery room, my mom encouraged me to breastfeed him. I had no idea of what I was doing and wasn't sure if we were doing it right, but I was thrilled that we were doing it!
It kind of went downhill from there. When I was pregnant, I knew that I would breastfeed, but I really didn't know how difficult it could be. I though that the baby would just know what to do and that would be it. I realized very quickly that that was not the case for me and my little Monkey.
During my five day stay at the hospital I saw the lactation consultants every day. I was also given advice by several nurses who I assumed knew as much as the IBCLCs. I now know that much of their advice, while well-meaning, did more harm than good. I was getting so much conflicting advice from so many different people and I didn't know which I should follow.
On the evening of the third day, a nursery nurse came in and told me and Hubby that Monkey had lost 8.5% of his birth weight and needed to be supplemented with formula since my milk had not yet come in. I had heard of hospitals pushing formula when it wasn't necessary, and I knew that colostrum was enough for my baby, so I said "NO," and said that I wanted to speak with the pediatrician who was recommending it. The nurse left and I called my mom in tears. She went to La Leche League's website and found that 8.5% weight loss was normal and not a cause for concern. She told me that what they were doing wasn't right and that I had the right to refuse the formula supplementation.
The nurse came back a short time later with the pediatrician. He told us that 8.5% was too much weight loss and that we really should "let him have some formula." He went on to assure me that a little formula would not mean the end of breastfeeding and made it sound like I was starving my baby. Hubby was worried and told me that I needed to listen to the doctor, but I held my ground. Through my tears, I said "no" again. I was scared though. Was the pediatrician right? Was I starving him?
The pediatrician was clearly annoyed that I had not agreed and he said that we could wait till the morning, but if my milk wasn't in by then, we'd have to supplement. He left and another nurse came in with a pump. She was very kind and she told me not to worry as she showed me how to use the pump. I pumped all night and we finger-fed Monkey the colostrum with a syringe. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, my milk came in! Hubby and I were both so relieved, and I thought for sure that the hardest part was over.
Breastfeeding Part II