The problem with feeding on demand is that every so often the person you’re feeding gets very demanding! That’s what happened when Little Woman turned 8 days old. Actually I think it happened the evening before.
Gone were the lovely 3-4 hour stretches between feeds. Instead I suddenly found myself feeding every two hours or less. Once or twice it was a lot less and we had two or three feeds in a row at 45 minute intervals.
By Sunday evening, I was sore and tired. My right side was cracked and although it was pain-free while feeding, oh my God, the initial latching pain.
Eventually I couldn’t bear to latch on that side anymore, so the next time it came to feeding on the right side I expressed the feed and finger fed it to her instead. And then she slept for almost four hours! Yippee! I needed the sleep more than she did I think.
Thankfully that seemed to signal the end of that excessive feeding phase. I managed the next few feeds as regular breastfeeds. My only difficulty was with the initial latching. Oh dear God, the toe-curling pain of it. In fact I found it difficult to psyche myself up for it. Every time I prepared to latch Little Woman on, I found myself flinching back, which meant it took about 10 minutes to latch her each time. The funny thing is that as soon as she latched on and started feeding, the pain disappeared and the feeds themselves were comfortable. It gives me hope that in another week or so, we’ll be over the latching pain and enjoying feeding. In the meantime I just have to take it one feed at a time.
By Tuesday, things had much improved. It helped that on Monday evening, she cluster-fed for the evening and then slept from midnight until 5am! I woke before she did because I was fit to burst!
Since then I’ve spent the week trying to figure out how best to improve that initial latch. It’s slowly improving as the week goes on, but we’re not pain free at latch on yet.
On Friday, I took Little Woman for her two week checkup. It seems she has regained her birth weight and then some. So she’s now 3.2 kg, or just over 7lbs. And for all the toe-curling latches we’ve experienced this week, it feels great to know “I did that.” I never had that with Little Man. He’d had a lot of formula at this stage and I never knew if it was just the supplementation keeping his weight up. Not this time though. This time it’s all breastfeeding. And whatever happens with the feeding at least I’ll always have given her this start.
Feeding aside, I think this week we’ve all started to adjust to having a new member in the family. It’s been such a help that my parents have still been here. Having their help around the house (and on our allotment – more on that another time) has freed us up to give Little Man attention and reassurance that he otherwise may not have had. And it’s been so important. As a result, he has adjusted really well to our new family life. Although he’s had a few meltdowns over the two weeks, none of them has been directly related to his sister. If anything he has been possessive of her – even warning his grandad one night that he wasn’t allowed to take his baby sister with him when they left to go back to their holiday home for the evening. As far as he is concerned, she belongs to us and her place is here with us.