Cracking The Feeding Code (How NOT to feed)

No, I don’t feel that great today. Robert was very cranky the whole night, and Ron and I took turns rocking him. In the end Ron headed for a much needed sleep while I continued with rhythmic rocking and singing meaningless and monotone lullabies. My face today shows the strain of sleeplessness, and my incision aches and pulls whenever I move up from a sitting or lying position. I had to resort to one of the pain suppositories.

Things improved a little in the morning, but we still had to give the bloated little one several doses of gripe water. He always calmed down considerably after taking them.
My swollen and engorged breasts continued to hurt, although I diligently breastfed Robert. I kept wearing a “scrunchy” hair band on my wrist to indicate which side I was supposed to breastfeed from next, otherwise I would not be able to tell, both were sore and swollen.

By midday, and after a late breakfast and strong coffee, Ron and I got somewhat more comfortable, less zombie and more jet-lagged, as it were. We started organizing the endless paperwork from the hospital. We opened a paper file for Robert, containing all his birth paraphernalia, and his initial medical records. There were doctor’s appointments to be made, and hospital accounts to be paid (the ones that are not settled by medical aid). It took over an hour to sort things out, and we now have a list on the fridge showing us the important health visits for the next month.

The day was cold, not a sign of spring, and according to the long-range forecast there will be a couple of cold fronts during the next week which is supposed to mark the beginning of spring here in South Africa.

Evening came, and it was turning out to be a heavy one. I gulped the dinner Ron prepared, and started the duty of trying to feed, change, burp, and rock. Eventually the crying got too much out of hand with Robert pulling his knees up towards his stomach, and all other measures of massaging and soothing failed, so we resorted to another dose of gripe water. Ron and I alternated this duty between us for a few hours, then we agreed that Ron should go to bed, because there was no point in both of us driving ourselves crazy with an inconsolable infant.

Throughout the night, I got even less success with feeding Robert; He got more and more agitated every time he tried to suck on an engorged breast. My instinct told me that something was clearly wrong, and on impulse I moved from the reclining comfortable chair to another straight-backed and less comfortable one. My position was different and I tried leaning forward towards the baby while feeding him. He gulped a few times then started sucking rhythmically. An hour later Ron came in intrigued by the silence in the lounge and saw me sitting there, wild-eyed and tired but calm. The rest of the night was exhausting. Robert nursed so hard and so long that I was terribly sore by morning, but he slept for a couple of hours at a time. His nappies started to get full, which was not the case for the last 36 hours. As it turned out the poor little one was not getting enough milk since we came home, I swore never to sit again on the comfortable chair by the bay window, and hoped that I haven’t done permanent damage to my milk supply or to Robert’s appetite and health.

One thought on “Cracking The Feeding Code (How NOT to feed)

  1. Email to family on September 1st:
    We have progressed from zombie to jet lagged so things are improving. Actually I think Robert will turn out to be a good baby but we have our fingers crossed – over the past 36 hours we have made mistakes.

    At the hospital baby breastfed and slept very well, no crying, perfect – complete opposite once he came home. We just couldn’t figure out what was wrong – over tired, cold (the flat is drafty), not swaddled tightly enough, problem getting used to milk, gulping too much air, or might it be the onset of that dreaded C word (colic)? We have one comfortable chair that I have had for years it was the obvious choice for breastfeeding – we put it in a nice spot, lots of towels, everything perfect. Randa just didn’t look comfortable – baby would struggle to latch on and feed then struggle again. With breast feed babies you never know whether the baby is getting enough unlike a bottle where you can clearly see. Last night about 3 am it suddenly went real quiet and when I checked on Randa baby was feverishly feeding and she was sitting in straight backed chair. Yes you guessed it – more upright posture and bingo baby happy. Suddenly things have changed – no crying (even when we change him), not much burping, sleeps sound. We know he is getting enough as the diapers are fuller and he tends to vomit a bit. So far Robert is back to what he was like in the hospital. We might even attempt a proper bath today! All from a
    change in position…

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