Taylor Gwin’s full house officially became a home June 17.
She and her husband, Matt, already were proud pet parents of two dogs and two cats, but they were overjoyed to add another member to their pack when they welcomed their daughter Penelope Rowan in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
New Care Team for New Mom
Taylor wasn’t always a Penn patient, but she knew Penn Medicine could provide her with excellent care.
“I always thought of Penn as the best hospital to go to,” she said. “So, since my husband and I were living in Philadelphia, I felt so fortunate that I was able to go there.
“As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I called and got an appointment.”
Taylor said she met with several doctors and certified nurse-midwives throughout her pregnancy, and “loved every person” she encountered – from her first prenatal appointment, through delivery.
“I had the best birth experience, I could not ask for better,” she said. “It was everything I wanted it to be, I felt so comfortable. It was relaxing, I don’t know that that’s normal to say.”
“Even my husband was so impressed and amazed at the care that I got. We felt really lucky.”
She’s a Natural
Penelope took to breastfeeding almost instantly.
“She latched right when they put her on me,” Taylor said.
Even though the new mom and baby were breastfeeding naturals, they still encountered some difficulties early in their journey.
Penelope, who was 6 pounds, 2 ounces, at birth, lost some weight in her first few days of life, which is completely normal and expected for babies who breastfeed. Most babies regain their lost weight quickly – within about two weeks after birth.
To help Penelope grow, Taylor decided to try cluster feeding, a breastfeeding pattern where mom and baby group several feeding sessions in a short time.
“Penelope cluster fed for the first two weeks,” Taylor said. “So it was a little stressful at first … I was feeding her every two hours to try to get her birth weight back up.
“It was a little concerning and nerve wracking for me to make sure she was eating enough, but after two weeks she was back to six pounds.”
Changing Their Strategy
With help from her mom, Penelope’s growth continued.
“She gained enough weight and she was getting enough,” Taylor said.
However, the feeding schedule was taking its toll on Taylor.
“The most stressful thing is that she would feed for 50 minutes, and it would be on one side for 35 minutes,” Taylor said, noting that it led to discomfort. “At a certain point she wasn’t’ getting anything. She was sucking for comfort.”
With feedings scheduled so close together, Taylor felt that neither she, nor Penelope were thriving. So Taylor talked with her doctor and worked through ways to make breastfeeding more comfortable for her, while also ensuring Penelope’s needs were being met.
“I was exhausted and she would never wake up for feedings,” Taylor said. “I decided early to let her tell me when she wanted to eat, which stretched the feedings out. I felt like I could be a better mom because I was getting rest, and she wasn’t a mad baby from constantly being woken up!”
“The hardest part is learning the signs,” Taylor said. “So when I get her to my breast she isn’t shaking her head violently and screaming at me hungry.”
In her short time so far as a mom, Taylor has learned a lot, but not without some growing pains.
“The thing that I struggled with that I think that a lot of new moms might have, is there is so much information out there,” she said. “You really don’t know what is going to be best until you’re doing it.
“Do what you think is the right thing and the best thing for your baby.”
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