Alice was born on December, 24th, 2012, 9.06pm. After her first days, our little daughter was trying to cope with the whole new world before her. Suckling, being washed, sleeping, moving, listening to all those new and strange sounds from everywhere, and this light so bright…
The life of a newborn is full of stimuli and stress, but the life of a new mum is not simpler either. Leeloo was then facing big changes in her body, hormones, rhythms…
Thursday, December 27th 2012, 2 kg and 780 grams (6 lbs and 2 oz).
Postpartum is usually difficult for a new mother, and Leeloo was no exception. An important hormonal upheaval weakened her, if you add to that the fear of not doing things right for the baby, not feeding her correctly, a bladder breakdown problem, risk of internal bleeding, lack of sleep, insufficient eating and drinking…
I tried to reassure her the best I could. We should not worry too much about the drop of weight of Alice and the laborious suckling. Not so long ago babies were not even feed on their first two days, and if French hospitals think one baby shouldn’t lose more than 10% in weight, this is an arbitrary value and that does not fit all cases. If you baby has lost 11 or 12%, as long as she tries to suckle, that she is moving and sleeping, don’t panic. The most important is persevering. Breastfeeding is difficult, be prepared, baby don’t know how to suckle correctly, it takes time! Do not listen to stories about drinking 3 liters of waters per day or even drinking beers! Just eat and drink normally, no more, no less, and your body will do what is right.
Friday, December 28th 2012, 2 kg and 710 grams (5 lbs and 16 oz)
Alice went down the 10% limit of loss of weight. Leeloo started to worry a lot about her breastfeeding, her lack of milk, her inability to make Alice suckle correctly… The pediatrician recommended, to the dissatisfaction of the midwifes, to give her artificial milk along breast milk.
This is hard for first time parents to understand and figure things out about what is common, what is still normal and what is not. Most of hospital rules comes from economical reasons instead of biological ones, nowadays. They need to send back home the new mum as soon as possible to reduce costs, but there are no serious implication if the baby only starts to get weight one week after birth. Lactogenesis and learning how to breastfeed varies from woman to woman, and the most important thing is not to lose faith.
Leeloo wanted badly to come home, as the hospital environment iwas very stressful, even with such a wonderful team as the one in the Orsay hospital. Alice was moving, crying, there were no sign of a serious problem, she was just a bit tiny and lazy. We decided then to play by their rules, to stuff Alice with artificial milk for an entire day, just to be sure to leave the next day. Of course, feeding a baby with a baby bottle is far easier than breastfeeding, moreover the quantity of milk drunk is known.
On the contrary, it is difficult to measure the efficiency of a baby suckling for the inexperienced mother. Still, breastfed babies eats 20 % less milk than the one fed with artificial milk, and this is due to the higher bio-availability of breast milk. Because as long as artificial milk is not produced to fit the exact baby genome, no artificial milk will ever match the quality and benefits of her mother milk.
You should also know that breast milk reduces any risk of infections for the baby, first because it contains antibodies, but also because many infections are caused by bacteria linked to inadequate cleaning of baby bottles and wrong conservation of artificial milk. Moreover, breastfeeding reduces risk of obesity and allergy too.
You can find tons of useful info about breastfeeding on the Leche League International website!
Saturday, December 29th, 2012, 2 kg and 830 grams (6 lbs 4 oz), return home !
Our busy planning to fill up Alice as much as possible totally worked. Leeloo breastfed her every two hours, and added artificial milk to bait Alice. Alice gained 120 g (4 oz) on that day. Of course, it was totally cheating because the average baby growth is close to 30 grams (1 oz) per day. But maybe Alice was dehydrated and got back some body fluid.
As a consequence, we were granted the right to go back home. Alice took her first ride in our car and discovered her new home around 11am!