Molly and Sam were born at 36w4d on August 13th - she was 6 lb 3 oz, he was 5 lb 14 oz. Both were luckily healthy enough to go home. I started them on the breast immediately after my emergency c-section (we'd been planning a vaginal birth the whole time during my very uneventful pregnancy, then woke that morning to severe bleeding - little boy's placenta abrupted. Luckily it happened, however, as Sam managed to knot his cord into a double knotted braid - I kid you not - and the labor might have killed him. Everything happens for a reason i guess! My doula said he pulled the "rip cord" to let people know he needed help !)
My hospital was FANTASTIC! They needed to supplement with a bit of sugar water to get their blood sugar up in the beginning, but never gave them anything without our direct consent. Sam needed some formula supp in the hospital, but I requested that they let me express colostrum into the nipple first, which they gave him before the formula. We had round the clock nurse and lac consult care, which REALLY helped.
They both had jaundice - Sam had it especially badly - but even then, he was in a tanning bed in our room with us, neither spent much time in the nursery at all. But, due to the jaundice and my milk not being quite in, both had to be supped with formula to move the bad stuff out of their system by getting them to pee and poop.
We found an excellent ped who is completely pro-boob, and is working with us to get their weight up (both lost a lot, as is typical) while at the same time reducing the amount of formula they are on until they are on breast milk only.
We've had all kinds of issues and have been working with a lac consultant to overcome them - latching, weak sucking, we've rented a scale to know how much milk the're getting at each feeding (generally they get 1-2.5 oz per feed).
Our current schedule is 7am-10pm, they eat every 2 to 2 1/2 hours (if we see them rooting, we feed earlier) one on bottle with formula, one on breast. Then they go every four hours at night from 10pm-7am (same caveat, if they wake hungry, we feed them earlier) also one on bottle, one on breast.
We are now in the process of transitioning them, one feeding at a time to both being breast fed - every two days, one bottle feed will become a breast feeding until, finally, all feedings are breast.
My problem? I adore these kids but am getting not one ounce of pleasure from breast feeding. I hate feeling this way - I'm ashamed, feeling the blues like I never imagined. And yet, when I see them eating formula (especially my boy, who clearly does not feel well eating the stuff, we just switched him to soy because the milk-base was making him sick and the soy has corn syrup solids in it - UGH!!!), it makes me want to cry.
I'm torn between feeling completely shitty breastfeeding and completely shitty about the formula. I know I have to do this for them, I know it - and that just adds to the pressure and makes it worse.
I'm sorry for opening up this cauldron and hope I can find comfort and words of encouragement here despite my need to supplement until now. The supp did help, both kids have made back their birth weight (and he has surpassed it and now weight 6 lbs 4 oz) in just two weeks.
Despite how crappy I feel, I have no intention of stopping. I just need to hear this gets better, easier, more enjoyable so I can feel close to my babies and not just feel that I'm doing a "chore."
Thanks for reading this incredibly long post.
It does get better, sister. They are almost 20 mo. now and still nursing. You can do this! Breathe deep, relax, and surrender yourself to it. I promise you will be enjoying every minute of it very soon.
It is HARD. But it gets better It really really does.
You may hate it now, but as much as you hate it, you will probably grow to love it even more!!!
Hang in there. You are doing an excellent job.
When they are both breast only. WHen it is no longer a struggle. When you are no longer worried about intake etc. .
You will likely turn around and realize, "this aint so bad"
2 things came to mind: you might want to make sure you have enough help so that you are getting enough rest to make milk, and having someone to talk to, such as on this board is prolly vital. if you keep feeling crappy and bluesy, please get help IRL!
and also: this is strictly a gut feeling type of thing, not based on knowledge or anything...if i were you (and i know i'm not ) i would BF both db at the same time. i have heard that pumping while nursing can increase the pumped output, so it makes sense to me that bf 2 at once would do the same. that might get you to ebf sooner than dropping bottles evey few days.
i bet you could even hook up a SNS and nurse both together. it cant be any harder than making one bottle and trying to feed them 2 seperate ways.
sorry for butting in, i hope i was able to give you some useful stuff to think about.
Like you we had some real challenges in the early days. My DS dropped from 6 lbs 3 oz to 5 lbs 4 oz and stayed there for a long time. My DD didn't latch for 2 months. I had a 3 y/o whose world had literally turned itself inside out, a kitchen under renovation and no help. My milk supply crashed due to lack of sleep/nutrition/no milk moving. I was a wee bit stressed. Bonding was just about the last thing on my mind.
We FF some feedings until they were more than 2 months old. DD finally latched. It took a full month for DS to get to birth weight. I can't remember now exactly when we switched them off formula. It mattered a lot more then than it does now.
1. Make sure you are taking care of you. Rest, water, good food, an occassional break, some time outside, a shower - lol, lots of support.
2. Give yourself room to just be. You are experiencing a lot right now. Hormonal shifts can be tough. Recovery from a c-section is much harder with twins than with one IME. There are a lot of issues tied up in being able to feed our little ones, and bonding with twins is just harder in my opinion for SO many reasons. But it does come.
3. Remember that YOU are doing an amazing thing - really. A little formula will not harm your children. Don't beat yourself up about it. And if you need to use it a bit longer then that's okay too.
4. Keep your eye on your end goal - to have healthy, well attached children. There is more than one way to reach that goal.
My twins are 4.5 now. They still nurse. They are incredibly attached to me and to each other and their brother and sister. And they are very healthy.
It will all be fine - because you are willing to work to make it that way. The fact that you are posting here, that you recognize how important bonding and BF are is a testament to that. Really - it does get better. And you have some great "Mom" moments ahead to look forward to.
Keep us posted about how you are doing.
Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha
The first two months are sooooooo hard. It will get easier. You have great help from the LCs it sounds like, and you've gotten great advice here. Just some random thoughts:
1. You will sleep again. Not soon, but you will!!
2. There's no hell like the hell of going back and forth between breast and formula. It's just plain awful. There's nothing wrong with feeling shitty about it all, that's just a normal reaction to the situation. Really. You're fine!
3. If you're like most twin moms, your hormones are in freefall right now. Expect EXTREME mood swings to continue for some months. I remember giving the babies to DH and MIL in the living room and going off to the bathroom to sob, weep, wail, scream out my pain. I've NEVER cried like that before in my life. The next minute I'd be extatic with love for my babies. It's just plain nuts.
4. Expect to sit and nurse and sit and nurse and sit and nurse for some months to come. It will get easier as they transition to the breast, but you'll be sitting and nursing for a long time.
5. All you're feeling sounds just about normal for all you're going through. If you can, try not to beat yourself up about having a normal set of human reactions to trying to deal with two infants at once.
6. If you don't already have one, get a copy of Mothering Multiples by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada. It's coming out soon in a new edition but the current one should be widely available through LLL or even your local bookstore. Since you're going to be sitting so much, you'll have some time to read, LOL. In any case, look at her website at www.karengromada.com. This book is a lifesaver in situations like the one you are facing. My copy looks like it's been run over by a car it's so worn. :LOL
7. When things seem impossible (I remember things seeming impossible about 500 times a day in the early months), set VERY small goals for yourself: "I will breastfeed through this feeding; I will breastfeed until the end of the day; I will go three more days; I will go one more hour" or whatever goal keeps you going for the time being. Usually by the time that hour or day or three days has passed the crisis that made you decide THIS IS IT I'M QUITTING!!!! is over and you can keep going. Then the next crisis will hit and you can set another small goal.
Gotta go nurse, love it!! Best wishes
You are doing great. Absolutely awesome! johub, Karen & Amy said pretty much everything I would have, but I wanted to add to the voices of encouragement.
Your post was also very, very familiar to me. I could have written almost the same thing 2 years ago. My struggle with nursing was the most difficult thing I've ever been through. It gets easier. It took us 3 months to finally get the hang of it (my girls were born at 32 weeks, 6 days & weren't able to nurse effectively until they were about +1 months adjusted).
Are you pumping? I didn't see you mention it. I know it's one more thing to do, but it really does help with increasing your supply when you're not nursing the babies constantly. I pumped 6-8 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time until my girls got the hang of it. It was worth all of the blood, sweat & tears (literally--all 3 were involved). I pretty much hated nursing during that time. And I felt guilty for hating it. But once they got the hang of it, I was so happy I stuck with it.
Do check out Karen Gromada's book/website. Also, she's at the AP multiples yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/apmultiples/ It's a good list serve--lots of mamas who have been through what you're going through.
I know what a difficult time you're going through right now. But it's also a magical time--enjoy it. You'll be amazed at how fast it really does go by. I never believed people who said that to me, but they were right!
Keep up the good work, mama.
The first 6 weeks or so I wanted almost daily to give up and bottle feed. The temptation must be so great when you are half way there already. It was so hard and it never ended. I just kept setting small goals for myself. 1 month, 6 weeks, 2 months, 3 months, by four months breastfeeding had become so easy and enjoyable my goal from there was 9 months, by 6 months I can't imagine not nursing them and my goal is 12 months corrected age.
YOU ARE DOING SO GREAT. IT IS SO SOSO HARD TO NURSE TWINS AT FIRST. KEEP UP THE GREAT GREAT WORK. Set small goals. I would hate for you to stop and regret it.
I had given up and was just pumping. I just couldn't pump and nurse and clean up and start over without losing my mind.
You do need to get a pump and pump if you want enough milk for them. After you nurse, you then pump. Yes, it is hard and grueling, but in a few days your milk will increase and you can bottle feed with expressed milk.
If you decide to pump:
1) get a hospital grade pump. You can rent them. As a LLL leader or LC.
2) start pumping every 2-3 hours for 15-20 minutes. See what happens to your supply after a couple days.
3) if you can, try to nurse them together. I started by nursing lying on my side and laying one babies head on the other's tummy. Sometimes they fight, but usually they are happy to eat and not wait. You can also nurse with a few pillows sitting in a big recliner.
4) GET HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! DONA.org list post-partum doulas, other local org's may have them too. They will often help even if you can't pay. Or get a nanny for a couple weeks.
Check out the breast feeding boards on this site.
They're not typos. . . I can't spell!
I must admit I'm pumping more than breastfeeding right now, but it's working for them, it's working for me, and they're getting the milk, which was of the UTMOST importance to me. They're great on the bottle, they're great on the boob when they're on it, and they have each gained more than 1 lb in the three weeks since they were born.
My supply hasn't gone up a lot, but I'm still working at it and trying not to make myself crazy/guilty (which is really easy for me to do!)
Thank you again - I really needed to read these replies!!
There were many times I was ready to quit, but I just said "two more days" over and over. Then one day my dh commented that I hadn't complained about nursing them for a while and I realized that the hard part was finally past us.
Hang in there, it is hard, but it will be worth it in the end.
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