If you remember during the previous night, when my wife was still in the hospital with Ripley he fed on and off almost all night. This was now our first night with him at home and from around 00:30 he did the same thing again until the early hours after which we spent a good 5 hours asleep – and NOTHING could wake him for a feed.
So this is how we thought the weeks to come would be. Everyone always warns you about the sleepless nights.
A little later in the day though, after a day which was a little hazy due to the number of times he woke up, the midwife came around for a visit. This time it was one of the midwives we’ve seen for the past few weeks at the doctors surgery which was nice as she knew my wife and the background of the pregnancy.
We asked her about the feeding and what she said came as a surprise for us.
While we were in the hospital we had a lactation specialist midwife watch Ripley feed for about 2 minutes and then talk to my wife about the feeding. When she mentioned that we had fed him a little formula during that evening she said, no, no that’s the worst thing you could do.
When we spoke to our midwife however she made a lot more sense. She mentioned that there is a chance that Ripley is tongue tied (where the webbing under the tongue is attached quite far forward, limiting the movement of the tongue – something I have and never had sorted out as a baby). As such he is not able to latch on to a nipple properly getting a good enough seal to get the milk moving. She said that all you want is to try for 10 minutes and if he can’t latch, move to a bottle.
The reason for this is that when he cant latch he gets himself all stressed out, hot and knackered… the more energy he uses, without being able to get the right amount of milk down him, the more weight he is going to lose! It makes sense!
That’s where we made the decision to move across to formula milk, with our ilk of choice being SMA gold, or SMA pro 1 or what ever it’s called these days. However we also still want to extract boob milk and give him some of that. My wife needs to clear those boobs out anyway to stop them getting sore (and he was making them sore anyway) so we decided that we might as well give what ever we can to him too.
For the rest of that day he fed like a superstar and even had a fairly early night. He was definitely not getting what he needed on just breast milk – without a doubt! So whether we move to 100% formula from here or use it to top up the breast milk, either way he is better off.
The midwife weighed him and it turns out he lost 4% of his birth weight, which is fine – they give them an allowance of a loss of up to 10%. However I think he wouldn’t have lost as much if it hadn’t been for the shitty advice we got in the hospital. That was a crap thing to say to my wife, because not only did it jeopardise his feeding, making him unsettled, it made my wife feel that she HAD to give breast milk… Sometimes a second opinion is the way to go!
Tip of the day – Way before your partner is due to give birth discuss the issue of breast feeding vs. formula feeds. Talk it over in length and make sure that she understands that breast is not always best. What’s best is what works best for both mum and baby combined… if the feeding is off for one or the other, it is bad for both of them. The feeding needs to suit everyone and if that means formula works the best, then so be it!
BUT When the day comes where she needs to move away from breast feeding and over to formula she WILL forget about this conversation and will most likely get upset about it. She might even feel like a failure or bad mum. We know of course that this is always bullshit, and she will need to be reminded both of this and of the conversation you had potentially months earlier!
Make her remember that no matter how the baby feeds, as long as it is feeding, that’s all that matters!
The baby blues
There is one thing which they really mention and stress at the hospital before you leave and that is the baby blues and the development of this in to post natal depression.
It’s a real problem and a common one at that. It is thought that as many as 80% of new mums might experience this, and it is usually just after they get home for the first time. Today we got our first little taste of this, however thankfully it wasn’t too bad today.
My wife got quite emotional and had a little bit of a cry. It was all brought on by the news of the tongue tied latch problem. This is why I mentioned the tip of the day above, because it is such a big trigger for them getting emotional, and it’s important to remain supportive but also try to stick to your guns about how well they are doing, whether they can breast feed or not!
For us, this only lasted a little while, maybe a couple of hours, however that’s not to say that it won’t rear its head again! It’s something which can be on going and might be directed at themselves, the baby or you, and it’s important just to roll with it and not get too emotional or aggressive as a response – it’s a big culmination for them of hormones, sleep deprivation and having to deal with the fact that what was inside them for 9 months all of a sudden isn’t there any more, but now manifests itself in a much more tangible fashion. The transition of foetus in the womb to baby in the hand can be a tough one!
Family Comes Over
Coming home has definitely got its advantages on top of being more comfortable… My family had some more chances now to come over and see this little guy. Just today we had my parents over again as well as my sisters family, allowing him to be met for the first time by a couple of his cousins.
So far absolutely everyone is over the moon with this little guy and all who meet him, fall instantly in love with him!