Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cup feeding

My milk didn't come in until the evening of day 3 after birth, and with Toby weighing 8lb 2oz at birth, the colustrum I was producing until then (and to a large extent expressing as we had latching issues) simply wasn't enough to fill his tummy and satisfy him, plus he started looking quite jaundiced. I knew that lots of new babies get jaundice, but wasn't really sure what caused it; apparently the baby is born with extra red blood cells to cope with the oxygen they are receiving via the mother's blood in the womb and then when they are born, it can take a little while for the liver to work efficiently enough to process these excess blood cells, and so that's why the baby turns yellow. Regular feeding helps to flush the toxins out of the baby's body.
So whilst Toby & I were still in hospital (and in the middle of my second exhausted night having had only about 5hrs sleep since the sleepless marathon labour, where Toby was really fractious and I was beside myself with tiredness), I decided to take the midwives' advice to give him a top-up feed with formula. Partly to stop the damn crying so I could just, please God, get some sleep, but mostly because of the jaundice issue (and because the poor babe was starving!). Our local hospital trust is incredibly pro-breastfeeding, so they weren't suggesting that they give him formula from a bottle, which I wouldn't have been happy with due to the possibility of nipple confusion (especially given Toby's lack of inclination already to latch on my large, flat-nippled boobs); instead they cup-feed. This is meant to more closely replicate breastfeeding, as although the baby isn't sucking, they lap with their tongue, just like a cat, which is the same action that they use on the nipple to "milk" the breast. It is so cute to watch, although they can tend to gulp down the formula/expressed breast milk and get a lot more windy. The picture above is of Karen giving Toby a cup feed - she's much better at it than I am. Initially the cup feeds we did were with formula, now if we do them, it tends to be with expressed breast milk, as it's lovely for Karen to be able to feed him too. And sometimes I'm just too flipping exhausted/fed-up of needing to feed The Boy yet again, so it's good that we can share to some extent.

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Anonymous chloelee55 said...

I have never heard of cup feeding! I had the same issue with not enough of the good stuff for my daughter and had to go to a bottle. But I can say that there was no nipple confusion, so I would go for it if you need too!! They will know the difference :)

Congratulations again!

12:05 pm  
Anonymous Beth from Rainbow Conceptions said...

Sorry BFing is a little complicated but glad your hospital is so pro-BF and you are doing the cup. Don't worry, you and Toby will work out the nursing - I know how determined you are and that is the most important thing. BFing after a labor like you had and c-section can be a bit rocky but seriously in 6 weeks I bet nursing will be just bliss for both of you. Sending you good, milky vibes. :o)

2:22 pm  
Blogger Lil Jimmi said...

That is such a sweet picture. :-)

4:11 pm  
Blogger Sacha said...

I'm glad to know about cup feeding. I'm quite concerned about my total NON-mama nipples and breast feeding. We'll have to do some research.

BTW, he is just CUTE as can be.

4:25 pm  
Blogger Calin Bleu said...

What a lovely picture. I'm sorry to read you're struggling with the breastfeeding, it can be really tiring at first but once it's sorted out, it makes like so much easier.
Do you have a local breastfeeding support group where you can meet regularly with a bf counsellor and other bf mums? I used to volunteer in one and it was fantastic to see how mums went from struggling to sailing in a few weeks.

.... love the picture of the baby in the sling as well! :-)

8:34 am  
Blogger Stacey said...

Glad it's working out. We did something a little easier which involved a syringe (take the plunger out) and a long cathetar. You put the cathetar in the mouth along with a finger or nipple and put the syringe at the same level so that the baby has to suck to get it out. Avoids using a bottle and can help stimulate the breasts if using it on your nipple.

4:30 pm  
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7:38 pm  

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