The first week of motherhood 

My god. What a week. I won’t talk about Little M’s birth story here as that’s another story in itself but in short she stayed breech until the bitter end and was born by caesarean. This week has been such a roller coaster but here’s a brief roundup, day by day.

Most of it I wrote on each day, so it’s a fairly true reflection of how I felt at each stage. I hope it helps other new mums to feel they’re not alone xx

Monday: Birth. The first night in hospital; we didn’t sleep at all and just responded to Little M’s needs. The midwives did their best to help me to start breastfeeding but Little M was a fan of chomping down hard on my nipple and I ended up very bruised and sore.

First week of motherhood, week 1 with a baby, first week with a baby, baby week 1, first week of being a parent

Tuesday: Still in hospital. Very little sleep but all felt manageable. I kept asking about latch as didn’t think it was okay, but was reassured that it was fine.

Wednesday: We went home! But not until we’d worried about and been tested for Jaundice and had a heel prick to test Little M’s blood sugar. We were still breast feeding on demand. It was still hurting. But I was starting to feel like I was making progress.

Maxi Cosy Pebble Plus Car Seat
Thursday: The midwife came. I love my midwife but it all went a bit pear shaped at this point. Midwife was impressed that my milk was coming in but pointed out breastfeeding latch wasn’t good enough and helped me to get it right while she was there. Little M has 8% weight loss, so we had to start a feeding plan, with feeds  every 3 hours instead of on demand. By night time I was in bits. Little M didn’t want to feed when the schedule said and I just couldn’t get the latch right by myself.
Added to this hubby had fed me a well-intentioned-but-bloody-stupid-idea-in-reality curry for dinner which triggered my IBS. By 1:30am I’d been sick four times, run to the loo and added to the breastfeeding issues, wanted to die. This is no exaggeration. I told hubby I wanted to bottle feed as I couldn’t stand the thought of Little M not getting what she needed from me, due to my inability to get things right.

We tried giving Little M some expressed milk in a bottle and she loved it! Decision made. I’d try to express and bottle feed the breast milk for as long as possible.

Friday: A different midwife visited to support breastfeeding as I had requested an extra visit the day before. She was very supportive about expressing. All was going well with the express-feed-sterilise cycle but the amount of breast milk expressed seemed to be waning (this has since gone up and down). Hubby has described us as a well-oiled machine!

Saturday: Midwife came again and weighed Little M. She’d put weight on but still 6% short of birth weight. Midwife was very supportive about my choice to express, with a plan to move to formula in future, but also made a last ditch attempt to check that I didn’t want support to get Little M back on the breast. I declined as frankly the thought terrifies me, and she was very supportive of this and backed off immediately.

The midwife also did the heel prick test on Little M and removed the dressing from my section wound, which is healing well but still painful. Interestingly, when I told her I was getting terrible pain at one end of the scar, she said this is very common and research shows that it’s linked to the side of the body the surgeon was standing. True in my case. I do like a bit of evidence-based info; strangely it’s made me feel better about the pain although it still makes me yelp at times!

Sunday: I’m writing this on Sunday morning and feel like we’ve got into a good routine now. I no longer feel guilty about not breastfeeding. For the time being at least, Little M is getting my breast milk; it’s just not coming directly out of my breast. I know the NCT woman said it’s not as good that way, but do you know what? Stuff her! I’m doing my best and not having a breakdown as a result, which I consider a win.

Throughout all this I’ve been very limited as to what I can do due to pain from the c-section wound. Hubby has been amazing running around sterilising like nobody’s business and keeping me fed. It feels like we’re a really strong team and I just love him all the more.

And of course this little thing makes it all worth it too…

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26 Comments

  1. May 30, 2016 / 7:42 am

    It’s like reading my own story!!!! This Is so weird! O couldn’t latch or wouldn’t latch I’ll never know and we went exactly the same route. I was sad I couldn’t do BF the way the NCT woman made me really want to, but he was nourished and that my lovely is all it EVER matters. You’re doing amazingly well. Massive congratulations and hang on in there. If you need any tips on formula feeding (because in my experience the NHS are reluctant to guide in this), just ask. I formula fed exclusively from 4 weeks when my expressed milk dried up.
    Btw, she really is gorgeous!

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 9:28 am

      Thank you, Lisa, I will definitely be in touch. It’s so good to know that someone else has been through the same. And O is a strapping young man! x

  2. May 30, 2016 / 8:15 am

    Ah bless you, sounds like a tough week. Don’t worry about bottle feeding expressed milk, one of my friends had to do this as he wouldn’t take from the breast and although a bit more faffy worked perfectly well. I also had one side of my scar that hurt more – how weird! Glad hubby is looking after you xx

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 9:26 am

      He really is. I feel so blessed despite how hard it’s been. I think we’ve found our rhythm now 🙂

  3. May 30, 2016 / 10:10 am

    You’re doing an amazing job, well done lovely! You have a beautiful daughter and you’re doing everything right for her xx

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 10:11 am

      Thank you, Hannah. We’ll keep plugging away! xx

  4. May 30, 2016 / 10:26 am

    You’re doing fab. My first post-birth experience was near identical to yours. Post c-section curry!! hahaha!! Brilliant! (Definitely not recommended! Says the woman who had a massive big mac straight afterwards…) She’s gorgeous 🙂 keep us posted x #marvmondays

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 11:39 am

      It was a definite error!

  5. May 30, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    I couldn’t get my baby to latch properly (after what felt like the entire staff trying to help) so after that, the pump became my best friend. You are right- she is still getting so many benefits from your breast milk even if it’s expressed! I eventually moved to formula after a few months. Formula or breast, I’m a big believer in “fed is best”. My little one has been fine with this arrangement and it has saved my sanity in the early days! You are doing a great job! Congratulations on your beautiful daughter!

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 1:07 pm

      Thank you. I’ll try to keep going for as long as I can, even if we end up combination feeding. I’m a bit worried about the sustainability of pumping all the time once hubby is back to work!

  6. May 30, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    In the hospital I couldn’t get A to latch. I even tried nipple shields but she was a lazy eater and would only suckle if formula was syringed into the nipple shield. She had jaundice and needed to eat, so I switched to formula. I commend you for expressing. I tried expressing in the hospital and I just couldn’t handle it. I have respect for those who do keep at it. 🙂

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 4:48 pm

      I asked for nipple shields in the hospital and they wouldn’t let me have any! Maybe if they had, we’d be in a different place now. Who knows? Expressing doesn’t feel sustainable long term, but we’ll see how we go.

  7. Rebecca
    May 30, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    Huge congratulations on the arrival of your gorgeous baby! I remember sobbing for the first 3 days after my son was born as he didn’t latch on and my boobs were sore and bleeding. The midwives still insisted I carried on but after 4 days I realised that I was going mad and switched to formula. From that moment life changed and we got to enjoy our new baby. There are no rules, no right or wrong way just what works for you. Enjoy every moment xx

  8. May 30, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    The most important thing is staying sane and feeding Little M and it sounds like you are doing what you need to for both. Day 3 is a killer for hormones anyway and new babies haven’t read the same baby books as us. Trust your instinct and that you are doing the best thing for that gorgeous girl. It all gets easier, eventually you get more sleep, longer between expressing/feeds and you get into a routine. I hope the next week is much better for you x x x]

  9. May 30, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    Awww congratulations lovely she looks gorgeous. Stuff the NCT woman!! Honestly really not as good why ***** not? Sounds like you totally have it in check. Looking forward to reading about the birth. Well done you xx #MarvMondays xx

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 10:50 pm

      Thank you. She was a definite breastfeeding advocate but it would have been nice to cover more of the options x

  10. Fran Back With A Bump
    May 30, 2016 / 9:33 pm

    What an amazingly honest post. And wow Little M is simply scrumptious. Don’t be hard on yourself it sounds like you have absolutely given it all you can. I wanted to breastfeed this time, then Poppy arrived 6 weeks early and was in special care so it wasn’t feasible. I expressed for 3 weeks but my supply just dwindled and I too felt a bit guilty but equally knew she’d had a good start. Hope things settle down and you recover well. #marvmondays

  11. May 30, 2016 / 10:33 pm

    A lot of that sounds so familiar! The first few weeks (maybe months!) are a real roller-coaster but I promise you it does get so much easier 🙂 #MarvMondays

    • Jules
      Author
      May 30, 2016 / 11:00 pm

      I hope so!

  12. May 31, 2016 / 10:47 am

    Sounds like you’re doing an amazing job. It’s inspiring to read that you’ve found a way you are comfortable feeding your baby that works for all of you – surely that has to be the most important thing.

  13. May 31, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    What a gorgeous new bubba! Things never seem to go to plan, do they? I regret stopping BFing with my first and I bet I’ll have problems with the next one. If I learned anything from my first, it’s that you have to go with the flow (as much as possible anyway)! Good job Mama. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    • Jules
      Author
      May 31, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      I think I’ll regret it too once I stop expressing, but I’ll also feel relief. It hasn’t worked out as I imagined but actually what I want is a stress-free start to my baby’s life, and trying to breast feed wasn’t giving me that. I think a happy relationship and attachment between myself and my baby is more important than how she’s fed x

  14. Ruth Jayne
    June 2, 2016 / 9:47 pm

    I had the same issue with breast feeding. Completely broke down when the little one was five days old, felt absolutely horrible about myself and switched to bottles. The little one was a lot happier and so was I. It sounds like you have lots of supportive people around you and your little girl is beautiful (: x

    • Jules
      Author
      June 2, 2016 / 9:54 pm

      Thank you! I am still pumping away and feeding breast milk exclusively, but not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it up. Will cross the formula bridge when it comes to it x

  15. June 19, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    Ah I remember this feeling well, it was such a tough few weeks! You are doing amazingly well to be expressing no matter what anyone has told you previously; I lasted a month breastfeeding and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, so go you! Xxx

    • Jules
      Author
      June 20, 2016 / 12:16 am

      Thank you! I am still expressing now and Little M is 4 weeks today. Not sure how long I will continue for but it’s going ok so far! xx

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