How it began.
On October 25th, I began one of the hardest yet most rewarding journeys I have ever embarked on. Breastfeeding and becoming a mother has allowed me to understand just how amazing the human body is.
Women are the most powerful human beings on this earth. Imagine this, you grow a human from scratch, birth them with all the strength you have and continue to nourish them with nutrients your body carefully crafted for your little one to thrive.
Baby V was born at 38 weeks, and barely allowed me to get to the hospital on time- now my birth story is a story for another time. When he was born I requested for delay of cord clamping because of the wide range of benefits that come with it. After all, at least 30% of the blood supply they lived with still is attached to the placenta 1-2 minutes after birth! I had asked the nurses that once they checked him if his Apgar score was above 8 I wanted to delay all traditional interventions for the first hours known as the ‘Golden Hour’. Immediately he was placed on my chest to begin skin to skin. We shared our first breastfeeding moment in a dark dim light room just as everyone was cleaning things up and we were about to be left alone for the next couple of hours. Due to covid, personnel was limited and no lactation consultant came by.
I was filled with overwhelming joy but despite all the research I had done on the Thompson Method for breastfeeding, putting things to practice seemed a lot harder than explained.
The Thompson Method, is a method that was created by Dr. Robyn Thompson which encourages immediate uninterrupted skin to skin after birth while allowing baby to naturally crawl up to the nipple and breastfeed on his or her own.
Since baby V had been born what they considered early term he developed a bit of jaundice which is common in a lot of newborns. It is the yellowing of the skin due to the break down of red blood cells not being able to effectively be filtered by the liver, and is most commonly treated by photo therapy light or simply feeding. The more the baby ate, the more he was able to pee and poop the excesses bilirubin in his body that was causing the change of color in his skin.
When it was time for the pediatrician to do her rounds she came by and was concerned he had already lost 10% of his weight within the first 36 hours. As a first time mom this terrified me and the first word that spat out of her mouth was FORMULA. There was little regard to how I felt about it and quite frankly no encouragement to try to get him to gain weight with my own breast milk. I cried for hours, the excess bilirubin aside from changing the color of their skin also causes them to be sleepy. He would latch and fall asleep. How was I going to feed a sleepy baby? Manual expression.
I began manually expressing my colostrum in a cup and spoon feeding him. Sounds insane right? Spoon feeding a newborn? But believe me it worked! Their tummy’s are so tiny they only need a little bit of colostrum at a time to get full. I began tracking his wet and soiled diapers and soon met the pediatrician’s expectations however they still wanted me to supplement with formula.
My nurse saw how distraught I was and came in with a breast pump and told me to try pumping to see if I would produce anything, and I did! Almost 1 ounce of liquid gold… this was just the beginning of the next beautiful months to come! I now happily pump 12-14 oz per session. I cannot wait to share the rest of my journey with tips and recommendations for you all.