The Reality: First 4 Weeks
“Are you practising what you preach?”
If I had £1 for every time I’ve heard that since my baby was born, I’d have a really heavy purse!!! And the answer is, “NO!” But that’s mainly because I don’t preach about the first few months. I’ve always said that they are a time for muddling through and getting as much skin to skin time and rest as is possible.
During the very first few weeks, we had a pretty mixed time. I was pretty battered from the episiotomy (for anyone interested, I tried a water birth, Luca had his chord round his neck so wouldn’t come out. His heart rate kept dropping so the doctor helped to ease him out. It may have only been a 3 hour labour, but I’d definitely go for the epidural if I have another.) so I really struggled to move around for a good week or so, but I tried to put him into his crib to sleep as often as possible. However, I did still spend most of those first weeks holding him and gazing at him. How could I do anything else when confronted with such a precious little ball of loveliness?
I was adamant to make breastfeeding work this time, having not managed to with my daughter 11 years ago so throughout the first few days I put him to my breast every time he opened his eyes. Unfortunately he had a complete tongue tie, which was spotted by the paediatrician who was present at the birth, and even though he latched on reasonably well (initially to my husband’s nipple while I was being stitched), it was a long, slow painful process and within a few days I was developing mastitis.
I also had an infection in my stitches and I was prescribed antibiotics, so both Luca and I took Optibac Probiotics daily to rebuild the good bacteria that was being destroyed. His were dissolved in boiled water and syringed into his mouth, not a bad thing with temperatures in the late 20s and breastfeeding being so painful.
Needless to say, he was rarely put into his crib awake, but he was put in as often as I could face the pain of moving to get him into it. When I couldn’t, he snoozed on me, and I wedged my arms so that I could hold him and get some sleep. This totally freaked me out because I’m not really an advocate of co-sleeping, and I was constantly worried about safety, particularly as it was so hot and we have a memory foam mattress.
Luca quite quickly fell into feeding generally every 3 hours, sometimes 2 and was a pretty chilled newborn. He would cry if he was hungry and thrash his legs about, wriggling and pulling his knees up when he was windy. Unfortunately, with the tongue tie, he became very windy so I gave him Infacol and it helped. A lot.
On his 6th day we had his tongue tie cut and gradually the feeding became easier. The three hour gaps became more regular apart from in the afternoons and evenings when he would want to feed constantly. Thankfully he would go 2-3 hours between feeds in the night.
And did I eat my placenta?? YES I DID! My lovely husband brought it home, cleaned, chopped and froze it and I whipped it up into a smoothie once a day. Did it help? Yes, I think it did. Would I do it again? DEFINITELY!