Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Boobs and Poops..... Feeding Challenges

On Thursday, July 13, she had been doing well for a few days and there hadn't been any changes to her treatments. Her regular doc was away so we asked the doc on call what was up. We were getting impatient at that point. He said all she needs to do is mouth feed. Great! So when can we start that? How about tomorrow? he says. We realised that had we not asked, things would have continued as usual until her regular doc returned.

So we tell the nurse and she's not too thrilled, but doc said so so she agreed, only she said "no" to breastfeeding, claimed they had to be able to measure how much she took, so had to be bottle. That made some sense to us, so we didn't argue. By Sunday, July 16, however, Angelina still wasn't taking more than 20-30mls (1oz) via bottle of the 60mls 'required' and we started to get worried. Her suck was fine, she just didn't like the bottle. Her Saturday nurse suggested next time I try putting her to the breast, just to see. So on Sunday night, we asked the nurse when I could start breastfeeding. "Not til she takes 60mls via bottle 2x/day for a couple of days, then 3x/day, then 4x/day." WTH?! That'd be more than a week before I could even put her to breast! It made no sense, esp given the whole point was breastfeeding, not bottle feeding! But this nurse was no-nonsense, no deviation from standard protocol. That was the one time I finally gave in to despair. The thought of our Angelina being there another week or more, when she was clearly doing much better made me lose it.

On Monday morning I called the hospital's lactation consultant. Smart move. The above was a load of rubbish! They could weigh her before and after if they wanted to know how much she took. So she talked to the nurse and the doctor. By the time I came in at 11am, the nurse said "you can feed her!" Thankfully Holly, my midwife was with me that day, as the LC was away and though I was told 'there are plenty of people around to help with breastfeeding', no one was there and I was on my own. Holly guided me through it, And amazingly, Angelina took to it like a champ.

However, the next few times were rough. Fortunately the LC came by each time to work with us. By Tuesday afternoon, the doc decided it was better to just breastfeed on demand, skip the tube and bottle feedings entirely! Woohoo!!! So beginning Wed am I just stayed at the hospital and fed her whenever she wanted. One nurse commented that I was feeding too frequently (every 2 hrs or less). By now I was more confident of my knowledge and said rubbish! She eats when she's hungry, not on a schedule. And she gained 30g that day! So Thursday her doc said "take her home!"

Moral of the story - Question! Listen to your instincts and trust yourself. Though overall the staff at the hospital were great, for some the idea of going against the status quo was too much. I think they're also not used to parents who 1)are there constantly, 2)are knowledgeable and 3)are willing to question their procedures. I can appreciate their need for a schedule - it's not practical to feed every baby in the nursery on demand. Fortunately her neonatalogist trusted us and let us follow our instincts, else she'd still be there now learning to bottle feed.

Breastfeeding at home was still a challenge. It took us a few more days to get it down right, consistently. But we have, and now she's at it non-stop....

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