Week 4 Update

Quinn's now almost a month old, I can't believe she plopped out on to my bedroom floor a whole four weeks ago, the time has just flown by. Although, in some regards, and predominantly due to the struggles that we've had with breastfeeding, it feels like forever ago!
 
And my gosh we have struggled, from Day 1 with the painful breastfeeding due to Quinn's tongue tie and the two weeks of solid, bloody perseverance until that was divided, to the following week during which she genuinely tried to chew my nipples off, I have constantly bounced between determined breastfeeding, and agonised bouts of hysterical tears and scabby nips.
 
Then, to top is all off, on Friday of last week, I contracted mastitis, in both breasts. For those not down with the whole breastfeeding experience, mastitis is caused by an enflamed milk duct in the breast, often referred to as a "blocked duct", although there is no physical blockage as such. The enflamed duct turns in to a large, hard, painful lump, and generally causes horrible flu-like symptoms (fever, headaches, aches and pains, dizziness, nausea etc.) - It is one bitch of an illness, and left to fester it can end up needing antibiotics for treatment - if the antibiotics fail, it can turn to an abysses requiring surgery - it's no picnic. Luckily, my mastitis reared it's ugly head(s) as Seb was off to his Dad's for a couple of days, so I only had the baby to parent, and she decided that that night would be the night that she would feed hourly through the night - exhausting. Breastfeeding however is the best cure for mastitis, although painful, it's the quickest and most effective way to empty the breast, clear the duct, and allow it to heal - within 48 hours, the infection had subsided and I was back to my old self - but my God was it (another) low point!
 
I am now, finally, enjoying breastfeeding (cue the angels and trumpets). It's taken an entire month, and there have only been two, maybe three days that I've gone from morning to evening without crying - which isn't really how I saw myself spending these precious weeks, but I am so so glad that I persevered, and that on the occasions when I wanted to quit, Boyfriend was on hand to pick me up and look after me until I felt able to carry on again. I know that I'd be gutted not to be breastfeeding Quinn, and I know that despite everything - it is the right thing for us as a family. Now that it's pain-free, and the mastitis has subsided, I feel so confident and happy feeding her. Yesterday we met up with a group of old friends, including my friend Laura, who I've known since our little boys were babies, and who was due her third child on the same date that I was due to give birth to Quinn. Quinn ended up being five days early, and her son ended up being twelve days late, so there's actually over two weeks between them, but we both sat in the sunshine in the park yesterday, feeding our new babies and I could finally relax and feel relatively natural feeding her, rather than wincing and trying not to let on to anyone just how much pain I was in.
 
We saw our health visitor, Lucy, for the first time this week. I miss Kelly, my lovely midwife, but after having pretty awful experiences of health visitors when Seb was a baby, I'm relieved that Lucy is lovely, and very supportive and kind. Quinn now weighs 9lbs 11ozs (she was 7lbs 15ozs at birth) and measures 56cm from head to toe - which is what Seb measured when he was born - so she's definitely dinkier and more petite/compact than he is.
 
Both of my babies together
 
Thanks to her healthy weight gain, Quinn's now pretty much out of Newborn sized clothes, although, depending on where you shop, the Newborn sizing can mean anything from babies up to 7lbs to babies up to 10lb. I can still fit her in to a few of the larger Newborn bits (such as Mamas and Papas clothes), but a majority has now gone to the charity shop, and she's wearing predominantly 0-3month clothes (sob, sob).
 
The theme of this week tended to be crying, this time her, as much as me. Despite being an incredibly content and quiet baby to begin with, this was definitely the week that Quinn found her lungs, and on several occasions, she woke at 8am, and didn't sleep again properly until 8pm - yep... you can imagine. In this time she spent most of her time feeding, and if you happen to possess a pair of lactating breasts, you'll know that it's almost impossible to meet that kind of demand, but whilst she wasn't feeding, she was crying. It was becoming kind of soul destroying to be honest, especially as I had no experience of crying babies: Seb was always very quiet.
 
Eventually, a friend suggested that I consider the possibility that Quinn is suffering with silent reflux, so I did some research. Astonishingly, it turned out that she was displaying almost all of the possible symptoms, and I made a GP's appointment straight away. Luckily, we got an instant diagnosis, and Quinn was prescribed Infant Gaviscon - which has transformed her back in to the lovely, happy little baby that she once was. Thank goodness someone knew something about this condition when I didn't, as we may have soldiered on until she outgrew the reflux (as most babies do) rather than getting help and treatment which has made both our lives a hell of a lot more enjoyable now.
 
As developmental milestones go, nothing has been so notable this week as Quinn's ability to follow you with her eyes. It's amazing how automatically more interactive a baby becomes when it can control the movement of it's eyes! Now if she hears a sound or familiar voice she can actually look directly at it, and if you move past her, she'll follow you with her stare, which sounds intimidating, but is in fact very nice.
 
Now that breastfeeding is finally, properly established, and neither I nor the baby am unwell, I'm hoping that the coming week will be that much more positive and happy! It'll be great to write one of these baby update posts without having to discuss any particular "hurdles" or "challenges"!

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