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.

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