Jack was much lighter than we expected. His length suggested that he would be at least 7 1/2 pounds. So when he came out at 6lbs 12oz, was very skinny and had peeling skin, those were all signs that Nugget was an “old” baby. My midwife said that I was most likely dated incorrectly at the OB. She thinks he was well over 42 weeks, but it is hard to say how long over. What it meant was that Nugget needed food right away. Most babies are born “packing a lunch” as Karen coined it. They have plenty of brown fat to make it through until momma’s milk comes in. Karen said that they can go 24 hours without eating. But because Nugget lacked that brown fat, he needed milk right away. If he didn’t get milk right away the fear is that his body would burn brain cells to keep him fed.
Luckily Caroline, the assistant midwife, is a nursing mom. So Karen asked me if I would be opposed to giving Nugget some of her milk to tide him over until my milk came in. Now at 6 in the morning after a LONG labor when she said ‘would you be adverse to the idea of Caroline giving us some milk?’ my mind immediately thought ‘Caroline is going to nurse my baby?’. I was definitely too sleep deprived to have any objections to any suggestions.
In fact, I had a small tear and Karen asked me if I would like to have it stitched up. She said it was really small and straight and right in the middle of my perineum so that it would most likely heal just fine on its own. But if I wanted to have it stitched I could. I turned to everyone in the room and said ‘what do you think? should I get it stitched?’. Karen could tell I had met my decision-making limit. FYI she said she didn’t think I really needed them, in case you were curious.
Caroline came back into the room with a little baggie of milk and Karen pulled a little bit into a syringe and we fed it to Nugget. It is possible that 6 months ago the idea of using someone else’s milk to feed my baby would have grossed me out. But, let me tell you, it is amazing how your perspective changes even with just a few minutes of motherhood. You would rip your heart out of your chest if it was necessary to help your little snuggler. Good thing that wasn’t necessary.
In addition to giving a little bit of Caroline’s milk, Karen started me on a milk regime. I pumped every 3 hours and nursed Jack every 3 hours. So every hour and a half I was hooked up to something, either a baby or a machine. You know how you hear women complain about the first few days of nursing and their areoles hurting like an M-er F-er? Well I think I got twice the action of a typical lady. Let me tell you, there is nothing like looking down at your little one encouraging him to latch and then wanting to yell and scream as soon as he actually attaches. Of course you don’t want him to think that he is causing you pain, then he won’t want to nurse. So you are trying to smile down at him and say ‘such a good job buddy’ but all you really want to do is run away from this little person who feels like they are cutting your nipple off with a dull exacto blade.
But it turns out it was totally worth it! This momma’s milk came in and fast. Before long I could hear Nugget’s long big gulps and the first 4 milliliters of milk that I pulled out of my pump…I have just never been so proud of my boobs ever! And this is coming from a ex-Barista who used these babies to pull in a hundred dollars in tips from just a few hours a week of work….granted the coffee shop I worked in was in the engineering building on campus. Those boys like cleavage, let me tell you what.
So in came the milk and Nugget went bonkers. He’s been eating like a competition hot dog contestant. When the midwife weighed him the day after he was born he was down to 6lbs 8oz. It is pretty typical for babies to lose weight the first few days, but again this was a dangerous drop considering his condition. Karen had me keep track of how often he was eating and how much I was pumping on a chart and she asked me to call a lactation consultant to get her opinion of how we were doing.
The lactation consultant said that if Jack’s weight wasn’t up at our 3-day visit on Thursday that she would need to come out and observe how he was eating. Karen weighed him on Thursday and he was up to 6lbs 10oz! and she was excited to hear that I was pumping and feeding him enough to not need anymore of Caroline’s milk. It looked like we were out of danger. Nugget continued to nurse like a champ and I was able to stop pumping and recording all of our feedings.
Jack’s little cheeks started to fill out and his belly showed a little bit of roundness. At our one-week appointment we all started taking guesses as to what his weight would be up to. I guessed 7lbs 2oz, Karen thought 7lbs, and Andy’s mom guessed 7lbs 1oz. When Karen put him in the sling she said ‘Holy Crap! He’s got us all beat. 7lbs 7oz!”. She was so excited and told me I was doing an awesome job.