Welcome to a Life with a Baby where we are sharing our journey into parenthood. The first Friday of the month we will be sharing a story of what life was like.
Theme for month 1 would be struggling with eating and weight gain for Ava and us trying to figure out what to do.
All by myself:
After the first week at home Scott went back to work. My first day at home with a 1 week old infant was scary to say the least. I spent the first part of the Monday crying that I was going to make a mistake or mess up our child. My recovery from the c-section was okay but I wasn’t 100% yet (still not). I was not able to drive and felt isolated and lonely. There are still days I feel like that. Each day gets better than the last.
Only looking back did I realize that I was at home alone with a 1 week old infant. It wasn’t something I thought about at the time. I was just trying to get through each day. Scott checked in a ton in the first week and there were days when Starbucks came home when Scott did. But the first month was tough. She spent a lot of time crying and we were still waking up several times a night to eat and she wouldn’t go back to sleep. We managed through shift work over night to try to give each other a couple of hours of straight sleep. I amped up my coffee consumption and tried to deal as best as I could.
How Do I Walk?
I’m going to be honest and say we didn’t know what we were doing. We still don’t really. I know they say that there is no manual for this but you are daily making decisions to keep another human being alive. Talk about an important job. We kept reminding ourselves that we were trying to make the best decisions we could with the information that we had. We love this baby so much and any decision that we did make was out of unconditional love so we were hoping that would give us the courage we needed to make the right decisions.
I was told I could drive after I was in no pain from the c-section. It was the longest 3 weeks of my life. I felt trapped and isolated. It didn’t help that in the morning the weather was great and then by the time the afternoon hit it was horrible again. We slept in the morning and were up in the afternoon. That weather pattern didn’t help so much. Even when I could drive I was still told I could not lift more than Ava so lifting the car seat with her in it was a no-go. Our work around was Scott putting the car seat in the car and me carrying Ava and putting her in a car seat. If we needed to go out I grabbed the stroller and put her in it. Happy we had Ava in mid-June as if this was in the winter time I would not have left the house.
Getting Food, But Not Enough:
By week three Ava was still struggling with gaining weight and not eating very much. I knew my supply was the issue. We were already giving her formula but she would cry after eating. We had honestly thought, “Well you had 2oz of formula, why are you crying?” (Yes we literally thought this). It did not occur to us that she was still hungry. We were told that she could be given formula however there was no clear guidelines on what she could/should have each meal that we knew about. While supply was low we also didn’t know what she was getting from the breast. The amount of formula to give them in week 1 is far different than week 3. This wasn’t clear to us so we thought that the formula amount we gave her in the first week was fine now too. How wrong we were.
We had to go back to the doctor every 2 weeks to measure her weight. We knew that was an issue but the doctor didn’t really come out and say you need to feed her more. I think he saw that we were trying to do the best we could. We kept trying with the breastfeeding but it seemed like she was never full. I really wanted to breastfed her exclusively but knew I needed help.
Talking to a Nurse:
In our area we are able to call and speak to a public health nurse to get information about feeding. The nurses always check in regarding PPD (postpartum depression). I was very open with anyone who asked how my pregnancy was going and I was the same after I had Ava. I shared that I was feeling fine other than feeling like crap about not being able to breastfeed. Then the water works came. Mom guilt is real however the pressure to breastfeed is unbelievable. Everyone knows that it is the best thing for baby but there are times you have to supplement. Baby still needs to eat while you are figuring stuff out and Ava was no different. She gave me some tips, opposite of the tips from the hospital, and booked an appointment with a nurse/lactation consultant.
Getting Help + First Trip Alone:
The lactation consultant was our first trip out, just Ava and I. It was a good appointment but again it brought up difficult emotions. I was happy it was a 1 on 1 appointment and the nurse had been through some of the same issues I had when she had her first children. It made me feel comfortable and that it was something I could overcome. I could overcome the disappointment I had of myself for not being able to breastfeed that would have been a win. I was given tools to help improve feedings and another appointment was booked for a follow up. We went home and struggled for another couple of weeks until our doctor gave us clear direction in week 5.
Stay tuned for month 2 in life with a baby and how we resolved our eating issues.