How did you actually feel the first day or two you brought your baby home?

I will never forget the moment I got home, set my baby down on the bed, and looked at him. It was the first time I'd really felt like I was mentally present after several sleepless days (had been breastfeeding every two hours round the clock since birth as the hospital ordered - between that and the nurses popping in and out, I had hardly more than one or two segmented hours of sleep during the couple of days I was there for my CS recovery). When I got home, I still hadn't slept, but I felt a little more human and came out of my daze for a moment and looked at my baby.

And what I saw scared me.

His arms were thin and the skin on them was loose... he looked frail, while he'd been born nicely plump. Suddenly, I realized why so many lactation consultants had visited me - even one right before they let us leave. They all wanted to see me feed him and see me hand-express milk. But they didn't really say much, just talked about the latch without saying I was doing anything really wrong. I was too tired to think anything of it at the hospital, but when I got home and really looked at my baby... I realized... was something wrong? Had they been trying to tell me he wasn't feeding well? (I didn't know why they didn't tell me what the issue was: the answer is likely that "baby friendly" hospitals want their breastfeeding at discharge rate to be as high as possible.)

I assumed that it was just the latch, because I had milk - something came out when I hand-expressed and surely the lactation consultants would have said something if it was that bad. (Turns out it was colostrum - my milk didn't come in until several days after I arrived home.) So I tried to get my baby to latch better all night - if I'd known that I didn't yet have milk, I'd have gone for a bottle for sure... I just thought the nurses or lactation consultants or SOMEONE would have informed me if there were an actual problem. The next morning, I turned to the lactation consultants at the hospital, when they THEN informed me my milk hadn't yet come in... and gave me this WONDERFUL pumping routine that I followed for a week before being able to EBF without the supplements I started giving my baby after seeing the LCs. So technically, the "baby friendly" hospital was successful at their goal: mark another mother down for breastfeeding at discharge! But at what cost? I felt very detached from my baby and constantly worried about if he was getting enough food (my supply was fantastic, after my milk came in... this was not a realistic fear but one born of having him mildly starve for those few days after he was born without me realizing it). When he was several months old, he suddenly stopped gaining his typical 14oz/week and dropped to a 5oz/week gain (why knows why - thrush, which he had at the time, or just a normal slowing on the growth curve?). And yes, I knew immediately when his growth slowed, because I was so paranoid about his weight that I weighed him all the time. I snapped. I started having major panic attacks (never had a panic attack before, but had always been a bit of an anxious type). These sudden extreme postpartum panic attacks brought my relationship to the brink and were terribly difficult on my son whose mother used to feed him nonstop and instead began to act crazy (and couldn't experience let down while having panic attacks - of course this, along with Xanax for a few weeks, meant the end of breastfeeding).

To conclude that story: fuck you, BFHI. Fuck you. It is not a good idea to incentivize increasing a breastfeeding at discharge rate, not when it can come at the expense of the physical health of babies and the emotional health of mothers. (Never would have thought I'd say that... I loved that I was delivering at a "baby friendly" hospital, because I had planned to breastfeed for two years. Now after my experience, I'm big on researching breastfeeding benefits, and honestly if I knew then what I know now, I'd have quit breastfeeding before even leaving the hospital.)

Anyway, aside from those little details (starving my baby and going crazy)... it was great???

I think at about 4-5 months postpartum, when all of that was in the rear view mirror, I started bonding with my son (and beginning the process of repairing my relationship with my husband).

/r/breakingmom Thread