Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breastfeeding and Piper

Piper came into this world on St. Patty's day.  I had already been in the hospital for over 24 hrs when she arrived, screaming at the top of her lungs.  She was two weeks early and still managed to weigh 7 lbs 7 oz. 

Being a first time mom, I didn't realize how important it was to have Piper nurse before she went to the nursery.  When they laid her on my chest, I went into panic mode.  She was so tiny and appeared to be so fragile.  I was afraid of her and that I might hurt her.  So, when they asked if I wanted to try to nurse her or go ahead and let them clean her up, I went with cleaning her up.

It was almost nine hours before I held my daughter again.  Every time I asked what was taking so long, the nurses would tell me her temperature was too low to bring her back to me.  I should have insisted that I get to nurse her or at least went to the nursery because when I finally had the chance to try to nurse her for the first time she was not interested.  All she wanted to do was sleep.

The next day, I had better luck.  I told the nurses not to give her a pacifier.  I had read that a pacifier would lessen my chances at being successful.  So, Piper would use me as a pacifier.  Apparently this is a big no no.  I remember being so proud of myself because I had managed to get her to latch on and I was thinking that the longer she nursed the better.  I was surprised and pissed when the lactation consultant came in and chastised me for allowing her to nurse on one side for 45 minutes.  Well, excuse me-  I didn't realize that first time moms were suppose to automatically know that kind of stuff.

Piper developed jaundice, which is common, but her levels were higher than typical.  Looking back I really do think it is because she didn't nurse right away.  Due to the jaundice, we had to stay an extra day.  Finally, after being at the hopital for 4 days, I was given the choice to either put Piper under the bilirubin lights at the hospital or have a biliblanket brought to my house.  I wanted to go home! 

Our first night home, Piper cried for 4 hours straight.  She never stopped.  She wouldn't latch on.  I was getting frustrated and scared because I knew that if she didn't eat her bilirubin levels would go up higher.  I felt so helpless as she screamed.  I couldn't calm her down enough to get her to realize that what she was wanting was literally right in front of her face.  It was 4 am when the thought finally occurred to me to pump and feed her with a syringe.  So I pumped and Matt gave it to her.  She stop crying as soon as the "liquid gold" hit her lips.  And I was then able to entice her to eat what I had to offer.

Because there had been so many bumps in the road as far as breastfeeding goes, it took 5 days before my milk finally came in.  Piper paid the price, too.  Her bilirubin levels went up, then down, then back up.  It was an emotional roller coaster.  I had soreness and engorgement.  But finally, after that first week, everything fell into place.

Piper was an awesome and efficient nurser.  5 minutes on each side and she was done.  When I decided to try to breastfeed, I made goals for myself- 6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months and finally a year.  I am proud to say that I was able to nurse Piper until she was 13 months old.  For any expecting moms, I definitely think you should give it a shot ;)


  1. I have to say, Piper is one of my favorite names ever :) Those are some beautiful baby pictures :)

  2. Thank you! Her name fits her, too, because this girl has a major set of pipes! Thanks for reading.

  3. I had the same couldn't-latch-on/jaundice worries with my son Jarratt. Just like Piper, he was a champion nurser by the end of his first week. My second, Nina, nursed immediately, and still won't quit at fifteen months. I'm mostly ready to wean her but part of me can't let go either. Nursing has its trials but it is so worth it, isn't it!

    Janine Webb, Chinaberry, Inc.