Sydney Mum finding motherhood is totes hectic
A Cesarean leaves you immobile for 24 hours. In order to manage a newborn, the Hospital provides a noisy fold out mattress for your partner to sleep on at a cost of $27. With Chloe fresh from the womb, her lungs were still spitting lots of phlegm. Natural birth babies have this fluid squeezed out as they are born. C -section babies are known for coughing and spitting in the first 24 hours. We were both terrified of her noises and thought she was choking so The Lad attended to every spit and noise she made while making his own noise getting off the garbage bag of a mattress. By 4am we were exhausted and took the kind offer of the midwife to mind her for a few hours. There are no night nurseries so you look after them 24/ 7 from the beginning.
As for feeding they don’t need any food for the first 24 hours. I wanted to breastfeed and found she latched on and started sucking really easily. We attended the video session and had the midwives and nurses check the positioning and check the sucking. All was going well.
We found settling her difficult. I spent hours breastfeeding her to keep her quiet and hope she was happy, however I was slightly delirious with sleep. She’d been on the breast almost all night and we couldn’t stop her crying. She wouldn’t sleep and wouldn’t stop crying. I started to get the feeling my breasts weren’t producing enough milk.
Every 12 hours a new midwife/nurse was assigned to the floor and you had to explain your concerns and progress to them. At Day 3 my breasts had arrived, literally. Rock hard melons bulging with milk. They vibrated to each baby scream and looked ready for a good feed. Unfortunately they were so hard nothing came out and the nipples were also too hard to latch. We were given a thimble and spoon of formula (the f-word) to help top her up. Chloe gobbled the milk and feel asleep. I stuffed cold cabbages down my bra and looked like a salad.
I continued the long hours of breast feeding. By now my breasts had been handled by various nurses to check if my milk was coming. Visions of udders and milk farms were entering my head. There were a few drops and I felt reassured although I longed to get some more formula and visibly see her feeding.
Day 4 and things weren’t much better. One more day in the hospital and we were losing hope in getting her calm, settled and asleep. I started to suspect there was not enough breast milk and asked for more formula or at least some proof there was enough milk. The vagaries of baby science was frustrating. Information both in books and from the nurses was subject to the coda ‘whatever works for you’ and ‘every baby is different’.
I just wanted to know if my breasts were really working. At home I had a breast pump. Did the hospital have one ? I could test my breasts and see the milk. By the afternoon of Day 4 my friend Teena had arrived and was trying to settle her. ‘This baby is hungry’ she said and walked out to the corridor giving me a break from Chloe’s crying. The cleaner near-by heard her and said the same thing. If the cleaner and my friend can see she’s hungry then why couldn’t the nurses ? I wanted formula, at least to calm her.
The next shift brought a sensible nurse. She agreed with me immediately that the baby was hungry; that all the hours put into breastfeeding were not equating with a calm baby and that formula, a bottle of it, could be immedately organised while we set up the breast pump. While The Lad feed her, greedily she drank and immediately fell asleep, the breast pump was attached and a few drops came out. My breasts were not working. It was now conclusive and the feeding plan would now reflect that. Formula was allowed and all was quiet.
We bought a tin of formula on the way home and have been feeding her ever since.