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I can only remember bits and pieces from the first 48 hours after my son was born. I remember the collective cheer that went up in my delivery room when he finally (after four hours of pushing!) came out. I remember calling him by his name for the first time when they put him in my arms. And, I remember my doula, Elena Vogel, who also happened to be a breastfeeding expert, helping my son latch on for his first feeding.
I can’t recall if that first nursing session hurt or how long it lasted. I was just exhausted and overwhelmed and happy to be a mama. Over the next two days, I must have fed my son on demand as recommended, but I can’t remember actually doing it. He was latching on and feeding, so breastfeeding seemed to be going as it should. But at the appointment with his pediatrician at 5 days old, we discovered my son was severely jaundiced and he was admitted to the NICU. I pumped for the two days he was in the hospital, but it wasn’t very successful—I was getting less than 6 ounces from every session. It turns out that my body wasn’t producing enough milk because I had a retained placenta, which tricked my body into thinking it was still pregnant. As a result, I ended up back in the hospital for surgery (to remove the placenta) less than 24 hours after my son was released from the NICU.
Once we were both home again, a week after my son’s birth day, we had to begin nursing all over again. Luckily, my son took to the breast and, with Elena’s help, after a month of pumping after every feeding, I was able to eventually produce enough milk. I was thrilled that my son and I were able to pick up breastfeeding where we had left off—and I credit Elena for helping us get a solid start, and then back on track a week later.
Experts agree that the first 48 hours are key to creating the foundation for successful nursing. This Friday, as part of our series of live Facebook chats with our favorite breastfeeding experts, we’ll be chatting with my favorite certified lactation consultant, Elena Vogel. She’ll be answering your questions about what’s in store for you and your newborn in those first 48 hours of nursing—and how to make sure breastfeeding gets off on the right, er, breast, for both you and your baby.
To join the discussion, like us on Facebook, post your question or comment, and Elena will answer them live. And be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding page for information on getting the right latch, weaning and everything in between.