It’s been 9 weeks since Jacob was born. My apologies for letting this blog sit here unattended during that time. I’ve been up to my neck in it! Newborn, Breastfeeding dramas, Christmas, Cellulitis, Sleepless nights,… it has all been happening here.
Despite expressing colostrum for a month before Jacob was born, my milk supply never rose above 20 – 40 millilitres per feed. Within a week, Jacob needed closer to 100 millilitres per feed. The process went like this:
- Breastfeed on both sides for a total of 30 – 40 minutes
- Burp baby
- Top up with formula
- Burp baby
- Settle baby to sleep
- Attach breast pump and express as much as possible from both sides
- Collapse in a quivering heap for about an hour
As you can see, this is an exhausting process which only took a further toll on my milk supply. It soon became apparent to me that it wasn’t worth it – considering the minute amount I was expressing.
After a while, I decided to completely bottle feed him to make the process a little easier. He was having one expressed breast milk feed to every 3 or 4 formula feeds. That seemed sustainable and made feed time a bit quicker. However, after a week or so of that we realised it was upsetting his tummy. I spoke to a midwife at a clinic about it and discovered that giving baby a mixture of feeds like that can really upset them. He needs either full breast milk, full formula, or a fairly consistent blend, rather than the combination I had offered him. ie. one breast milk, 3 – 4 formula, one breast milk etc. For me to offer him a consistent blend, I would need to know fairly consistently how much milk I could express and that was impossible. After a few weeks battling with the breast pump and the process, I put him onto formula. [sigh]
It was no surprise. It was going to happen eventually, I just wish it didn’t have to be so difficult. I would have liked to breastfeed Jacob, or even express breast milk for a longer period of time. Exhaustion had the better of me.
Exhaustion later reared its head in the form of an infection of the skin called cellulitus. After a couple of rotten feverish days, I woke with surprise to see my stomach a bright shade of red. All the skin from navel to caesar scar had turned bright red overnight and was burning. It felt like a severe case of sunburn. It was Christmas Eve, a Saturday morning, and I was so lucky that my normal GP was still seeing patients and had time to see me. She drew around the area with a texta and told me if the inflamation grew outside that line then I would need to go to Emergency. It would require IV antibiotics. In the mean time, she injected me with antibiotics, prescribed me a bunch of tablets, and sent me home with the instructions “Cancel Christmas and rest – otherwise you’ll end up in hospital”.
So my menu of Baked Guinness Ham, Potato Bake and Salads, followed by Tiramisu, became cold ham, microwaved potato bake, supermarket salads and ice cream with lolly sprinkles. [sigh] It’s still unfinished business. I made the Tiramisu this week, but the Baked Guinness Ham will show up in the next few months for sure.
It’s been a harrowing few months, and the cellulitus has only just cleared up this week. I finished the nasty antibiotics yesterday. Rather than post a photo of my glowing red stomach with texta lines on it, I’ll share this post with a picture of the very handsome Jacob.