Young parents usually underestimate the work needed for feeding their newborn.
Our son was born around evening time, and on that specific night, I was so tired from the 12-hour long laboring and really wanted to sleep through the night, but when the nurse asked if I would like to have some room-in time with my son to try breastfeeding, I said yes. As you know, we’d better take advantage of newborn’s suction instincts, the earlier we try to let them latch on, the better. If you put them on your breasts for the first hour of their life, they actually start seeking out your nipple just by instinct. But trust me, when you are so tired, you forget all things learned from breastfeeding class took weeks ago (early room-in, early hand expression of colostrum, etc).
So, when I tried and failed my attempt for breastfeeding for that night (there was no lactation consultant to help you at night) and overwhelmed by the desire to sleep, I tried to send him back to nursery (during the tour of the labor & delivery ward, they told us we can leave the newborn in the nursery overnight). It turned out I am too naive about this.
After I sent him back and started to fall asleep, my door was knocked and a nurse assistant wheeled him in. Instantly I knew what was wrong, the nursery staff didn’t want to deal with a crying baby! With the very last strength in me, I picked him up and held him on my breast and he calmed down a bit.
He slept on my breasts for a few hours and started to cry again. I noticed he has a poopy diaper so I tried to send him back to nursery again to change his diaper. This time I even walked him to the nursery myself with the hope that he won’t be sent back to my room again. I was totally wrong – in 15 minutes, the nanny wheeled him back to my room again saying he was hungry and he needed to eat. I was so tired thinking – “I tried, there was no milk yet…” and almost argued with her about this practice of bringing him to my room every one hour just because he was smacking his lips…
Looking backward, there were a few things we could have done better to kick-start our breastfeeding journey.
- Put the baby to your breast right away after delivery – I felt very weak after the labor and initially didn’t even want to have a screaming baby on my chest but once he was there I felt a flush of love and joy for this little guy.
- It is not a crime to give some formula to a baby if you felt too tired to feed him the first night, but you need to discuss this with your nurse.
- You can hand express some milk and feed to him if the baby still hasn’t got the hang of latching yet. Check out “hand expression Stanford hospital” for the video.