august 6- a little breastfeeding baby

today i went in early to see if the lactation consultant (lc) could give me some pointers. wren had latched just a few times... but mostly was uninterested in the breast. i was seriously beginning to think that the dummy had ruined her! but, with just a few positioning pointers she latched right away. not only did she latch, but the nns turned ns! she was definitely getting nutrition. i feel a letdown periodically. (i have a painful one.) but i've never felt a letdown with pumping. i didn't feel one with nursing either, but luckily the lc was there, along with the nurses, to tell me she was actually getting lots of milk. here's what i learned:

1. her hips, shoulders, head should be in alignment. (at an angle so that her nose can get air.)
2. i should hold the breast from underneath, squeezing it to properly align with her mouth
3. the pillow should be tilted upward, placed just under the breasts to support the baby. (i had it down close to my waist, angled straight.)
4. she also taught me how to know when she's sucking and when she's actually feeding. when she feeds, she takes in more of the breast than just the nipple. she sucks quickly and lightly, and then when the milk comes, she slows down and takes big long sucks. (this made me understand the settings on my pump!)
5. the crossover works well for preemie mommies. large boobs as well as small. (best choice for large because it leaves the hand free close to the breast for positioning and helping the baby latch.) the football is ok, but you have to come from the side if you have gigantic h's. otherwise the weight of the breast can hinder the feeding. the lc said that feeding a preemie is actually harder position-wise because of their size. luckily, i have freakishly long arms to hold her. :)
6. AND no fear mommas- ever worried about your nipples pointing downwards? well, it turns out that is more natural for feeding! we may not win a hawaiian tropic contest, but we can feed our babies more easily- and what is more important? (come on, the bikini wouldn't hide the stretch marks anyway right?)
7. as far as nursing pillows go, the breast friend is head and shoulders above the boppy. although, the boppy has many other uses. (prop for belly time, prop for back time, prop for seat, prop for nap.) just in my short time with nns, and a few feeds today, for just feeding/holding i'd use the bf pillow over the boppy when i could.

so, with those helps, she latched on, and fed for 12 minutes! they were all so impressed with her feeding that they held that gavage feed. they ordered that she be put on a sliding feeding, based on how long she nurses. less than 5 minutes is 3/4 of her feed. 5-10 is half, and more than 10 minutes and they hold the feed completely. i'm sooo excited! since she's doing the cannula twice a day for 3 hours, i should be able to cover 4 feedings. :) this evening she fed for another 12 minutes. the lc told me that a feeding can range anywhere from 8-20 minutes, depending on the baby and mommy. 12 is apparently her magic number so far.

her eyes got a little puffy today. (you can see in the picture below.) they said that sometimes their ducts around their eyes can get stopped up. so the nurse showed me how to massage along the brow line to clear it up.

happy mommy and little bird
after the first time she nursed. she was smiling SO much. this is the closest i came to getting a picture.
snuggled into bed. she held it all by herself!

what an exciting day! last night she weighed in at 3lbs 4 oz. all the nurses who haven't had her for a while are amazed when they see her. she's such a little chunk now. triple chins. she was down 15grams tonight, but with her overall gain i'm not too worried about it.

i bought 7th generation wipes 2 days ago. at the nicu they use really hard paper towel/napkiny cloths just wet with water. (remember how the "baths" in the nicu were the puke buckets in l&d? well, the "baby wipes" in the nicu are the washcloths for showering in the labor and delivery wing.) i thought the 7th generation would be easy on her bum, and wouldn't have the harsh chemicals of regular wipes. i had always understood that her diaper rash was caused by the harshness of rubbing her bum with the rough paper towely sheets. upon doing some research online i found that most often diaper rash is caused by a change in ph. (not sitting in a dirty diaper necessarily.) this is especially common in preemies because of their sensitive skin. it breaks down very easily. i even found a school of thought that says you should only use wipes when there is poo... that a wet diaper doesn't change the ph, and will do no harm. (whereas wiping the pee away will change the ph in the skin, drying it out and irritating it.) i did this research because wren just developed a pretty gnarly diaper rash. almost to the point of bleeding. this is only her second one. her primary was on today and she said it could be caused by the wipes, but also could be caused by her loose stool. (it hasn't been as cottage cheesy lately.) i'm thinking of making my own wipes. anyone have a recipe they've used successfully?

(am i that crunchy? really?)


K.R. said...

i had a friend that used the Viva paper towels as wipes. Just wet them with warm water, or if needed a bit of baby bath. They are very soft. She said that they are what they nurses used in the hospital her baby was born in.

Anonymous said...

I've bought several different wipe solutions off hyenacart.com, and they all are nice. For softness, I've had wipes made of velour and those are very nice, get the crud off, but still are gentle. also can be found through various vendors on hyena cart. :)

Laura said...

Oh, Charla!!! That's so exciting about Wren's nursing! Isn't it the most amazing feeling in the world? And I LOVE that she was smiling afterwards. There is just something about that mother/child bond after nursing ... I'm so happy for you!

Wren is just doing great. I LOVE reading about her. She's really doing SO well!!!! We all love her so much and can't wait to meet her!!

Sharon said...

Yea for nursing!! and especially actually getting to eat from mommy!! I'm so glad it is working for you - so much more of an incentive to keep on keeping on! Ya'll hang in there! Is daddy home soon? "Baby Wren" is still in our prayers, especially Cale's! :)

wrensmommy said...

i've had several people recommend the viva wipes. i'm going to check out the website too! (i want to wipe with velour- don't you? :)
nursing is definitely interesting... so much better than pumping. ahh... it makes me happy!
thadd gets back on tuesday- let me tell you- he's not going to even recognize the girl! he hasn't seen her crib or anything!

Elizabeth said...

Yay for mommy feeding time! :) So happy that she's gotten the breast feeding so easily and that she's grown so much.
Just a thought about the breakouts and bleeding on her tush...when I worked daycare there was one baby who we had to apply 3 creams to her after every dirty diaper to prevent her bottom from getting a rash which would end up bleeding, just because she had a sensitive booty. I don't remember what the creams were, one was for the bacteria (antifungal?), one for healing, and one that was sort of clear something to seal in the other two. :P kinda a hassle but waaaay better than having a baby who screamed bloody murder when we changed her diapers.