Need encouragement for nursing my twins - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please, I need gentle support here - I'm feeling the baby blues badly, and need some support from other twin mamas who are nursing.

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.
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#2 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 04:00 PM
 
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YOUR DOING GREAT!!! Its not easy im so sure, not that i have ever done it. You do have a choice and as long as you do your best that is all anyone can expect from you.

Good luck mama
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#3 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 04:34 PM
 
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My girls were born 5lbs. and 4lbs.14oz. At times it felt like I was the only one who had faith in my ability to bring their weight up with just breastmilk, so I am happy to hear that you are so dedicated to this. But OH BOY did it hurt at first! I think that all mamas go through a period of de-sensitizing the nipples, but when you have 2, there is no switching boobs! My poor boobies were so raw and painful... just reading your post made me shudder out of sympathy! I seriously never felt pain like that in my life. I remember looking down at my 2 beautiful babies nursing and just crying because I was hating it so much!

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.

Brooke: a glass~blowin' hand~drummin' tree~huggin' home~birthin' earth~lovin' goddess~mama of 3!
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#4 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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Just cheering you on mama!!! You are doing great!!! it DOES get easier and more enjoyable. Hang in there!!!
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#5 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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Caring for twins the first two months is ridiculously hard, regardless of how you feed them. You shouldn't feel at all guilty-you have every right to be tired, cranky, sad, etc. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!! just hang in there. It was 8 weeks until I felt that I could nurse without real problems, and then things got a lot better. Everything I read in your post shows how much you care, and that will get you through. Every little bit of breast milk they get is great. Keep us posted-there are many nursing moms of twins here, with good advice.
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#6 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 05:26 PM
 
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I have not nursed twins yet (due any day now), but I remember those feelings from when ds was little. It can be so hard to latch your baby on when it hurts so bad you just cry. It gets soooo much better after the first few weeks and after the first 2 months it is nothing. Hang in there and know that you are doing what is right for you. You obviously want what's best for them and are doing all you can to give it to them. Congrats on your healthy babies!
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#7 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 05:29 PM
 
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For the first 6 weeks of my twins life I sat on the couch and nursed constantly. And cried every day.
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"
Good luck
Joline
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#8 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 05:31 PM
 
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Congrats on your new babies! I'm glad to hear that all 3 of you are doing well.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#9 of 20 Old 08-30-2005, 05:37 PM
 
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not a multiple mama here, just browsing new posts for something to do, but i wanted to give you props for bf 2 babies. for those first few weeks one is hard, i cant imagine 2!

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.

Bring back the old MDC
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#10 of 20 Old 08-31-2005, 12:57 AM
 
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You are going great. Twins are hard in the early days but it does get easier.

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.

My advice?
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.
Karen

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

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#11 of 20 Old 08-31-2005, 02:33 AM
 
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More hugs to you, mama! Your post sounded very familiar to me!

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
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#12 of 20 Old 08-31-2005, 09:40 AM
 
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I am nursing 2 1/2 mos old twins. It will get better, just keep doing what you are doing. Have you considered pumping to get your milk supply up?
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#13 of 20 Old 08-31-2005, 12:42 PM
 
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Congratulations, mama!!


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.
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#14 of 20 Old 08-31-2005, 02:52 PM
 
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I didn't read the other posts so sorry if I duplicate.

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.
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#15 of 20 Old 09-02-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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YOU CAN DO IT!! I nursed my first for almost 3 years. Then the twins came, and I was SOOOO swollen, they couldn't latch. It was 7 weeks before they would latch and nurse, and then they did it like that was the only way they had ever eaten, .

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.

more later

Courtney wife to geek.gif and mom to 4 boys: chicken3.gif   . I need caffix.gif !
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#16 of 20 Old 09-06-2005, 07:12 PM
 
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I think you are doing really great, the first couple of months are really tough, it gets better, as everyone else on this thread has confirmed. My advice would be to nurse them at the same time. Get yourself the E-Z-2-nuse pillow and put them on at the same time, your supply will go up and you won't have to juggle feeding two babies separately. Then, I am afraid, you will just be with that pillow throughout the day - I remembe that is all I did the first two months! Mine are 3 1/2 now and still nurse and I still nurse them together most of the time.
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#17 of 20 Old 09-07-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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Hang in there!! You're doing great! It does get easier I promise!
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#18 of 20 Old 09-07-2005, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all SO much for the responses.

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!!

OPL
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#19 of 20 Old 09-09-2005, 12:26 PM
 
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It does get better! My girls came home from the hospital being supplemented with formula. We went cold turkey to nursing only - went from feeds every 3-4 hours to every 2-3 hours. Luckily the home health nurse was very pro-bf, she gave me a lot of encouragement and tips every time she came to weigh them. I didn't pump then, just nursed, nursed, nursed. I became addicted to ER at that time, it was on 3 times a day on cable, and our "nursing station" was the loveseat.

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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#20 of 20 Old 09-11-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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Although I do not have twins, I did breastfeed both of my babies, which are only 12 mo apart! I am one of the only women I know who cycles regularly starting 3 mo after birth while soley breastfeeding : . So, when my ds was only 3 mo old, I became pregnant with dd. I got a lot of greef about bf ds while pregnant but did it anyway, and I love it. But when dd was born for some reason things really changed. I was bf a newborn, very fussy newborn with lots of allergies, and a 12 mo old. I no longer enjoyed it, but found it to be a chore. I hated that I felt that way. But my feelings did change, I began to really enjoy it again and even more than before. When ds stopped bf, I was a little sad. He did this all by himself. And now dd, at 16 mo is also starting to wein herself and it makes me a little sad. When I hold her on my lap, I can't help but smile and I am so glad that I stuck with it. All you can do is your best, I couldn't imagine bf twins, that is quite the challenge. However, I do know that it does get better and easier, best of luck to you and congrats for all your effort so far !
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