Wednesday, December 21, 2011

jaundice

Monday evening:

I didn't know breastfeeding would be the most exhausting full-time job ever. Regular old hospital nursing has nothing on baby nursing! I am supposed to feed him every 2-3 hours since I am exclusively breast feeding. That is a lot! The past day has been especially exhausting. He would not eat and I couldn't figure out why. He was either so, so fussy and hysterical when I tried to feed him and I would eventually have to feed him breast milk out of a bottle or he would be so tired and lethargic-like that I couldn't wake him up for long enough to eat. So we just thought, "Oh, he must be full." He was showing signs of contentment and no signs of hunger. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and why he wasn't feeding. It would take me at least an hour for him to eat five minutes. That can be exhausting at 3:00 in the morning when all you want is for your baby to eat and be happy. He is the absolutely sweetest baby in the whole world. I just die over his lips and little chin. Every time I see him it's like the first time. It takes my breath away and I just can't get close enough to him.

We had an appointment with the lactation specialist today at 1:30 as a follow-up that all new moms do. (Thank goodness for lactation specialist! They have my heart.) We waited for what seemed like hours but I didn't mind because I knew I would need a lot of time, too. I brought his "diaper diary" and my list of questions, so hopeful for help and some sort of answers. I had been doing everything I knew how. She saw him and within 60 seconds she knew he had jaundice. He also lost about 4 oz since Saturday. Newborns livers aren't fully developed so they have a hard time digesting bilirubin. She described jaundice as one big sleeping pill. They need to eat, like, twice as much as more frequently. If they go too long they get too hungry and too exhausted to breastfeed because it's too much work. So I was trying to feed him but by that time he was starving because he wasn't getting enough food. So I would try to breastfeed him and he would cry and cry and fight and I couldn't figure out why. It was because he was so starving he just needed food now and he was too hungry to get the tiny little squirts from breastfeeding. At that point he just needed food right away. And that is what will make his jaundice better. Three or four days of feeding him no more than ten minutes of breast feeding (so he doesn't get too tired) and then at least 75 ml of breast milk. 

I was so relieved and also felt so bad that he was so hungry and I didn't know. I felt so bad that my sweet little baby wasn't getting what he needed. I was so relieved that now I had answers and knew what was wrong. I felt relieved and empowered that I knew how to help him.

The plan is to feed him no later than every 3 hours. No more than ten minutes of nursing so he doesn't get tired and worn out and then at least 75 ml of breast milk after that. She said the plan is guaranteed to work.

Wednesday morning update:


We have been feeding him like crazy and he is doing so much better! No more hysterical crying fits and he is hardly ever really lethargic acting. He seems so content and happy after he eats. Luckily I have been producing enough milk so he hasn't had to have formula to get to his 75 ml. Mary said he should be feeling better within a few days and will be "a new baby." I feel like a new woman now that I know what to do for him and now that he is feeling better!

We have an appointment with the pediatrician and a baby weigh-in today with the lactation specialist so we'll see if he's gained weight! I love him. I love him. I LOVE HIM!!