I know I need to catch up on Aiden and Isabella and how they're doing. I'm hoping to get a little more caught up soon. But right now my life revolves around one thing: breastfeeding. Yep, anyone that reads this blog that isn't interested in that topic...probably shouldn't read this post. =) I'll give you a second to click off this post...
I know when I was pregnant with twins (heck! Even when I was pregnant with Connor) one of my biggest concerns was breastfeeding and I thought some of you might be able to relate to this. I wish I was one of those people who just makes a ton of milk and never has to worry. But I'm not. I'm one of those people who believes firmly in breastfeeding, but struggles so much with the actuality of it. With Connor I was able to exclusively breastfeed almost 5-6 months, but it was H-A-R-D. I had to wake up in the middle of the night to pump. I had to pump every single break I had at work. I pumped at lunch. I pumped in the car. Then I'd nurse in the evening. I'd nurse in the middle of the night. I'd nurse in the morning. It was such an effort! I always said that if I was pregnant again, I'd do things so much differently. And then God threw a wrench in my plan and switched things up for me and gave me twins! I've already had two emails about breastfeeding twins and I thought maybe this would be a good time to share with you what is working, what isn't, and how I'm feeling about it all. I remember with Connor when I couldn't make enough milk, I got a lot of looks like, "Well...you're just not doing it right..." and even had a few people say things like, "WELL! Did you see a lactation consultant?...Are you pumping at work?" It was their way of subtly judging me. So let me preface this by saying what works for one mama, might not work for another. And honestly, formula is amazing. Even my lactation consultant today sang praises for formula.
When I was in the hospital, my milk didn't come in. I've heard that this is common in preterm babies (technically with twins, I'm not...but I was still 36 weeks and not 40 weeks). I've also heard this is common in c-sections. I literally pumped like a mad woman in the hospital (at least every 2-3 hours) and then still tried to nurse them in the NICU. It was crazy! I'd go down, nurse one baby at 3:15, feed them formula at 3:30, breastfeed the other at 4:15, bottle feed at 4:30, then try to pump from 5:30-6:00pm. At 6:15 I'd start the whole process over again. Can you say I was committed?
Now that my milk is in, it's a little bit better. But it's hard to find the balance between pumping and breastfeeding...especially because they are such typical bottle feeders (they have weak sucks) and are so little that they need to eat. Most of the time I feel like a cow. Occasionally I feel like super woman. Such is the miracle of breastfeeding.
The babies are on a pretty good schedule: they eat every 3 hours, except at night when they eat every four hours. I try to nurse them first, then pump, and then they go down for a nap. But it makes it virtually impossible for me to leave the house. Today I went 7 hours (30 minute drive, waiting for appointment, lactation appointment, drive, quick trip to grocery store to get nipples for the bottles, drive, lunch, 30 minute drive, a trip to Mr. Howard's work to turn in his FMLA paperwork, and then a 40 minute drive home) without pumping (EEEEEK) and since the babies aren't great at nursing exclusively on their own, it was a struggle for them as well.
To say, it's been hard is the understatement of the year. So when I don't return phone calls in a timely manner, it's because I'm at the lactation station (i.e. my couch and bed). I can blog while I'm pumping. I can't do anything when I'm feeding the babies except maybe watch T.V. (and that's a big maybe because it requires a lot of focus to feed two babies at once - getting them positioned and such). But talking on the phone is just near impossible...unless you can make crying sounds that make me think of my babies and cause me to let my milk down (haha!).
Well, I may not have helped a single person with this post, but I've made myself feel better. I really am doing a lot and at the end of the day if I'm able to nurse for a month or so, I'm going to consider it a success. Because, really, it is HARD, HARD, HARD!
- Feeling like a cow
- Feeling like I can't do anything except breastfeed and pump
- Not being able to multi-task while pumping (I can type on the computer, but I have trouble talking on the phone - it distracts me too much)
- Not seeing an increase in my milk supply quickly enough
- Trying to nurse two babies at once...you get one baby on the breast and then the next one falls off. Then you get her back on and the other one is off.
- Getting advice, like "Well, just nurse them separately - HA!!! I'd be nursing and pumping literally all day - No, really. 3:00 breastfeed one. 3:20 breastfeed the other. 3:40 bottle feed one. 4:00 bottle feed other. 4:20 pump. End at 4:40pm. Start over at 5:00pm. NO THANK YOU!