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I don't feel like I can nurse them on demand.

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I have nursed 4 other children "on demand" (I prefer to think of it as on cue) but I don't feel like it's working with the twins.

Background: I am recovering from PPH and heart failure/peripartum cardiomyopathy. (My birth story is here if you want more details). The babies were bottlefed formula for the first 3.5 weeks of their lives. They'll be 6 weeks tomorrow and are now completely breastfed.

They want to nurse every 1.5 - 2 hours. This is problematic as an hour of that time is spent nursing. I can't nurse them together yet, I'm still fairly sore (Matthew had some nipple confusion and still can be kind of chompy). They're both really "sucky" babies, but I don't want to try to introduce a pacifier until all breastfeeding issues are cleared up. They both scream bloody murder if they can't be nursed and sometimes one baby wants to be on the breast for over an hour. And all that would be fine if there were only one baby and if I wasn't recovering from heart failure and if I didn't have 4 other kids to take care of.

I think we're having some issues with too much foremilk as well-- greenish, mucusy poops. And I wanted to pump in case, God forbid, I end up in the hospital again. Plus I would eventually not mind reintroducing the occasional bottle.

So, there's a lot going on. I keep telling myself that right now is the hardest things will ever be, but still, there's got to be something I can do so there's more than a half-hour when I am not breastfeeding someone. I'm not looking to strictly schedule them or anything like that, but I also need to think about my own health and continued recovery.

Any advice would be happily appreciated! orngbiggrin.gif
post #2 of 39

FWIW my babies aren't born yet. But I BF on demand with my other 3, with no bottles of either breastmilk or formula (I tried pumped milk with the oldest but she fought it like crazy). Pretty much no solids til around 12 months and they all nursed for at least 18 months.

 

But at the advice of my sister who had twins after 4 singletons, I'm going to do things differently this time. They'll get as much breastmilk as possible for at least 3 months, from both bottle and breast. They'll learn to use a bottle in the hospital. If this causes nipple confusion; so be it. They will be bottle babies. If pumping starts to affect my sanity and ability to mother my other children, we'll switch to formula. It's not a direction I ever thought I'd take, but I feel good about it. My 3 older girls will still need me, and I'll have 2 infants to care for. I'm prone to PPD. My mental and emotional well-being is going to have to take a front seat, and breastfeeding will follow. I feel like it will be what's best for my older kids, for me, AND for my babies. I'm not going to be one of those martyred mothers who is breastfeeding exclusively at the expense of other important things. Maybe if they were my first, but they aren't. Practicality sometimes overrules ideology.

post #3 of 39
i just read your birthstory, and wow! I am so glad you and the babies have come out ok on the other end, that was so scary. No wonder you are having trouble right now, BFing twins takes so much out of you and you're still trying to recover, yourself.

That time period was really, really difficult. My babies were in the hospital for weeks and on bottles even at home, and were almost 2 months old before I could start nursing. One of the hardest things I've ever been through, without a doubt.

It will get better. I'm sure that as yours get a little bigger, and become more efficient nursers, they will be able to space out their feedings a bit more. Introducing a pacifier will really help give you a break, when you feel like BFing is well enough established. So maybe part of this is just getting through to that time. All I can say is there are 2 things that I kept repeating to myself that got me through that time:
1. "I'm just going to get through this one nursing session/hour/day." Don't get overwhelmed by thinking too far ahead!
2. "This is a short period of time, they're going to nurse for years and it will only be this bad for a few months total."
post #4 of 39

I just read your birth story and wanted to give you a big hug.  Wow. 

 

I asked my aunt how she BF her twins (they nursed for 18 months) and she said it was not completely on demand.  She had a really big twin nursing pillow so that she was completely hands-free, and made it her biggest priority to learn how to nurse both at once when they were in that early needing to nurse constantly phase.  She would spend as long as she needed getting the first one on perfectly, then get the 2nd on. 

 

She would nurse them on demand in that whenever *one* wanted to nurse she'd put them both on.  That got her more sleep.  She pushed them a little more towards a schedule than she had with her older kids who were on demand.

 

I can't really put into words how hard it sounds like what you're doing right now is.  Nursing 2 and recovering.  Wow.  Do whatever YOU need to do for you. 

post #5 of 39
I haven't read the other replies.

but I will say that my twins totally SAT on all my wonderful AP ideals. And I only had one other child. You are only one woman, and you can only do so much. I would put a priority on practicing nursing both at once-- even if you just practice once a day, at the time when you are most alert and least distracted. It really does help. You don't have to tandem at all feeds-- but it does buy you a little time, if you can do it a few times a day. And if you wait too long, they may get stubborn and refuse to do it. So it's worth working on that, if you feel like it's at all possible.

Otherwise...

I don't know exactly how to resolve this-- I never did figure it out; we just coped, minute by minute, until finally we got to a better place. DS wanted to nurse 22 hours a day. He wanted to be latched the entire time he was sleeping, and every waking minute, and it was just impossible. I was so sick that first year; I know now that I almost died, although I was so caught up in the kids' needs at the time that i didn't realize how bad it was, and nobody ever confronted me about it. And I had the girls, and no help all day.

I think you just take it day by day, and do whatever you need to do to get through. For us, it meant one bottle a day for each of them, once DS's nipple confusion issues were resolved. DD2 had a pacifier from the third day. I tried like heck to get DS to take one, too, but he never would. And when DH came home from work, I had a no-nursing "zone" of two hours, so I could spend some time with DD1. That meant that DH did many miles with one baby in a front carrier and another on his back, while they wailed piteously. But it was the only way we were all going to get through those early months.

It gets better. I swear it does. But it's so hard.
post #6 of 39

i just wanted to send you some hugs.  my babes are 10 weeks and i still feel like i cannot leave my couch.  i only have one other child, i cant imagine wih four.    im just taking it day by day.  i will  tell you they can now nurse in a sling.... also i have dh take them and bounce them so i can have 1:1 time w/ my daughter.   but its hard..... honestly its the hardest thing ive ever done

post #7 of 39

i would also try to tandem... i know you said you cant but maybe once a day?   it does help them have similar needs at  the same time,

post #8 of 39

I hope it's ok for me to post this, as I am not a mom of multiples, but I saw this pop up in recent posts today and I read your story, OP.

 

I just want to say how brave and incredible you are for trying to nurse at all. You're doing such a great job. Good luck and hope you have a smooth recovery.

post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah32 View Post

I hope it's ok for me to post this, as I am not a mom of multiples, but I saw this pop up in recent posts today and I read your story, OP.

 

I just want to say how brave and incredible you are for trying to nurse at all. You're doing such a great job. Good luck and hope you have a smooth recovery.



Me too, to all of the above.  I'm so glad that you and the twins are doing so much better.

 

And I want to say that you can't take care of your children if you don't take care of yourself first.  And, while your twins are so little and need so much from you, kids further down the birth order need to learn early on that the world just can't revolve around them ;)  I only have 3, and no singletons, but #3's infancy is very different from #1s.  But they'll both be totally fine in the long run, because I do the best that I can with what I've got.  If anything, I think that having 3 kids with 3 different needs has taught me the importance of being flexible and about picking my battles. 

 

My thoughts are with you and your family, and I'm so glad that you're doing better.

post #10 of 39


thumb.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoMom View Post

FWIW my babies aren't born yet. But I BF on demand with my other 3, with no bottles of either breastmilk or formula (I tried pumped milk with the oldest but she fought it like crazy). Pretty much no solids til around 12 months and they all nursed for at least 18 months.

 

But at the advice of my sister who had twins after 4 singletons, I'm going to do things differently this time. They'll get as much breastmilk as possible for at least 3 months, from both bottle and breast. They'll learn to use a bottle in the hospital. If this causes nipple confusion; so be it. They will be bottle babies. If pumping starts to affect my sanity and ability to mother my other children, we'll switch to formula. It's not a direction I ever thought I'd take, but I feel good about it. My 3 older girls will still need me, and I'll have 2 infants to care for. I'm prone to PPD. My mental and emotional well-being is going to have to take a front seat, and breastfeeding will follow. I feel like it will be what's best for my older kids, for me, AND for my babies. I'm not going to be one of those martyred mothers who is breastfeeding exclusively at the expense of other important things. Maybe if they were my first, but they aren't. Practicality sometimes overrules ideology.

post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thank you, everyone, for sharing your stories. It really helps to know I'm not alone. I am going to try to nurse them together at least once a day-- I just did it for a partial feeding, so joy.gif.

I would also cheerfully take any paci/bottle/nipple recs that work with breastfeeding. Now if I could just figure out when I'm supposed to pump...
post #12 of 39

once you get tandemingt done - it does get WAY easier.  of course, it is still CRAZY but you are spending much less time nursing.   it also helps set their routine so you can change, burp, nap at similar times rather than one needing to eat and the other needing to sleep.   you can do it.   i found that getting the fussier baby latched and settled first was best.   then work on the second one.   really tandeming seemed intimidating but within a few sessions of having help, i was able to do it with all feedings.


Edited by mauri456 - 12/28/10 at 8:36pm
post #13 of 39
We had good luck with the Avent pacifiers. They are symmetrical (unlike the NUKs), which I think makes sense for breastfed babies. My 1st (a singleton) wanted to nurse 24 hrs a day and I was recovering from a really long intense labor & delivery and just couldn't do it. I broke down and tried the pacifier with her at only 3 weeks, terrified of nipple confusion because she was so young and our latching wasn't quite perfect, and you know what? It was fine! She was totally satisfied and I was able to rest and recover.

Honestly, if you've been nursing them for that long and they already had bottles, I'd just go ahead and try it. You really deserve a break, because all that nursing is so draining on you. And you know what? If they get a bottle of pumped milk or even formula now and then, it's worth it because they need their mother healthy more than anything in the world.
post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'm just really struggling still. Molly does great, but Matthew just can't seem to quite figure it out, especially when he's on the right side. He just kills the nipple and I can't quite figure out what the heck he's doing.
post #15 of 39
As for pumping-- the only way I got any pumping done was by putting one baby on a breast, and the pump on the other. Then put the second baby on the pumped breast, and the pump back on the other breast. Then the second baby is really ticked off, because he doesn't get the fountain of milk he's accustomed to, and you wind up nursing him again in ten minutes. Three or four days of this, though, and your breasts get the message, and the supply becomes bountiful enough to support the whole escapade. I think you wind up tricking your boobs into thinking they're nursing four, instead of two, babies.

I used to do it twice a day-- once first thing in the morning, when the supply was ample to start with, and once in the early afternoon, when DD2 would take a longer snooze. Of course, you should have seen the picture we made: here's me, with DS on my left breast, the pump on the right breast, DD2 lying snoozing on the opposite knee, because she wouldn't let me put her down, and DD1 hanging on my shoulder with her hands around my neck, watching the whole thing and begging me to play puzzles with her. It was trying, to say the least. So I won't lie and say it's easy. But I think that when it's what's right in front of you, you do what you have to do. This is where your faith comes in-- you console yourself with the idea that God wouldn't have given you more than you can handle, but that He means to push you to your limits. thumb.gif
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mauri456 View Post

i would also try to tandem... i know you said you cant but maybe once a day?   it does help them have similar needs at  the same time,


 

I do not have twins and I am not sure if this is possible...but could you nurse them tandem in a wrap? Then you could get i done at once and not have to hold them the whole time. You could just sit down while you do it or maybe even lie down.

post #17 of 39
Thread Starter 
I am recovering from heart failure. I can't even hold them both in a wrap yet.
post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post

As for pumping-- the only way I got any pumping done was by putting one baby on a breast, and the pump on the other. Then put the second baby on the pumped breast, and the pump back on the other breast. Then the second baby is really ticked off, because he doesn't get the fountain of milk he's accustomed to, and you wind up nursing him again in ten minutes. Three or four days of this, though, and your breasts get the message, and the supply becomes bountiful enough to support the whole escapade. I think you wind up tricking your boobs into thinking they're nursing four, instead of two, babies.

I used to do it twice a day-- once first thing in the morning, when the supply was ample to start with, and once in the early afternoon, when DD2 would take a longer snooze. Of course, you should have seen the picture we made: here's me, with DS on my left breast, the pump on the right breast, DD2 lying snoozing on the opposite knee, because she wouldn't let me put her down, and DD1 hanging on my shoulder with her hands around my neck, watching the whole thing and begging me to play puzzles with her. It was trying, to say the least. So I won't lie and say it's easy. But I think that when it's what's right in front of you, you do what you have to do. This is where your faith comes in-- you console yourself with the idea that God wouldn't have given you more than you can handle, but that He means to push you to your limits. thumb.gif

Thanks for this! And I'm giggling at the picture of you, the babies, and the pump.

I've figured something out-- Matthew can only nurse on the left side. Every single time it's his day on the right (I switch sides each day) he hamburgers my nipples, but he does fine on the left. So, what the heck? Can I just keep him on the left and Molly on the right and deal with maybe being lopsided?
post #19 of 39
That is funny, I hadn't remembered until reading your post, but one of my twins had trouble on one side but not the other. (Can't remember which baby or side, now!) Out of desperation and pain, I started nursing that one only on the one side. Once he/she got really good at latching and therefore became a stronger nurser, I was able to latch both on either side. I think that baby just needed more practice before being able to adjust to another side.

I didn't really notice lopsidedness, but then it was only a week or so until the nursing improved. From what I can remember, it's a bit of a blur. I know it was a short time period and didn't stretch on for weeks. After that I switched sides at every nursing session and never had a lopsidedness problem.
post #20 of 39

unless you are very small breasted and they eat very different amount i can't imagine it would cause lopsidedness to assign them each a side.

 

when we adopted marvel she nursed better on one side (the side that had always been jet's worst side) so i just always nursed her on that side and jet on the other. it made it way easier to keep tabs on who nursed last and make sure the toddler wasn't hogging it all.

 

when the twins were born i spent awhile trying to make sure they both nursed on both sides but discovered pretty quickly that cash would not latch properly on my right side. so i just went to one kid per side like i did with my older two. i think it way simplified things, and i have never read any convincing argument against it (and i've looked for years!).

 

are you able to nurse laying down yet? i know that made a big difference here. fox and me would sleep and nurse alot at night then and he would go longer during the day. that only helps if you can sleep throught nursing though.

 

learning to nurse a newborn is a full time job. what you are doing is like working two full time jobs while trying to care for the other kids. it does pass quickly though. i wish i had some magic fixes to make it all easier. it's just not easy.

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