Sorry in advance for the long post... I'm a new mom and have always planned on breastfeeding my baby. My son was born on 7/16 via c-section (footling breech) at 39 weeks. I started breastfeeding as soon as I could in the hospital. We had trouble at first with latching on, but eventually he got the hang of it and was feeding regularly. The problem is, he hasn't yet started to gain weight, and I'm really concerned! His birthweight was 8 lbs 7 oz. I had been on an IV, so I think he was quite bloated from that. His discharge weight on 7/19 was 7 lbs 8 oz, which is much closer to what the doctor had estimated based on his final ultrasound. 2 days after discharge he had dropped to 7 lbs 4.4 oz, and 4 days after that he was down to 7 lbs 3 oz.
I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about whether he's getting enough milk, etc. He didn't get rid of the rest of his meconium until the night of discharge (when we were home), but after that he pooped regularly. He has a bowel movement basically every time he is nursed, and sometimes more. His poop is a mustard color. I have worked with two different lactation consultants. The first said he appears very healthy and it looks like I am doing everything correctly. She suspected his birthweight was inflated. The second LC was less supportive and heavily suggested supplementation. His pediatrician has seen him twice and says that he is a very healthy boy. The pediatrician said that I should not consider supplementation yet, and that I simply need to feed him whenever he is hungry. He thinks my son is leveling off now and will begin to gain soon. My baby is extremely strong for a newborn (lifts up his head, can almost roll over, and pushes himself up with his arms) and is very alert when awake, so he seems quite healthy. He is jaundiced, but the bilirubin level peaked at 14 and has started to go down...it doesn't seem to have affected his energy level or anything.
Everyone says I should feed my baby every 2 hours and no more than 4 hours at night. At first I was very faithful about scheduling his feedings, and waking him up if needed. The problem is, if his sleep is interrupted he becomes extremely grumpy - he has screaming fits, and getting him to latch on and stay there is a real challenge! He also has trouble settling back to sleep afterwards. The constant screaming took such a toll on me emotionally that I was worried I had post-partum depression, and I decided to try letting my baby set the schedule instead of "forcing" him to eat. That approach works much better for both of us. If I let him wake up on his own, he is in a good mood for his feedings, and nurses well. I am much more relaxed and able to cope. He typically sleeps for about 5 hours at night, and during the day it varies...sometimes he wants to eat 1 1/2 hours apart, sometimes 3 1/2. We've had a couple marathon cluster feeding sessions as well (which aren't fun, but I can handle them if he isn't screaming bloody murder the whole time! ) He definitely ends up with his 8+ feedings per day. He typically nurses for 20 to 30 minutes per breast, and has each breast at every feeding. If he is satisfied he will cuddle up against my chest and fall asleep. If he's still hungry he roots around for more and will not sleep. My instinct tells me to stick with what works, but I am concerned about whether or not he will gain weight without a regular feeding schedule. As far as I can tell my milk is in just fine - both breasts leak! I am thinking of buying a pump just to make sure he's getting enough.
People keep telling me "you're doing a great job!", but I don't really feel very successful as long as he isn't gaining. I broke down crying in front of the LC at his last weigh-in because I just felt like all my hard work and lack of sleep was for nothing I just want my beautiful baby boy to be healthy!