Today is Sammy’s three month birthday, and what a long, strange trip it’s been. I wanted to take some time and recount my experiences nursing Sammy, the highs and the lows etc.

Things went fine in the hospital. Sammy latched on right away and I made sure to nurse him every 2 to 3 hours like you’re supposed to.

But once we got home from the hospital, he was extremely sleepy, and difficult to wake for feedings. When he was awake, he’d thrash about so violently I couldn’t get him to latch on.

Part of the problem was that my milk was late to come in. Sam was born on a Friday night, and my milk didn’t come in until late late late Tuesday night. When we went to the pediatrician on Monday (2 1/2 days old), he’d already lost slightly more than 10% of his birth weight (down to 7 lbs 14 oz). According to the lactation consultant’s scale, he’d lost even more than that (down to 7 lbs 6 oz).

So in the early days we started supplementing with formula through a medicine dropper. When he became way too efficient at that and sucked the whole thing down in one fell swoop, I switched to bottles. Better to risk nipple confusion than to feed him too fast.

In the weeks that followed, breastfeeding was a hit or miss thing. We had some good feeding sessions, but for the most part he’d latch onto the breast and fall asleep two minutes later. It was extremely frustrating, and any time I tried just nursing him ended up in frustration and tears for both me and him. I had no peace during the day since he was constantly at the breast, and any time I had to eat or go to the bathroom he’d scream because he was still hungry.

So we started exclusively pumping. (Okay, we still “comfort nursed,” but bottle feeding of expressed breast milk was how he got most of his nutrition.) I knew that pumping wasn’t as efficient as nursing, but for this particular baby, maybe that wasn’t the case. After all, how much supply was he stimulating if he fell asleep at the beginning of every feeding session? Pumping, I felt, was the best option for us then. My supply didn’t quite keep up with demand, so we supplemented with formula, but at least I knew how much he was eating since he took the bottle pretty easily and didn’t have the same falling asleep issues.

Epumping worked fine for awhile. Sure, it sucked having to pump every three hours around the clock. But at least Sam was getting breastmilk. After a couple of weeks, my supply got to the point where we didn’t have to supplement with formula anymore.

But then I started having problems with my right breast such as plugged ducts, plugged nipple pores, and engorgement. Every time I had an issue, I’d have Sammy nurse the problem out.

A few days before Sammy’s two month birthday (as I was suffering another bout of engorgement), we nursed pretty much all day. To my relief, the engorgement subsided and to my pleasant surprise, Sam actually seemed satiated. So I tried going with the flow, nursing him instead of bottle-feeding him expressed breastmilk.

Things actually went well. I kept meticulous track of his wet and stool diapers, which all seemed fine. After one day where I must have changed him like ten times, I stopped worrying about whether he was having enough. Since then, he seems as active and happy as ever, and is alert and meeting his milestones. He appears to be gaining weight well, too, and looks as chubby as a baby should be.

Happy birthday Sammy!

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