Monday, September 16, 2013

Newborn Weight & Breastfeeding

With the iPad it's easy to start blog entries and jot down my thoughts during the day or nights. It is harder to edit the entries and get them posted. I started this entry and thoughts earlier. It's not really an important entry for my readers - it's more important for future google-ers to find and maybe learn a bit from my experience.

I included some helpful links I was given at the end of the post. I also included some St. Louis resources for those in the area. 

Newborn Weight
Liam weighed 8 pounds and 3 ounces at birth. I consider this an elevated birth rate. I had been on IV fluids for 53 hours. I'm not sure how much fluid was pumped into my body, and even though it was a slow drip, it still affected my body (lots of swelling) and affected his birth weight. 

When we left the hospital I should have asked what his discharge weight was or what other weight they measured. He had a 24 hour birth rate of 7 pounds and 14 ounces. This is important to know. 

I was told to take him to the doctor on Monday (September 9).The main doctors I see (Dr. H or Dr. W.) were not available, and I asked for a pediatrician appointment and was scheduled with Dr. D. 

Jason went back to work and my mom went with me to the doctor appointment. (My mom is awesome, she came and stayed with us Sunday through Thursday.) Dr. D didn't know my birth story. Nor did she know Liam's birthrate or 24 hour weight. Nor does she have children. And it turns out she's only done a handful of infant exams. This is the only downfall to my doctor's office. I love that when I am sick I can get an appointment that day; but my newborn's first appointment should have been scheduled with a doctor who actually knew what they were doing. 

My doctor (Dr. H) is a lactation consultant and has a 5 month old! This is very important. At least maybe give me a doctor who has breastfed before! 

6-day old doctor appointment
So the doctor's appointment - Liam's weight had fallen to 7 pounds and 10 ounces. We had already talked to Lactation at Mercy on Friday afternoon because we were concerned about him not latching and how frustrating it was getting. Dr. P came in to examine him also. Liam wasn't dehydrated, and he was in great condition, but he had lost 9 ounces of weight. 

Dr. P told me to stop breast feeding and pump. He wanted me to measure how much milk Liam was getting. I wanted to know how much to feed him - and wasn't given a straight answer - "Feed when he's hungry." We were already supplementing with a friend's pumped breastmilk and increased that 10 fold when we got home. A first time mom, 6 days into having a newborn, does not want to pump exclusively. Later, I came to found out that Dr. P wasn't informed at all to tell a new mom to pump exclusively. I need a medical grade pump, not my little Medala personal pump. Dr. P also didn't tell me how to bottle feed my son correctly. He offered no advice - just a statement to "Pump and measure." 

We made a follow up appointment for Thursday (with Dr. H) for a weight check.

Depression Settles In - Thanks Dr. P
I spent the next two days very depressed. Pumping made me feel disconnected and demoralized. I sobbed the first night because I hated that I couldn't provide for my son. And in the end, it wasn't that I couldn't provide, it was that the doctor put this thought in my head that I wasn't able to provide. I had no desire to get out of bed at night to pump. I didn't want to be hooked up to a machine.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday I started to vocalize myself more about how unhappy I was. And my friend D said to stop pumping. Being depressed and pumping wasn't going to get me anywhere. I have a lot of resources in St. Louis (more on those later) but I figured I'd wait until I saw my real doctor on Thursday to see what other steps I should take. 

The most helpful was on Wednesday I went to Kangaroo Kids to purchase some nursing bras. This local place is very helpful and they fit you and give you a lot of options (even larger chested women have options.) The owner, who helped me with bras, is also a lactation consultant (LC). And I'm glad I talked to her. She agreed the doctor was wrong/stupid/dumb/on my shit list, and explained how to correctly bottle feed my son. She also told me that if I was going to pump I needed to be using a medical grade pump - and the doctor should have told me that. I've listed a few of her links down below. 

Doctor appointment Thursday
Jason went with me and I was very happy to see Dr. H. Liam's weight was 7 pounds and 15 ounces. I made a note to ask Dr. H about his elevated birthrate. She was able to pull up his hospital records and see all the important info. Why Dr. D couldn't do that four days before, I don't know. 

Dr. H spent an hour with us. She even had me breastfeed and helped me check his latch issue. She told me to stop pumping and just breastfeed as much as possible. I walked away feeling a lot more confident and reassured about breastfeeding. She said Liam was just perfect and his weight was fine. 

When I got home, I put the pump away. She did suggest that in the morning after feeding Liam, I could pump to help start establishing a supply, if I wanted. But no need to pump all day long or everytime, just once a day if I want.

Since the doctor appointment, things have been going much better. I haven't pumped since last Wednesday and Liam latches and eats well and often. I am not depressed about breastfeeding. Sometimes Liam still gets worked up and has trouble latching, but a little patience pays off and usually once he latches, it's a 20-30 minute latch.

Helpful Links & Resources
I have "flat nipples". (apologies if too much info.) At the hospital one of the nurses noticed this and gave me a Medela Contact Nipple. This little piece of plastic has been the most helpful tool with breastfeeding and establishing a latch. My doctor says she even used this with her child and it was a lifesaver. She recommends using it to get started during each BF session and then taking it away halfway through to teach him a true latch. Liam has done well with it and without it. It has helped a lot - I recommend it for anyone with latch issues, especially since it is not expensive. 

Caring for your baby and young child - This book is very helpful. It even covers prenatal care and birth (for the woman) before getting into newborn care. It was recommended at our Mercy Baby class. The book has a LOT of information and I would recommend it for all new parents.

KellyMom is a great resource for breastfeeding help. The LC at Kangaroo Kids gave me a few specific links to check out. My doctor also recommended checking out this website.
Establishing and maintaining milk supply when baby is not breastfeeding
How to bottle feed a breast fed baby
Is my baby getting enough?

For the St. Louis area folks - Kangaroo Kids is a great resource also. They offer breastfeeding support groups and lactation consultations. Kangaroo Kids is a resale shop - check them out for used children's clothing and toys. They also have an infant scale so you can weigh your baby. You can weigh, breastfeed, and weigh again to see how much your child took in. (This is useful unless your kiddo is like mine and poops during or right after breastfeeding.)

St. Louis La Leche League - this group is a breast feeding support group. The meetings are free to attend. A seminar is being held September 28, 2013 at the Zoo. It appears World Breastfeeding Week is coming up.

The other resource I have is the Mercy Hospital. They also have lactation consultants who answer questions via phone and will meet one-on-one for a small fee. There is also a free Breastfeeding with Confidence Group which meets every Wednesday from 1 to 2pm at Mercy Hospital. They also offer a newborn scale for weighing. 

1 comment:

kerwin said...

I may have a story about ending up topless and trying to breastfeed in the middle of kangaroo kids when annie was five days old. They are life savers over there! And you probably won't have flat nipples for long. I had the same issue, but let's just say that things changed after 7 months of breastfeeding. I am vowing to not pump as much this go round. I am still not sure what I was doing, but I hated that pump! Great job sticking with it!

Oh, and isn't it shocking how some pediatricians are zero help? I had one doc (when I couldn't get in to see my regular guy) say "I am not a dietician or a lactation consultant, so I can't tell you how much your baby should be eating." WTF?