So it has been 5 weeks now since the arrival of baby #5, and it has not been without drama and stress.
Every newborn brings their own unique challenges, but when you discover your baby has been starving it really brings everything you thought you knew about babies crashing down. At least about breastfeeding anyway.
I have successfully breastfed 4 babies previous, and for longer then a year each time. And even though I had sometimes questioned my milk supply, like every mother would sometimes briefly entertain the thought, I had never been on the receiving end of damning evidence.
One of the biggest concerns with a new baby leaving hospital, and there are so many, is that they are gaining weight.
Our baby wasn't.
In fact, he had actually lost even more weight then when he left hospital a week before.
Well that was a smack in the face.
It seemed like he was getting enough milk, he didn't cry inconsolably and he would be settled in between feeds.
He was born 3.6kgs, left hospital at 3.25 and 15 days later was 3.09kg.
The midwife was concerned, he was jaundice so she arranged me to see a Paediatrician first thing the next morning. During that appointment the Dr was not overly concerned, thinking that this may just be the turning point, but as a precaution ordered blood tests to check the Bilirubin levels (for the jaundice).
One thing of note was that baby was tongue tied, and this may be contributing to how he is latching on and his ability to suck. We discussed the option of snipping the attached skin to free the tongue and arranged another appointment a week later to check the weight gain and possibly do the procedure.
6 days later I took the baby to get weighed at the local community health centre. His weight was -still- 3.1kgs. In 6 days he had not put on any weight at all.
I left that appointment feeling like the worst mother in the world.
So my baby had been literally starving. Well, I like to tell myself he wasn't feeling hungry all of the time, he would sleep pretty well and was having wet/dirty nappies.
The term is 'failure to thrive'. And as a mother, and I would like to think an experienced one, that is pretty gut wrenching to hear.
I called the paed the next morning at 9, explained it all to the receptionist and left a message for him to call me. I didn't hear from him all day (he called the next afternoon).
In Coder's wisdom and encouragement we began comp feeding him that morning regardless. He needed more milk, so we started our first ever journey into formula land and all that it entails.
After 2 days of comp feeding with formula after breast milk, he was weighed and had gained a whooping 200gms in that short amount of time! The Paed was really happy with that, but as feeding was still excruciatingly painful, we still thought the tongue tie procedure may help.
It was over really quick, I had left the room and came in moments after to offer breast milk.
Breast milk saves the day, at least in this respect.
Now this is my life...
But it's working, and now he's thriving! I hope to increase my supply and eventually go back to 100% breastfeeding.