Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here we go again?

If you were reading this blog back when Oliver was only a few days old you'll know that we got sucked into giving Oliver milk in a cup when the policy was that he should be allowed to just breastfeed. This came about because the staff on the ward were over-anxious about his failure to breastfeed straight away. Hayley ended up staying on the ward for several days but actually found it better to be at home away from all the conflicting advice.

Today we have had a similar experience. At lunchtime we met with the breastfeeding specialist midwife who was supportive of our decision to try breastfeeding but to also use expressing and formula if necessary. She saw that Hayley had a "perfect technique" and that Lucy, although not very interested, did actually take some milk from the breast, so we know she can do it. In fact Lucy fed from the breast last night in the wee small hours so we know she is capable of doing so.

We did give her some breast milk from a syringe on the advice of the specialist midwife, but overall we were happy to be patient with her slow start.

Unfortunately some of the staff on the ward seem much more jumpy. When Oliver was there they used to take blood samples to check sugar levels by pricking his heel. This, apparently, started to get "completely out of hand" and the policy was dropped. Now, instead, it appears to me that they tend to just assume the baby's sugar level is going to be low if they are not seen to be feeding well. Consequently they are asking Hayley to wake Lucy every few hours to feed.

The irony of this is that if a baby is seen to be breastfeeding the staff are happy, despite the fact there is no way of knowing how much it is actually drinking. (Breasts do not yet come with volume measurement marks.)

Similarly ironic is the fact that they are pushing Hayley to stay in after tomorrow, even though they wouldn't have the opportunity if she had opted for a home birth.

I'm waiting to hear from Hayley how they got on tonight. She was going to try Lucy again on the breast.

I suspect she will take to the breast once she comes out of her post-delivery rest. Her birth was nominally straight-forward as there was no intervention, but there were some scary moments towards the end when the registrar was close to intervening, so it's not surprising she has been quiet until now. I recall from last time we had this problem that one of the midwives who led our ante-natal classes told us how a baby with a difficult birth can take 3 days to start feeding as much as you might expect them to. Last night Lucy did feed from Hayley, so hopefully she'll pick up her interest and Hayley can come home tomorrow.

Oliver and I are missing Hayley. He has been as good as gold today. He also napped for 2 hours: I wonder whether this was because he was back in his own cot. Then again, Sara told me that he slept in until 8.10am yesterday, so he must have been quite content at Jack's.

I'm betting he'll be up with the lark tomorrow despite a late bedtime (20.30!) after visiting Hayley and Lucy this evening. But I couldn't be happier to have him home. And I'll be even happier if our girls come home tomorrow too.