We took Joshua to his new pediatrician yesterday for his two week check up and received the news: Joshua was up 12 oz from his birth weight! As a first time mommy who’s sort of unsure of her milk supply, this felt like a huge accomplishment. Sure, he felt a little chunkier and he was having tons of wet diapers, but it was nice to know for sure that all was going well in the feeding department.
So here’s a recap of the last two weeks, starting with some of the drama that took place while still in our postpartum room at the hospital.
–Right after Joshua was born, his newborn nurse noticed right away that he was mildly tongue tied. We were very surprised to learn that because it’s hereditary and neither of us know anyone in our family that had it. I wasn’t sure how he would latch because of it and decided to keep an eye on it. From there on out, every time I fed him I called a lactation consultant or my nurse to come in and make sure that he looked like he was latching well. I did NOT want to go home uncertain of whether my baby could suck properly or not. Everyone seemed to think he was latching “ok” — but I had my doubts. Especially when he started crying non-stop and crying with nursing. I know colostrum only goes so far, but he seemed to be starving. By the second night I requested that the nurse bring me some formula so that I could see if he was able to suck the formula out of the bottle. And so began a major fight– it turns out that we were staying at a “breast feeding friendly” hospital and that formula is a big no-no. In fact, it’s viewed to be so incredibly evil that if you want to give your baby formula while at the hospital, you have to listen to your nurse educate you on the long list of evils about formula, you have to sign some sort of “waiver” AND the nurse has to call the pediatrician to get an order for the formula. The first nurse reassured me that my baby was doing fine and that we didn’t need formula, and that it was awful stuff, etc. So I listened to her and decided to wait it out. But then Joshua just got more and more unhappy, despite me try to feed him every two hours. I asked the next nurse on for formula and around the formula merry-go-round we went. Again I listened to the evils of formula and was just extremely annoyed and concerned for my baby. I told her I could have my husband run out and bring me some formula and there actually would be little that she could do about it! Then I requested that she check a blood sugar on my baby, because he had been jittery for quite a while. She obliged and his blood sugar was 49. I wasn’t impressed, and told her to do what she needed to do, but I wanted the formula. She left and miraculously, she had called her manager while she was out and got the whole formula protocol waived, meaning that I didn’t have to sign anything and didn’t need a silly order. She brought the formula in and I quickly discovered that no, my baby could not get the formula through the nipple without some significant cheek support. I didn’t want to jeopardize breast feeding too much, so I gave him a little formula– just enough to keep him happy.
–The next morning, the pediatrician came on and was discussing discharging Joshua that day. I had already received the “all clear” from my OB to go home as well. I passed along my concerns regarding his tongue tie and mentioned that he needed a lot of cheek support to get formula through the nipple of a bottle. She asked me how I knew about “cheek support” and I just said “Well, I’m a NICU nurse.” She immediately shot back “Well, he’s NOT a NICU baby.” I was pretty emotional at this point and was fighting back tears but I just felt defeated by the staff there. All I wanted was to prevent Joshua from having to be readmitted due to something like dehydration or jaundice. I sat down and felt like giving up but told her that I thought he should have his tongue clipped before being discharged. She went about her assessment and to my surprise, at the end she said, “Yes, I think he should have his tongue clipped. It’s a really fast and pretty painless procedure–should take 5-10 minutes. I have a few discharges to do but can be back here in an hour to do it.” I was so relieved to hear this, and frankly pretty amazed considering she had seemed so against anything I had said when she first walked in the door.
–An hour later, Joshua got wheeled away in his bassinet for his procedure. And yes, this new mommy totally cried a little! Joshua was back in our room no more than 6 minutes later, and was happy as a clam. I noticed that he could now stretch his tongue out much closer to his bottom lip, and felt much more hopeful that things would go well at home.
–We came home on a Wednesday afternoon, and my milk had still not come in. By Thursday I was pretty stressed about it, and pretty much an emotional wreck thanks to postpartum hormones dropping. I was crying over nothing, and it was SO annoying! But then Joshua’s wet diapers dropped off, and when he did have a tiny wet diaper, his urine was orange. I knew this meant he was dehydrated, so I would give him little bits of formula here and there to help him get through. At the same time I was having trouble getting him to latch properly and was just overall freaked out that I was sabotaging my milk ever coming in by giving him formula (yes, I was a total stress-case). By Thursday night he had a tiny bit of orange urine in his diaper and his eyes looked extremely jaundiced. I went into the bathroom and just started crying, because he was scheduled to see the pediatrician the next day and I was afraid he would tell me that Joshua needed formula or that his bilirubin level was high. I cried out to God and asked that my milk come in. Yes, I actually prayed that! And immediately after that– God answered my prayer and my milk came in!!! During that night I nursed Joshua all I could handle and he started to have yellow stool and more urine in his diaper. At the pediatrician’s the next day, he had dropped 5% of his weight, which they were happy with (I was elated!) and told me that he looked great! I rejoiced at the news and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
–Since then, both hubby and I have been trying to figure out how to get some sleep at night. I have to admit that I dread the night coming, especially if I haven’t slept much the night before (which is pretty much always the case). We have Joshua on a schedule, which he does great with during the day. At night time though, he’s not so interested in sleeping. I try to keep him up some during the daytime (in an attempt to get his days and nights switched) but his eyes are seriously so droopy and he nods off in nothing flat! Last night he was just really fussy in general and would only sleep for about 30 minutes before waking up crying. By 5 am I had gotten one broken up hour of sleep and I was one out of sorts mama… hoping and praying that tonight goes a little better.
–Sleep or no sleep, I am absolutely loving these days. Taking care of a newborn is a lot of work, but it’s so fun to get to know him and watch him grow. And watching my hubby with him is a real treat, as tonight he read Joshua a story (Joshua looked around the room and noticed everything except the book, I think!) and he tells him these long winded stories that Joshua will probably love in about three years. It makes me chuckle. I love it too when Joshua gets this pouty bottom lip that quivers when he’s starting to get upset… okay I know we shouldn’t laugh but it totally cracks us up!
Lastly, here are some newborn pictures my talented friend took of Joshua: