Baby latched on perfectly within an hour of delivery. I was so relieved. Maybe breastfeeding wouldn’t be as difficult as I expected.
I was wrong. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a hiccup that now requires a lot more effort than I had hoped. Because baby developed jaundice, this made him very sleepy, which meant he’d fall asleep at the breast–and less sucking meant less stimulation and less production. And this made his jaundice worse. It was a vicious cycle.
Needless to say, my milk was delayed in coming in and I had to intervene with constant pumping to get things going. The first time I pumped, I was able to get 4 ml in a 15-min session. Only four! This was terrible. In the meantime, baby was being bottle-fed with formula while in the hospital to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients. That’s right–bottle-fed. This was another hiccup. I was trying to avoid the bottle until baby was able to breastfeed with ease, but the baby needed food so I had no choice.
I’m now on day 7 of pumping and up to 60 ml per session. I’ve made progress in that respect.
Next mission: counteract the effect of bottle-feeding. I’m still breastfeeding the baby each time he’s hungry — for as long as he’d take it, just so he doesn’t get used to the bottle. I know he’s not getting enough but at least he’s still practicing the act.
Because of these challenges, my ideal 1-hr breastfeeding sessions are, instead, 1.5-2 hr sessions consisting of breastfeeding, bottle-feeding (with either pumped milk or formula) and pumping. And this is done every 3-4 hours, which means I have about 1-2 hours from the time I finish until I start the next session. This is much more work to feed a baby than I anticipated, but I’m trying my best. My goal is to eventually produce enough milk so that the baby won’t need to supplement with formula (and just save bottle-feeding for daddy to do when I’m away). Every time I look down at this innocent face, I know it’s all worth it.