Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Week Update (Long, as usual!)

Well, folks, believe it or not Miss Lena is one week old today! It does not seem like 7 days since I was in that hospital bed giving birth! Crazy.

So I'm going to break this down into 4 parts: Lena, My Recovery, Breastfeeding, and Anxiety. A lot of it is just for my records, so feel free to skim. :-)

Lena (and a little bit of Lucy :-))
She is amazing. I'm pretty sure I could just watch her sleep all day. She has been such an easy baby. *knock on wood!* I still can't believe how easily she caught onto breastfeeding, and she has been an incredible sleeper since day one! The first night home, she was up every hour and a half wanting to eat, and wouldn't sleep anywhere but on my chest. The next day, I put her in the Rock N' Play during the day and she slept for a solid 4 hours, so I decided to try that at night. Wow. Now I get why that thing gets such rave reviews! (Yes, I know it's been recalled, but it was just because moisture can get stuck in the folds and get moldy. That's not too much of a safety concern for me.) That night she slept two 4 hour stretches, getting up once to eat. The next night she slept a 5 hour stretch and a 4 hour stretch. And last night she slept from 11:30pm-6:30am! That's 7 straight hours!! As long as she's swaddled and snuggled in that Rock N' Play, she's out without a peep! I sure hope this isn't just a fluke. (And that my boobs adjust soon. Haha. More on that later . . .)

She had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I had three concerns: the whites of her eyes are yellow, so I was worried about jaundice (even though all her tests were normal in the hospital), I wanted the doctor to check and see if she's tongue tied because she has a shallow latch, and I was worried about how disgusting her belly button looks. But the doctor ruled out problems in all three areas! She said that her body is pink enough that the yellow eyes aren't a big deal - and since she's already a week old she's past the danger stage. She's not tongue tied, and her belly button is a normal level of disgusting. Haha. She did lose a fair amount of weight. I thought the scale said 8 lbs. 3 oz., but the paperwork they sent me home with said 8 lbs. 7 oz.? Either way, that's down quite a bit from the 8 lbs. 13 oz. she was at birth. Again, though, the doctor wasn't concerned since she's eating well and having a good amount of wet and dirty diapers. Woohoo!

We're having so much fun snuggling and getting to know each other. And Lucy is doing great with her. If Lena's binky ever falls out, Lucy rushes over to put it in her mouth, saying, "Sh, sh, sh. It's ok, baby sister." Melts my heart. She loves to help change diapers, get her dressed, and give her sponge baths. She asks about 15 times a day to hold her, and is overall just so sweet with her. She's had a little bit of an attitude the past few days. Anytime she gets told no, she runs to her room wailing and throws herself onto her bed so dramatically. Haha. I know it's just because of this big life change, though, and we've been working on giving her lots of attention. Justin has the whole week off, so that's really helped.

My Recovery
Ugh. Did I just block out the recovery process after Lucy's birth or has this time really been that much worse? I am such a wimp. Haha. Everything from the waist down is healing nicely and not bothering me much at all. I'm very grateful for that. My upper body, however, is a different story. After being confused for days about where this pain came from, I've finally decided that pregnancy ruined my core. Maybe I just didn't use it for 9 months? Or my body got so used to being pregnant that it's protesting now? Either way, I can't stand up straight for more than 10 minutes without excruciating back pain. It is so frustrating. I was in pain for the last 20 weeks of my pregnancy, and now this pain is cramping my lifestyle. I'm just really really ready to be back to myself - able to move and walk and stand at the kitchen counter making lunch without having to hunch over. I just keep telling myself my body's been through a lot and will have to recover eventually! Haha. Although if this pain lasts much longer, I'm going to go see what the chiropractor can do for me. Until then, I'm exceedingly grateful to have Justin here to help me out. He's pretty much been at my beck n' call for the past week and I don't know what I'd do without him. (Semi-terrified of him going back to work on Monday!)

Oh, breastfeeding. This is the other upper body pain that is affecting me. Haha. It's funny how I have the opposite problem I had with Lucy, but it's causing me just as much frustration! Lucy took forever to learn how to latch and it took forever for my milk to come in. But apparently my milk came in slowly and nicely and Lucy was a gentle nurser with a perfect latch. Neither of those things are true this time around. My milk came in with a vengeance. I've never gotten truly engorged, but I am uncomfortably full most of the time. And Lena is a vigorous sucker with a shallow latch. I'm experiencing the "cracked and bleeding" nipples for the first time. Lucky me! And I just can't figure out what to do about the engorgement. I've been feeding on demand and letting her go as long as she wants. Usually, though, she fills up on one side and my other side is in agony. I do everything in my power to get her to wake up, but even if I get her awake enough to latch on, she only downs a couple gulps and is out again.

My biggest source of frustration is not knowing whether my nipples just need to toughen up, or if her latch really is that bad that I need to correct it. She usually starts out really shallow because she doesn't open her mouth wide enough, but I have no clue how to make her open it any wider. There are about 20 seconds of toe-curling pain before she finally starts sucking deeply at which point I think the latch is good. But are those first 20 seconds doing too much damage to my nipples? Will it get better? I'm fine toughing it out if I know there's an end in sight!

And then what do I do about the near-constant fullness? Even right after she eats, I don't feel like I'm really empty. I've pumped a few times just to give myself more relief, but is that just teaching my body to make more milk? Do I just need to tough that out too? I'm so paranoid about clogs/mastitis!

I'm still doing well on the anxiety front. I cried a little bit last night because I'm so frustrated about the amount of pain I'm still in, and the confusion about how to solve my breastfeeding problems. Over all, though, I'm doing so much better than last time. I'm eating like a hog and truly enjoying this time with Lena. If anything, I have anxiety over how fast she's growing up and how quickly the newborn stage is slipping away. There's nothing better than a tiny baby snuggled up against your chest. So worth all the pain. And I haven't felt too much anxiety about Lucy feeling neglected. She's getting plenty of attention. I'm really focusing on playing with her a lot while Lena sleeps (which is pretty much anytime she's not eating), and Justin has been doing great with entertaining her as well.

So there's the ridiculously long 1 week update. Any advice about breastfeeding would be greatly appreciated!!


  1. I wish I could give you breastfeeding advice! With my crappy supply issues I don't have much experience with the issues you're dealing with! I'd call the lactation consultant at your hospital and get some professional advice right away! That's what she's there for :)

    I'm glad you are enjoying your sweet baby girl so much! I can feel my baby fever starting to bubble up... :P

  2. I'm sure your back and core are off because you were carrying her so far out in front of you that your balance and things got off! Take it easy and hopefully it corrects itself.

    Ohhh how I remember those first two weeks with Ellie. I know EXACTLY what you mean by "toe curling pain"!! I really did curl my toes at every feeding/pumping during the first two weeks. I thought it would never get better. But slowly it did. I recommend getting some of those gel soothies to keep in the fridge and put on every so often. Also, I got a prescription cream/gel from the hospital for cracked & bleeding nipples. Maybe ask your doctor about it, I think it helped heal things up quicker.

    Maybe a different hold would help her latch? I mostly did the football hold in the beginning.

    By pumping after feeding, yes you are teaching your body to create more milk, but remember she'll eventually eat more too! Get a box of storage bags and freeze the extra. You will even out eventually too and not be so engorged all the time.

    I think you know that I am one who is pumping exclusively (although I do nurse in the middle of the night if Ellie wakes up), so I can't give you any long-term nursing advice.

    I'm glad to hear things are starting well! You've got some bumps ahead -- I won't lie -- but you'll come out on the other side just fine. :)


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