One of the earliest and easiest decisions I had to make while waiting for my baby is to breastfeed. While making this decision is easy, the actual experience is not! The beginning of my breastfeeding journey is quite unusual; despite the initial bumps in the road, thankfully, my baby and I are almost in our second month now! Here’s the story of our first 72 hours.
I gave birth at night via a cesarean operation, and my baby and I didn’t have skin-to-skin contact just like how I’ve always envisioned my birth to be. In the wee hours of the morning, about three hours after she was born, my baby was brought to me at the recovery room for her first feeding. I couldn’t move much so the nurse held my baby beside me so she could latch. Then, the nurse pinched my nipple and there it was – a tiny blob of liquid gold! This is it! My baby latched for a few minutes on one breast before the nurse transferred her to the other. She said my baby looks satisfied with her feeding! Despite feeling numb from the operation, my heart swelled with pride at this unforgettable moment.
When I woke up in my room that same day, I felt the first wave of pain on my lower limbs. It took me forever to move an inch from lying down. My baby, on the other hand, was still under observation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Because of these, there was no way we could meet for breastfeeding. The NICU called us so I could send breastmilk to my baby in small containers instead – but despite my pumping, nothing came out. My husband and I had to sign a consent form for my baby to feed with formula milk for the time being. I was heartbroken. This same day, my breasts started to swell and harden. I tried to pump nonetheless, to no avail.
When my catheter was removed and my OB gave me permission to go to the NICU the next day (on a wheelchair and with assistance, of course), I was so excited that it felt like seeing my baby again for the first time. I was still in pain but the thought of finally holding her in my arms worked like magic! As soon as the nurse gave me my baby, she asked if I had a good supply of milk. I said I wasn’t sure. She taught me to massage my breasts from the outward towards the nipple. At first, my baby’s latching produced sound, (our pedia said this shouldn’t be the case), but later on she was able to get the right position for latching. When she was full, I had to leave her so she could sleep. When I came back for her feeding a few hours later, she latched on one breast and milk leaked on the other! Oh, the joy of a first-time mom! After she fed, I left for my room again and went back a few hours later to feed her. This was the initial routine that we established.
Because of our bonding the previous day, meeting my baby this day was different: I felt like she already knows me and can recognize me as her mom. We didn’t have any difficulty finding the perfect feeding position. She latched on as if she was already doing it for a long time! My milk supply was good, and I’m happy to see my baby enjoying it.
Something I looked forward to about going home is that I didn’t have to leave my baby somewhere else and go back for her after a few hours. I was so excited to have her right beside me 24/7! Before going home, our pedia met us in the breastfeeding station. She said my breasts were full and I needed to pump while my baby is not feeding. She also commended my baby for the right position her mouth takes, and for knowing exactly how to latch properly. She also pointed out that since my baby’s eyes were closed during feeding, it means she is soothed by my scent and by the sensations of breastfeeding! Oh, the joy!
Needless to say, we didn’t have much sleep on the first night at home, but I noticed that she goes hungry every two hours, and she poops a few minutes after we feed. The routine was exhausting, but it was something I am really thankful for! With the help of my husband and my mother, my baby and I learned more comfortable positions for breastfeeding as we went along.
This is the story of my first 72 hours of breastfeeding. It wasn’t the smoothest, but this is one I’ll always be proud to tell. What’s yours?