Hello everyone. This is my first post here. I discovered these forums a few days ago and have been absolutely devouring the information provided here. What an incredible resource...thank you SO much for all of this priceless advice!!
I am a first time mom, so I am completely new to breastfeeding. I must say, I have gained tremendous respect for any and every mom who makes the breastfeeding thing work. There's SO much more to this than I ever imagined. My little one is 4 1/2 weeks old (born 10/26). She was 7 lbs 3 oz at birth, but was down to 6 lbs 10 oz at 12 days old. She did not surpass her birth weight until 3 weeks old, on Nov. 16. During that low weight period, she was having lots of wet diapers but only a poopy one every 4 days.
After reading here, I now know that her low weights were at least mostly my fault. We were only getting in 7-8 feedings/day. Not enough. I feel awful about that :-(. I just truly had no idea how MUCH time (a LOT apparently) had to be devoted to feeding a newborn. (Also playing a role may have been the nipple shields the hospital lactation consultants sent me home with because of my poor bloody nipples. And the fact that she came home jaundiced and incredibly sleepy). Once I figured these things out, her weight has been rebounding, gaining at least an oz a day, with 1-2 substantial poopy diapers/day (and still lots of wets). At her last weigh in, on 11/25 (when she was 4 wks, 2 days old), she was 7 lbs 13.5 oz. So that's our background.
Some question I have though:
If I don't wake her up, she will sometimes sleep in 4-5 hr stretches at night. Should I be waking her more often during the nighttime hours? I have been trying to get her up at least every 4 hrs (the 5 hr stretches have happened when I've slept through my alarm...). Will these longer stretches hurt my supply? I do not feel like I have a supply problem right now. I often wake up, after going for 4 hrs w/o feeding, feeling uncomfortably full. Which leads to another question...
My left breast is SO much bigger than my right, and often feels overfull...especially in the morning. I've thought that it's like having a bowling ball attached to my chest. Is this weird? Is it maybe oversupply in one breast?
Something I've wondered about the # of feedings/day: For example, this morning, I started a feeding at 9:30 am. She ate well until 10am or so, at which point she started dozing off. I let her doze for a little while without setting her down, and then switched breasts at 10:45 (she was waking back up again). She ate well for 10-15 minutes during this episode. So...would something like that count as 1 feeding, that got interrupted? Or 2 feedings? I often feel like I'm not sure when she is actually done eating, so am not sure about my current daily feeding numbers.
One more question :-): This morning, I struggled to get her to eat well at her 3am feeding. She kept dozing, despite the fact that I'd woken her up by changing her and stripping her down. She also finished things off by spitting up most of what she'd just eaten, and then refusing to be roused to eat more. So I gave up and put her back down to sleep (it was almost 4:30am at this point, and I was soooo tired). I still felt full though, so I decided to pump for a short period. I got about an oz. (Her dad usually does her 5-6am feeding with EBM). Is pumping after such a frustrating feeding session ok? Sometimes I also pump in the morning, after she eats around 8am or so...just getting enough for the one bottle at night. I'm kind of worried about creating an oversupply issue (especially w/ my left breast, which often feels overfull anyway). But it is really, really nice to have him give that one bottle/day, and he likes being able to contribute in that way too, allowing me to get just a few hrs of continuous sleep.
Anyway, I apologize for the length of this post. I know that these questions probably make it really obvious how little I know about all of this. I'm still way at the bottom of the learning curve. Thank you, again, for being here to answer questions. I feel like I can tackle this with a resource like this available.