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

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Old 12-27-2010, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

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Old 12-27-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-27-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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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."
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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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. 

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Old 12-27-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-27-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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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

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Old 12-27-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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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,

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Old 12-27-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-27-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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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.


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Old 12-27-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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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.




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Old 12-28-2010, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-28-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 12-29-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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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

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Old 12-29-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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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.


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Old 12-29-2010, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am recovering from heart failure. I can't even hold them both in a wrap yet.

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Old 12-29-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

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Old 12-29-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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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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Old 12-30-2010, 04:02 PM
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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?


I don't why not.  I did that with my youngest after figuring out he really didn't like the right side and I gave up trying to force it.  He was happy as a clam with just one side and my body quickly adjusted.  Yes, I was lopsided (I only had one baby to nurse so this might not happen to you) but it didn't last forever.  He hasn't nursed in well over a year and my breasts are the same side again. 

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Old 12-30-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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I assigned my guys a side, from about six weeks old. It actually solved a lot of problems for us. DD2 nightweaned herself around 10 months, and from then on, I used to assign sides all day, and then DS got both during the night. But other than that, they kept their assigned sides until they were completely weaned.

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Old 12-30-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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Are they sucky babies because they want to nurse, or sucky babies because they want to suck. Dd1 loved sucking, but if she didn't want food too, all hell broke loose. She got a pacifier at 4 weeks, and we never looked back - she nursed for food, had the soother for comfort. We were both much happier. I realize I only had one kid at a time, but I wouldn't hesitate to offer a soother and see what happens.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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I don't have twins, but saw that you were asking for paci/bottle/nipple recs.  With both my nurslings we used MAM pacifiers and the nipples made by Medela.  That being said, my best advice is to go buy a few different types of paci's and try em all until you find one they like.  That's what we did with both boys, it just happened the picked the same kind!


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Old 12-31-2010, 07:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post

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...



Annette,

What an unbelievable birth story - you are amazing!!!! I had two older children at home when I had my twins and did find it really difficult to balance breastfeeding, even with family here to help me. And, of course, I wasn't dealing with recovering from congestive heart failure like you are. Still, I found it really difficult!  I did nurse them both at the same time during those early days. This was one of my goals. Even though I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as nursing them separately, it was a huge time-saver. If I had someone there to hold one baby/entertain the older 2 children while I was nursing the other baby, I did feed them separately on occasion. Also, if one nursed, I always nursed the other one in an effort to coordinate their feeding/sleeping needs. I have never had a problem with nipple confusion and did use MAM pacifiers with the older 2. The twins were not interested in pacifiers but eventually sucked their thumbs. I did not pump with the twins b/c I simply did not have the time and felt like if I did have any time, it would be best spent with the older 2 or doing something relaxing for myself. I did allow the twins to have one bottle (Avent) a day of formula. This was a huge break for me, and, like I said, the twins did not suffer from nipple confusion. I don't now how you feel about formula, but for me personally, the fact that they had a bottle of formula a day did not bother me and did not seem to affect my milk supply. Also, if you find that Matthew feeds better on one side than the other, I would just let him nurse on that side and see what happens. I stopped switching the twins from side-to-side a long time ago. Best of luck to you!! Your twins are really little still, and you are dealing with so much! It will get easier!! My twins are almost 1. I shudder to recall those early days, but it has gone by really fast. It is sooo much easier when they get past those early newborn days. I do sometimes feel guilty that my 3 year-old suffered by not having enough time with me this year, but now we are able to all do things together as the twins are nursing less and becoming more and more active.

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Old 12-31-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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Hoping things are getting better for you Annette! In the beginning all I did was nurse them and it was all tandem, and still all I did was nurse them! I'd nurse, they'd fall asleep, I'd let them lie there on the pillow around my waist, they'd wake up, diaper change, and immediately back to the nursing. CONSTANT. 

 

I used Soothie pacifiers -- I think they're most like a real nipple b/c they're straight rather than shaped like a question mark. I wouldn't worry so much about nipple confusion -- I'd just do what I had to do to make it through the day and night semi-sane.

 

Wishing you and your babies good fortune in the new year!


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Old 12-31-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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My first piece of advice would be to learn to tandem.  Meet w/ a LC a few times to practice with her and just commit to learning it!  I never did and completely wish I had.  My twins were 12 weeks premature, so we had other feeding issues and lots of nipple confusion.  My babes were never fully breastfed, but I was able to be full breastmilk for 7 months.  One thing that really did help was to automatically feed both of them whenever one was hungry, so if baby A was hungry- feed him and then feed baby B (or at least offer).  That seemed to help keep them on a close schedule together (not scheduled, but similar timing, if you will).   I could not have breastfed w/out the use of pacifiers... one of my nursers was such an avid sucker that I needed to offer the pacifier a few minutes before nursing or i would end up with bleeding nipples. 

 

also remember that babies (multiples or not) are just starting to 'get it' w/ breastfeeding at this age, some as late as 12-14 weeks old (like my oldest... terrible time breastfeeding until then, nursed to 14 month w/out problems).  just focus as much energy as you can to nursing and taking care of you if you have the extra help for your older kids.  once it clicks, life will be so much easier, and the best news is that you wont remember too much of these struggles a year from now!  GL!

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Old 01-01-2011, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still working on the tandeming. It only seems to work if I am in the bed surrounded by pillows. I have the twin nursing pillow, but it really doesn't help.

Anyway, I have a new problem--
I have Matthew nursing on the left and Molly on the right. Matthew is doing OK-- I'm still sore, but it's no where near as bad as it was. He's also still off and on, off and on. But he's gained two pounds since starting breastmilk three weeks ago. Yay Matthew!

Molly is nursing great, no latch issues, stays on for a good long time. But she's gained less weight (only about 1 pound from her birthweight and 2 pounds from her lowest weight) and has mucusy green poo with diaper rash. Matthew's poo is fine. I just don't get it. Could this be from not switching sides?

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post

I'm still working on the tandeming. It only seems to work if I am in the bed surrounded by pillows. I have the twin nursing pillow, but it really doesn't help.

Anyway, I have a new problem--
I have Matthew nursing on the left and Molly on the right. Matthew is doing OK-- I'm still sore, but it's no where near as bad as it was. He's also still off and on, off and on. But he's gained two pounds since starting breastmilk three weeks ago. Yay Matthew!

Molly is nursing great, no latch issues, stays on for a good long time. But she's gained less weight (only about 1 pound from her birthweight and 2 pounds from her lowest weight) and has mucusy green poo with diaper rash. Matthew's poo is fine. I just don't get it. Could this be from not switching sides?

The less-than-stellar weight gain, plus mucus in the stool, suggests malabsorption, to me. DS had a severe casein intolerance, and still has a moderate soy allergy, and that's how it showed up first-- green mucousy poop and lousy gain. It was a bit later that we saw blood in the stool, and that's what finally alerted me. Mucus in the stool is almost always a sign that something's going on-- that there's injury to the intestine. Have you tried eliminating dairy, and probably soy as well?

I don't think I'd look at not switching sides as the cause. It just doesn't seem reasonable, to me. I'd be looking at dietary influences, and if that doesn't pan out, then I'd be wondering about other reasons for poor absorption, like a virus for example, or as a very last resort some chronic issue like celiac.

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm actually thinking virus. We all have little colds, and she was fine before. Her poo was a little better today-- more towards brownish yellow and less mucus. It didn't make sense to me that there was a "bad side" either.

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