Everything was just great in the hospital! Your little bundle of joy was so well behaved. Sitting all comfy, swaddled expertly by the nurse peacefully in the bassinet. How on earth did that nurse do that? Well...It really isn’t fair. They have it easy, your baby was well behaved because he was “stunned” from being born. You can only imagine what that journey is like! Just about the time she is waking up - BAM - you’re all alone your first night home at 3 am with a screaming, hungry baby. We have all been there. You can survive, I promise you.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Think about where your baby was just a few short days ago...tightly bound up inside your uterus, likely head down. It was dark - and LOUD, and warm and your movements constantly rocked him gently in the amniotic fluid. This was her home. Try to replicate this as best as you can and you will find your baby magically calmed. (I don’t suggest putting him back inside you however!)
- Skin-to-Skin: A breastfeeding mom’s best position. Take it all off, baby in diaper, you bare chested (save that nursing bra for work). Partners have a good chest for this also - even if it IS hairy! Place baby, lean back, close eyes, get rest. Heavenly.
- Your breastfeeding baby is just getting the hang of this feeding thing. Up until now, she got fed continuously through the umbilical cord. You are learning too! If you went home while you are still producing colostrum, remember colostrum is in small, concentrated amounts - your baby needs to eat VERY frequently to “get enough”. For some Moms and Babies this might even seem to be continuously. It isn’t that you “don’t have enough” it’s that your baby needs to eat frequently to get the small amounts each time.
- Babies don’t eat and pass out for 3 hours UNTIL you have a brisk breastmilk supply established. For some moms this can happen as soon as 40-48 hours after giving birth. For others this might be a long as 5 days. These babies might be really stressed out and thus will stress any parent no matter how patient they are. GET HELP!! by a Lactation Consultant to help you both through this (hopefully brief) speed bump.
- An empty breast will fill back up again. A full breast will stop making more (IT’S FULL!) So, if you do supplement - DON’T FORGET YOUR BREASTS! They need to be emptied, even the colostrum. The more stimulation, the more milk you make. Pumping isn’t usually very effective in the colostrum stage, but hand expression is VERY effective. See this amazing video to help you learn it. Go now and look at it, what the heck your up anyway...