A few people have asked me how I’m feeding Ava, and to write a post about how I’m getting on. At the moment I am exclusively breastfeeding her, and so far it’s all going really well.
Ava-Mae latched on really well in hospital the first time I fed her. The midwives sort of just left me to it then when they saw that. The first day was a bit of a blur really, she ate often and a lot I remember though. I remember feeding for her about an hour and her still being hungry after, I also remember thinking it would be like that forever!
I spoke with my midwife about this and she watched me feeding her, she thought that it was possible Ava was just doing it for comfort and that we could try a dummy if we wanted. We did and that was the end of that problem. I have also been giving her straight to Mitch after most feeds to wind her, so that she can’t smell my milk as my midwife thought she may just be ‘trying it on.’ I think she’s gotten the hang of it now and only feeds for 10-15 minutes at a time every 1-2 hours. Apart from through the night when she can sometimes go 4-5 hours, which I am loving and hope it continues! I was worried at first that she was going this long but was reassured by my midwife that it’s fine as she is now gaining weight.
At her 5 day check up she had lost a bit of weight, which is normal in the first week after birth. Breast fed babies can be expected to lose up to 10% of their birth weights, Ava only lost 3% which I was really happy about. When they came back on day 10 to weigh her, she weighed more than she did when she was born (7 lbs, 11 ounces) she now weighs 8 lbs 2 ounces! I find it amazing how she is thriving off me.
Of course there has been difficult moments over the past 2 weeks. Days she’s been having growth spurts and constantly hungry, the days my milk was coming in and all I did was cry all day. Days when my boobs were so swollen and sore. Nights when I’ve been knackered and she was feeding constantly, and it’s not like your partner or someone else can do a feed for you. However I think we are finally getting into some sort of a routine. Especially at night.
Breast feeding can be hard and stressful, however I have heard it’s the first few weeks that are the hardest. If it’s something you want to do, then I would say persevere – it does get easier! Ask for help and advice, there is support out there. Throughout my whole pregnancy I said it’s something I wanted to do, however if for whatever reason it didn’t work out, I would switch to bottle feeds, and not beat myself up about it – at least I’d given it a go. At the moment though, I am still happy breast feeding her and she seems to be very happy too.
Although it’s hard it is also extremely rewarding. I feel so proud Ava is thriving off me and I feel we are bonding so well. In the middle of the night when she’s hungry and I can barely keep my eyes open, seeing her little face looking up at me just melts my heart
My advice to first time mums breast feeding would be:
- Drink lots of water and always have a bottle to hand when you’re actually feeding – I still can’t believe how instantly thirsty I get when she’s feeding. The last thing you want is to be getting dehydrated.
- Make sure you’re getting a balanced, healthy diet, and enough if it. I’ve found I’ve been so hungry since feeding, I suppose it does burn up to 500 calories a day.
- Get a good nipple cream – Lanolin by Lansinoh is my favourite, use it after every feed.
- Invest in some good quality nursing bras. My favourite at the moment are Bravado Bras . Im so glad I’ve had her when it’s warm so I can just wear vests too. I couldn’t imagine the winter when you have so many layers on and you have to try and feed a baby out in public!
- For the days your milk starts coming up (about 3 days after birth) it’s normal to feel emotional. Make sure you have as much support as possible, you’ll need it but it soon passes.
- Hot flannels to place on your boobs when they start getting sore/lumpy.
- Chat with your midwife/health visitor about it first but we were advised to give Ava-Mae Infacol before feeds. It’s really helped to get her wind up and settle her tummy, I only give it to her every now and then when I find she’s struggling a bit with wind or tummy pain. She’s much more content now we use this.
- If your baby tends to start falling asleep whilst feeding like mine does, try tickling their feet, their ribs and under their chin to keep them awake and feeding, also softly blowing on their face. They’re more likely to stay awake and feed for longer.
If you have any other tips please feel free to comment and share your words of wisdom. It can be difficult and a bit of advice and support from others is always lovely.
Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed it.
Love Lucy x