Monday, August 27, 2012

Got Milk?

Jules is 6 months old in this photo and has a yogurt mustache

At the beginning I didn't have any milk in my breasts, not one drop, my boobs were dry as a desert. It seemed like everyone in the hospital, apart from the cleaning staff, came by to squeeze and pinch my nipples.  How fun! 

For the first 2 days of Jules's life, he had absolutely no milk!  The nurse told me that a baby can survive without milk for the first 2 days of his life. Is this the baby version of Survivor?  I was wrought with guilt! Thank goodness he rarely cried, but when he did, I was sure it was because he was hungry. I begged the nurses for a bit of artificial milk, but they wouldn't allow it. If I really wanted to breastfeed, they told me I had to work at it and be patient. So I had him suckle at my breast, as much as possible, but the poor thing was frustrated as nothing would come out, so his lack of interest in my boobies was totally understandable.

On day 3 it was panic time, as he lost 10% of his original body weight and I still had no milk. They finally gave Jules some artificial milk and to my surprise he drank it from a cup! The nurse told me that they didn't want to give it to him in a bottle, otherwise his sucking habit would change and it would be more difficult to breastfeed. I felt so relieved that my baby finally had his first feeding, but I was still worried, as my milk had not come in. The nurses told me not to worry and I was instructed to do the following: -drink a lot of water (at least 2 litres per day) -drink non-alcoholic beer -every 3 hours pump each breast for 15 minutes. The very little milk that I eventually managed to get out, I gave to Jules in his little baby cup. Therefore, Jules's diet consisted of artificial milk in a glass and the few drops of breast milk I managed to pump out.

It did take about a good month before my milk came in.  I had to pump my breasts everyday, in order to stimulate the milk flow and after a month of persistence, Jules was finally strictly on breast milk.  I'm really glad I kept at it.  Breastfeeding is such a wonderful time for bonding.  The thought of stopping makes me sad, but we aren't there yet.

For a sore-free nipple, the trick is to slightly pinch your whole nipple between your fingers and pop it into the baby's mouth.  That way the baby takes the whole nipple and areola. 
With regard to public breastfeeding, I find that in France, everyone is cool about it.  At the hospital, when my husband's nephew (who is 33 years old) was visiting, I told him I need to breastfeed.  I thought he was going to leave the room, but he told me to go ahead and stayed in the room.  At first I was a bit shy about it, but now, I'll breastfeed anywhere and in front of anybody.  No big deal.

At the hospital, Jules did have a bit of jaundice, so we were instructed to put him by the window for natural lighting, which resolved the problem.  Here's a photo of him by the hospital window with a little birdie watching over him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Introducing Le Petit Prince, Jules

Jules was born on 17 February 2012, in France, weighing 3.51kg and measuring 51.5cm.  After 5 years of trying to conceive and an 18 hour long and trying labour, I was in awe the moment I saw his face.  It finally happened, I have a healthy baby boy! I'm a mom!  I just contributed to raising the IVF success rate in France! I kicked infertility to the curb! La vie est belle!   

The moment he arrived, they laid him on my chest area for about 2 hours.  In our personal experience, skin-to-skin contact right after birth was absolutely soothing for both mother and child.   It was like he knew I was a first time mom, so instead of scaring me with screams and cries,  he was incredibly calm and gentle (unlike me during labour).  What a considerate baby!  The whole time he was like Curious George, looking around with a lot of questions in his eyes, but one thing was certain, when he looked at me, he knew I was his mommy.  That look in his eyes just melted my heart! He did try to suckle my breast, but unfortunately, I didn't have any milk supply.  I felt quite guilty that I couldn't feed my baby straight away.

We spent 6 days in the hospital before we could go home.  During that time they taught me the baby basics: how to change a diaper, bath a baby, take his temperature from his bottom, breastfeed and even how to take boogers out of his nose.  Poopy diapers, booger nuggets, getting peed on - I welcomed it all! 

In France, the baby stays in the room with the mother, which was fantastic.  What a glorious time we had.  People came to visit us, received a lot of gifts, Jules was so well behaved and the overall mother and son bonding time was precious.  Unfortunately, my hubby was quite stressed because during that week, he had a tough course to take, with an exam at the end of the week.  Therefore, after class he would quickly visit us in the evening, have dinner at his mom's house and then study.  Becoming a dad for the first time and having to take a course at the same time was stressful, but he got through it. 

I know all mothers say this about their baby, but honestly, Jules was crazy cute straight away. Even the nurses were commenting on how adorable he was and they told me that it usually takes a baby a few days or even weeks before their face starts to look cute, but Jules was beautiful from the start. Yes, proud mother talking here.  Anyhow, here are a few photos, so you be the judge.

Jules is 4 days old and this photo was
taken by the hospital photographer.

Jules giving us a little giggle during the photo shoot.

Jules with his BFF, Lambie.

Sleeping like a little angel.

Jules with his eyes open.

Jules wearing this handmade cardigan, made
by a wonderful lady in our village.