Need Help with pumping, bottles, gas, nursing my newborn preemie twins! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 01:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, the twins just ate so I've got a few minutes before I try to get some zzzzz's...

Our twins were born at 30 weeks. They spent 6 weeks in the hospital - healthy but just learning to eat and getting bigger. they were 3-2 and 3-8 at birth. We brought them home a week ago at 36 weeks.

I have pumped for 6 weeks and brought them breastmilk to the NICU. I have never had quite enough to feed them and as they eat more and more, my milk supply is not increasing to keep up with the increased demand.

1) A lactation consultant at the hospital advised me to feed them at the same time, when one wakes, at least every 3 hours during the day and every 4 at night. Since they are preemie, we are concerned with making sure they get lots of calories. Our discharge orders were to give them formula at least twice a day but they get it more b/c I don't have enough milk. I pump after every feeding and we feed them the milk in bottles. I also breastfeed them directly twice a day but they don't get much and so we do bottles afterwards to make sure they get full. I use nipple shields because otherwise they don't really know what to do.

I'm totally stressing out with all this work! I'm exhausted! And I'm not sure how to get from here to completely breastfeeding them directly - if it's even possible. (I'm on domperidone.)

If you've been through this, how did you handle it?

2) The babies have been fussy and they pass gas a lot. I'm worried that they are uncomfortable with gas. I have read my diet may contribute to them getting gas. Any advice on what I should do to comfort them and prevent the gas?

3) Related to #2 above, we are trying to find some bottles we like. We started with some plain glass evenflow bottles with slow flow nipples. then I bought some Born Free bottles b/c they have a nipple that is supposed to be more like a human nipple. But I think maybe the babies' gas started with these bottles...? So we're trying the evenflow ones to see if the gas goes away.

I'm probably leaving something out but this is long and i"m tired...

Any help or advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Honestly, I think I may be happier if I wasn't trying to breastfeed them. I feel like I'm so worried about the pumping, my supply and how to transition to breast, I kinda want to give it up and just enjoy my babies without the extra worry (like I don't have enough worry for the next 30 years!)

Thanks in advance to you ladies who have been here... preemie mom advice is especially appreciated as the folks in the NICU say that the breastfeeding process is different and especially challenging for preemies.
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#2 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 02:10 AM
 
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I didn't have preemies but wanted to reply anyway.

First of all a big for what you are doing!

Some thoughts that came to mind while reading your post. Are you co-sleeping? Even at night if not latched on, nuzzling at the breast when prolactin levels are higher could raise supply. As for the gas, it could be the formula. Aren't preemies more difficult to burp as well? I never seemed to even burp my babies well enough. Are YOU eating enough?

I also don't understand the LC's advise to feed them every 3 hr during the day and every 4 hour at night. For adjusted age that still seems waaaay not often enough. Is that formula feeds every 3 hours or nursing feeds? When you do nurse, are you nursing them together? This supposedly also helps with supply.

Also keep practicing and working on getting rid of the shields as that can really hinder supply.

Please don't give up on breastfeeding just yet. They really need that momma milk to grow well and be healthy. Combination feeding is still better than just formula.

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#3 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 03:33 AM
 
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I can't type much now because DP is asleep in here and I'm feeding a baby, but I just wanted to say I have triplets who were born 2 days before your twins. Mine were born at 34 weeks, stayed in the NICU for a bit and I know too well how difficult nursing preemie multiples can be! You are giving them such a wonderful gift, though.

I'll add more tomorrow, but congrats on having them home and healthy!
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#4 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 09:38 AM
 
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My guys were born at 30 weeks 6 days. My experience has been a bit different but I can try to give you advice based on what I know.

(nak ;-))

First off, the gas: it might just be normal. I hate to say it, but a lot of babies just have awful gas that causes them discomfort, and they grow out of it. This has been true for all 3 of my breastfed babies, and diet really hasn't played a roll at all. (Theoretically, your diet should not affect the babies' gas at all unless they have allergies. The foods that cause us to have gas do so because we don't digest them well, and therefore the gas-causing elements never make it into the breastmilk at all. Some women swear their diet gives their babies gas, though, and who am I to say otherwise?). The pediatrician always told me that gas is just a normal baby stage. It has been for all 3 of my kids.

Anyway, bottle and nipple can for sure cause excess gas, but I don't know much about that. We were using Playtex Drop-Ins during the time we used bottles, but I really didn't notice a big difference in gas when we were using them and when we were just nursing.

Okay, as far as frequency of pumping and/or feeding...do it more, if you can. A lot more. When I was building my supply I pumped every 2-3 hours during the day and at first every 3-4 hours at night (I ended up having too much milk and cut down to only pumping once a night). If you're having supply problems, I would try hard to pump as often as possible. I read at the time that an extra pumping session is helpful even if you don't have time to really empty your breasts. So if you have 5 minutes, pump. I would really try to pump every 2 hours as often as possible, and a few extra times at night. Believe me, I know how tough it is. You get so sick of the pump. I often pumped while giving bottles to save time. If you have a thing that lets you pump hands-free you can do that

Do you have a Baby Weigh scale? I found ours very useful when I was starting to BF them directly more often. Also, every day or every day, try at least once to latch them without the shield. It's frustrating, but at least with my guys they just suddenly "got it" and started nursing great without it.

My circumstances have been somewhat different, but I will say that not only am I exclusively nursing my boys, they are extremely fat and happy and great nursers. It definitely can happen. I always had a lot of milk, so I didn't have that additional struggle, and it must be so difficult. I really believe you can do it. And you know what? If you can only end up BFing them 75% of the time, or whatever, that's fine too. They still get the benefit of your milk and the nursing relationship (which IME means a lot more with older babies and toddlers; little ones just like to eat lol). And hey, your DH or anybody else can always give them those bottles at night and let you sleep (and they'll probably sleep better, too, if they're getting formula at night).

Good luck. Keep posting here. You'll be in my thoughts!
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#5 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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if the gas was caused by your milk, you would see foam in the diap[ers and t would be a greenish color=this is typically a milk allergy- it is probably a. the formula- formula cause gas, and constipation, b. the bottles, c. just gassy children-some babies are just gassy for awhile!
i agree with the cosleeping reccomendation!
i also want to strongly reccomend supplmenting NOT with a bottle, but with an SNS- supplimental nursing system- they are contianers of milk with a long thin tube that the baby sucks on at the same time as nursing- that way there is no nipple confusion or preferece, and you breast is always being stimulated.
good luck!!

mdcblog5.gif   Liz mama to DS 10, DSS 9, DD 6, DS 3, DD 2 , Aquila- dec 19th 2009 died at my homebirth, and....welcome Willow born 9-16-10 (9 weeks early)  nut.gif
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#6 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 09:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liz-hippymom View Post
if the gas was caused by your milk, you would see foam in the diap[ers and t would be a greenish color=this is typically a milk allergy- it is probably a. the formula- formula cause gas, and constipation, b. the bottles, c. just gassy children-some babies are just gassy for awhile!
i agree with the cosleeping reccomendation!
i also want to strongly reccomend supplmenting NOT with a bottle, but with an SNS- supplimental nursing system- they are contianers of milk with a long thin tube that the baby sucks on at the same time as nursing- that way there is no nipple confusion or preferece, and you breast is always being stimulated.
good luck!!
SNS is not always a good idea with preemies. It might work for you, I don't know. We never had any trouble with bottles and nursing. (Now to be really controversial, I have a friend who is an OB nurse and midwife in training who doesn't think there's any such thing as nipple confusion, just supply issues. I don't know either way, but I can say for sure that my babies who had a ton of bottles and pacifiers never had a bit of trouble nursing. Of course one now refuses the bottle lol)

Anyway just to point out that things are a bit different with preemies.

eta The reason SNS can be bad for preemies is because one issue with nursing is getting tired at the breast. On the one hand it might encourage them because they would get milk more easily, but on the other hand they would get more tired and not be prepared for "real" attempts at nursing. Also it makes pumping incredibly complicated (figuring out when to pump). But I'm no expert, you'd have to ask an LC you trust.
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#7 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 10:17 AM
 
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Hi

My girls were born at 30 weeks too... we are now EBF. What worked for me was to ignore all advice about supplementing with formula. i do think it messes up your supply. when both of them were home, we nursed in and I basically nursed them around the clock.... my milk supply has been fine and they are now nearing 16 lbs. definitely co sleep for reasons mentioned above.

nak-- pm me if you want!

Mama to lovely twin girls 1/08
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#8 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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My twins were born at 30 weeks also and I had the same problem you do. I never made enough milk exclusivily for them so we had to supplement with forumla. Then they never really took to the breast even with a nipple shield so it was exclusive ebm for them. I tried fenegrek, mother's tea, every LC from here to the moon, etc to get my supply up but nothing worked. Then they both got colic They screamed from 7pm-3am every.single.night. I was pumping every 2 hours, they were sleeping maybe 30 mins at a time, so by the time I pumped, cleaned up, they were up again (they did this 24 hours a day) I was getting 2 hours of broken sleep (usually 5/10 mins here and there) for months. I was exhausted! My milk finally began to dry so I had to quit, I made it to 4 months....

Bfing is hard work and I completely understand what you said about "enjoying your babies" b/c that is so true. I was so consumed with bfing them, pumping, etc. that I wasn't enjoying them like I should have. After I stopped bfing, I was able to enjoy them without the added worry of the bfing issues. You are the mama, you know what you can and can't do. If you feel it is best to stop, then that is your right.

After we stopped bfing we looked everywhere for good bottles. Our twins were still colicky and we finally found bottles that took our colicky girls to wonderful babies overnite and they were..... Dr Brown bottles. Within 24 hours of using them, colic was gone (not joking) *I'm sure someone will mention that these bottles contain BPA, which I didn't know at the time, but I probably would have still used them, my kids were in severe pain and this took it away, so I was and am still fine with the bottles as a whole*

GL

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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#9 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 04:20 PM
 
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First, re the bottles, we ended up using Dr. Browns, because that was the only kind that had preemie nipples at the store by us. They're supposed to help prevent gas, and our boys never had any big problems - who knows if it was the bottles or not, but for what it's worth.

I really feel for you - your situation sounds similar to what I went through, and it was so hard at times! My boys were born at 32.5 weeks and were in the NICU for a while - like yours, no real problems, just learning to eat & get big. They both had pretty weak sucks and when they came home I had just gotten to start nursing them. But they couldn't do it all nursing, so our routine was I would nurse one as long as he would suck, give him to dad for a bottle (of breastmilk) & start on the second one. We were feeding them every three hours when we first came home, then after a little while, every four. It worked for us. I pumped every 2 hours at first, then eventually (can't remember when) started pumping at every feeding (nurse, bottle, nurse, bottle, pump). I didn't have any issues with supply at first but did later, and at that point, nothing I tried boosted it, so I just kept going with whatever I got.

With my boys, one of them just never took to nursing. I tried every single feeding until their due date (which was also the day after I had to have surgery to drain an abscess from a breast infection and at that point, it just wasn't worth the fight. The one who would nurse never (I felt) got enough just nursing, so I continued to give him a supplemental bottle until he weaned himself.

It was a lot of work. And with all due respect to those who tell you to pump more, sometimes you just can't, and I just hope you'll give yourself some grace, too. Because it already takes so long to feed them... in the beginning I would sometimes only end up with an hour between feedings when I was home alone with them. And while breastmilk is obviously the best thing they can have, they will be ok with whatever amount of formula they have, too. And it sounds like you're doing an amazing job of giving them as much bm as you can.
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#10 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 04:23 PM
 
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Hi!

My girls came at 33 weeks, spent 4 in the NICU, and didn't nurse for about a month after they got home. So, about when they would have been 41-42 weeks gestation.

I agree with the PP's in saying that you probably need to pump/nurse/feed more. 2-3 hours rather than 3-4.

What worked for me (and I don't know if it'll work for you, it sounds like most of us got to EBF in different ways) was giving up on nursing more than once a day. I just pumped and bottle-fed for a month, while trying to nurse once a day, to see if they could get it yet. And they didn't, and didn't, and didn't and then, one day, THEY DID!

Seriously, for us, it was one day they couldn't and the next they could. It really felt like they just had to get big enough.

Then, for several months they mostly breastfed with one bottle of formula a day each, in the evening, when my supply was lowest. Then, a couple months ago, they dropped that bottle and just breastfed. Now they're breastfeeding and we're starting a few solids.


I know how tired you are. It's awful and hard and frustrating. For me, that month of pumping and bottlefeeding was nightmarish. But, truly, it was worth sticking in there in order to get them to nurse. Nursing is SO much easier than bottlefeeding, imho.

I guess the biggest thing I can say is: it might just take time. They still shouldn't even be here yet, you know? (No guilt in that statement, mine came too early too - it just helped me to remember that when I was expecting too much of such very little ones.) They might just have to do a bit more growing before they get the hang of it, and you're doing an amazing thing to keep your milk supply up. Man, was I ever glad to get rid of that pump when the time came!

I hope they figure it out soon. It's really possible that they will. Meanwhile, hang in there. It WILL get better, whether they learn to nurse or not.
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#11 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 05:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaRabbit View Post
I didn't have preemies but wanted to reply anyway.

First of all a big for what you are doing!

Some thoughts that came to mind while reading your post. Are you co-sleeping? Even at night if not latched on, nuzzling at the breast when prolactin levels are higher could raise supply. As for the gas, it could be the formula. Aren't preemies more difficult to burp as well? I never seemed to even burp my babies well enough. Are YOU eating enough?

I also don't understand the LC's advise to feed them every 3 hr during the day and every 4 hour at night. For adjusted age that still seems waaaay not often enough. Is that formula feeds every 3 hours or nursing feeds? When you do nurse, are you nursing them together? This supposedly also helps with supply.

Also keep practicing and working on getting rid of the shields as that can really hinder supply.

Please don't give up on breastfeeding just yet. They really need that momma milk to grow well and be healthy. Combination feeding is still better than just formula.
I totally agree .... the nurses told me not to go any longer than 3 hours between nursing.

Good luck, and congratulations!!

Catholic homeschooling mom of 5 - a teenager, a kindergartener, twin boys and a tiny princess. Follow the Adventures! 

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#12 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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jen - i'm just a couple weeks ahead of u and can totally relate. i can also type for the first time that i'm NAK!!!

i found that the hosp lac consultant wasnt great. i went to a private one and it was much more useful.

i will have to come back when i can use my right hand to type, b/c i have lots of info to pass on.

i hated pumping & finally decided i couldnt bottle/nurse/pump and nixed the pumping in favor of more time @ the brreast... it's working! slowly but surely.

hugs,mama... call me if u need to talk it out.

celeste terra, single wohm to twin toddler boys max and shoghi. bamboo village press
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#13 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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I agree, I would probably pump more often. My boys were born at 34 weeks. The o/c pedi who was awesomely pro bf'ing, said do not let them go more than 3 hours to nurse. Babies need to eat AT LEAST 8-12x's a day.

It took us about 6 weeks for them to finally nurse. It took lots of patience, and it was very frustrating..It can take until their actual EDD to get the hang of it.
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#14 of 25 Old 09-29-2008, 09:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by peacechief View Post
It was a lot of work. And with all due respect to those who tell you to pump more, sometimes you just can't, and I just hope you'll give yourself some grace, too. Because it already takes so long to feed them... in the beginning I would sometimes only end up with an hour between feedings when I was home alone with them.
This is my situation right now. I am home alone with my three during the day, and I do 2 feedings alone in the middle of the night. It takes 2 hours to warm bottles, feed all three, put them back to bed and pump, and they are fed every three hours so that leaves one hour in between...and that is without putting any to the breast! I try to get at least one baby to the breast at least once a day, and I know I need to do that more but it is not always easy to find time. Pumping every 2 hours would be impossible right now, as I would never get any sleep or time to do other things for the babies (like wash bottles, laundry, etc.) or care for myself when DP isn't home.

I wanted to say that many, many preemies do not get the hang of breastfeeding until after their due date. My due date was last week, and suddenly the babies are starting to get better, but they still need a bottle after nursing. One stayed latched on (without a nipple shield!) for over 30 minutes the other day, and I was almost in tears at how beautiful and wonderful it was, but then when she was finished, she cried for a bottle. I don't know how much milk she got but it wasn't a lot. Still, that was progress! At 37 weeks gestation, where yours are now, they had much more trouble.

I also have supply issues, and I felt good in the beginning that I was at least making enough to feed one baby, but my supply did not increase with their needs and at this point they only get 2 EBM feedings per day. Sometimes I feel frustrated and wonder if that is worth all of the effort and heartache surrounding BF for me. I really understand the feelings you're having about wanting to enjoy your babies more. It is so hard, but I know of several people who have been able to successfully BF multiples after working with them past their original due date.

I'm sure you know exhaustion and lack of sleep can affect your supply, also. I have no advice on that because I'm terrible at finding the balance for myself, but just wanted to say to be kind to yourself. You are trying so hard and giving them such a wonderful gift, and they are still so small.

ack - baby crying, sorry for any incomplete thoughts, and sorry for all the rambling. This is my brain on sleep deprivation.
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#15 of 25 Old 10-01-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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How are things going? I wanted to send a hug your way and offer my experience, although my twins were born at 38 weeks, my first (singleton) was born at 35 weeks, and was very much treated like a preemie, not just pre-term baby. We had feeding issues, and what we found the most helpful was to do the "24 hour cure" once they had stable, good weights. It's where you spend 24 hours in bed with your babies, all of you as naked as possible to get good skin to skin contact. You get waited on hand and foot, and just feed the babies, and sleep with the babies. Only get up to pee. I think that no matter how good of a pump you have, a baby will do a much better job at stimulating your breasts to make milk for them, and they may keep sucking and sucking and sucking until the cows come home. This may drive you crazy, but it will kick your body into makin' milk mode.
You have to do what is comfortable to you, but if you went a few feedings w/o topping them off with the bottle, and just letting them suck and suck, it would do your body well. I know for myself (and I'm guessing all others) that those of us who have BF'd our babies since birth, sat through some really hard nursing times where the sucking literally never seemed to end. This is how the body knows it needs more milk. Demand and supply. If they aren't sucking, your body figures it is making enough milk. \
Personally, I haven't touched a pump since my DD1. Okay, I tried once, maybe, but I completely appreciate how it robs your time, and it just sucks. (truly no pun intended )
And lastly, my experience w/ feeding DD1 was one of exasperation. I wanted to BF, yet couldn't understand why other people felt motivated to have me breastfeed, and I became a bit resentful of all the encouragement. No matter what you choose to do, you will be a wonderful mama. I am grateful to have been able to BF my little monkey, who, once she learned, went on to receive a PhD in nursing, then her doctorate. Seriously, I weaned her at 3 1/2, because of being pg with twins, or she might have been that lone child who did indeed nurse into her college years. It is a sweet, intangible relationship with nursing, and at the risk of sounding like all those women who kept encouraging me (and driving me crazy), you can do it, mama!
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#16 of 25 Old 10-01-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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s Mamma!

1. There is begin a mamma, and then there is being a twin mamma and then there is being a twin mamma with premie or special needs babies!! You are in the PhD program of mothering. There is only so much time in a day, and you have to choose what is most important for you and still be able to survive. You are learning what it is like to make some very very hard decisions!

If you want to breastfeed YOU NEED TO FIND SOME SERIOUS HELP!! You need some help so you get sleep, food, and water or you just will not make enough milk no matter what you do!

Sit down with your dh and make a list of everyperson you can think of and have him call and ask them when they can spend 3-4 hours washing dishes, laundry, childcare, etc. Don't stop until you have almost every day covered for at least the next month. If you don't know enough people, call your local twins clubs, churches, colleges (early ed teachers need to volunteer with kids), post-partum doula groups, etc.

2. My boys were born at almost 38 weeks. I tried for 4 weeks to get them to breast, but they just wouldn't do it (they would cry unless they felt the sns tube!). Finally, I stopped trying to get them latches and just pumped and bottlefed them. I didn't even attempt to nurse them for another few weeks. Finally, my dh suggested I try. . . .and they latched and nursed like pro's!!

I think they had a lot of bad associations with our difficulties nursing and they needed time to forget the stress and "reset" their instincts. They were WELL PAST THEIR DUE DATE before it worked. But it did. I agree with some of the above posters, that even if you only nurse them partially, you are still doing them a great service. It doesn't have to be all or nothing!

3. Some babies are just really gassy. Sorry.

4. Let us know what is working and what isn't and perhaps we can give you some more ideas.

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#17 of 25 Old 10-01-2008, 03:15 PM
 
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Just a few thoughts, because all of the others had such great advice. Like a pp, my twins came at 38 weeks, but my first came earlier. He was born at 37 weeks, but they said developmentally, he was more like 34-35 weeks. He was a terrible nurser and I was constantly working on my supply.

1. Definitely pump more often. I know that's hard to. I am "bad", since breastmilk can stay in the fridge for a few days, I figured so can the pump stuff. I got so sick of washing pump stuff that now I just put it in the fridge after I pump rather than washing. I use it 2-3 times. That saved mea ton of time. Also, I also had a hard time pumping more often than every 3 hours during the day. So I did "power pumping" every now and again. If you can find a window of time, pump for 10 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes, then pump for 10 minutes. My LC recommended I do this for 2 hours. But, who has 2 hours? I did it for about an hour and noticed a tremendous increase in supply about 24 hours later.

2. Don't beat yourself up. Do what you can do, and be happy with it. Be proud of yourself for what you CAN do, and not berate yourself for what you can't. You are being asked to do WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY more than the average mama, so give yourself a break. Formula may not be what you want to feed your kiddos, but it's not the devil. It's okay to take the "help" when you need it.

3. Echoing what a pp said, you need to eat lots of food and drink TONS of water in order to have a decent supply.

4. WE use Dr. Brown's bottles for a couple of reasons. one is that they have preemie nipples. My ds used to drink too fast from stage 1 or newborn nipples and then spit up everywhere. They do now come BPA free, so that's why I use them now with my twins.

HUGS, mama!!!!

Denise, mama to ds1 (03/26/05) and boy/girl twins born 08/12/08
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#18 of 25 Old 10-01-2008, 04:00 PM
 
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Have you tried using nipple shields? My boys nurse wonderfully with them and they seem to nurse longer when we use a shield. I'm slowly trying to wean them from it but I'd happily use it as long as I have to if it means they can continue to ebf.
I agree with waking them to eat more often. Mine were on a 4 hour schedule in the nicu but now wake every 2-3 hours and nurse for 10-20 minutes. If they don't want to eat that often, make sure you're pumping. What kind of pump are you using and how long are you pumping for each session?

Lindsey- SAHM to Skylar (7-12-01), Leah (10-29-04), id twin boys Addison and Riley (6-17-08, born at 25w4d), and Terran (5-29-11, born at 28 weeks)

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#19 of 25 Old 10-02-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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PLEASE get yourself as quickly as possible to a good, private LC -- preferably one with an IBCLC after her name, but LC will certainly do. You can look them up in your phone book or google for an IBCLC or LC directory online and find one in your area. See if there is some sort of locally owned store in your area that sells breastfeeding pumps, supplies, etc (not a big box store). They can probably recommend (or have on staff) some good LCs.

Best Wishes!
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#20 of 25 Old 10-06-2008, 06:13 AM
 
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Mine were born at 36.5 weeks and they also had problems nursing. One of them still has latch issues at 14 months. We used the Haberman feeders. My MIL got them for us in England and they are absolutely fabulous. They mimic the breast in that they have a one-way valve that lets the milk down slowly and if the baby doesn't suck, they don't get milk. I was feeding every 2-3 hours and pumping every 2-3. So evey hour I was either pumping or nursing. It was challenging! I also used to put an "unfinished" bottle in the fridge. It can last up to 12 hours, so I would put milk in the same bottle the whole day until I had one feed. As the kids got older I was actually able to freeze what I was pumping in bags for emergencies as I slowly got them off bottles (they still got one or two bottles a day in case I had to leave them with someone). My kids were also really, really collicky and would spit up what seemed like their whole feed sometimes. They would cry and fuss for most of the afternoon. I found that holding them on their stomachs on my arm really helped, and lying them on my stomach also hleped.

Hugs! and good luck. PM me if you need to.

: wife to James, MoM to R babyboy.gif and D babyboy.gif  (Aug 2007) and E babygirl.gif (Nov 2009) and Y babyboy.gif (April 2012)

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#21 of 25 Old 10-09-2008, 01:33 PM
 
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hi there,
my girls were born at 35 week,s and spent 10 days in the NICU..
first, bottles, we first used the little ones from the hospital with the one time use nipples that were easy to suck from then we graduated to playtex wiht the liners bc you can really squeeze the air out of them. my one baby was really gassy too and had bad reflux so we had to elevate her and everything! we didn't actually start exclusively nursing till they were three months old. like, three months after they were actually born, not thier gestational age..
I don't quite understand the LC either. Itis hard at the beginning. no two ways about it. but you will find a groove. when we first started actually nursing I found it easier to nurse one at a time to make sure they got my total focus to ensure they were doing it right.. I dont remember much about the first couple of months.. I thnk i was really sleep deprived. =) aren't we all!!
we didn't have to supplement with formula all that often bc I was VERY insistant on the breastmilk. I ate ALOT and my midwife gave me fenugreek to pump up my supply. maybe check with you dr about that?? also, the more they nurse, they more milk you will make. at least, that has held true for us..
I forge tthe other questions, but if I can, I will try to go back and answer some more!!
Also, the gas releif drops did help also although I used those as a last resort.. I tried walking her and bouncing lgihtly on my thighs, belly rubs, etc..
HTH! good luck!
Blessings,
MadziesMom
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#22 of 25 Old 10-14-2008, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ladies,

Thank you so much for all your support and advice! I have switched the babies to Dr Brown's bottles and they seem to like them but still have a lot of reflux and gas. The dr said he didn't want to change their formula yet since it's a high calorie formula and they are preemies. They're gaining weight just fine, tho - so I'm going to talk to him again about it this week...

The breastfeeding is not going that well. We got a Supplemental Nursing System and tried that for a few days but my supply continues to go down. So... I think I'm going to call it done with the breastfeeding efforts. It's so hard to feed them bottles, pump and practice breastfeeding - there isn't time left to eat right, drink fluids and sleep (not to mention wash bottles, do laundry, etc)... and the milk supply drugs were giving me cramps and I was worried they would pass to the babies...

So, I'm going to give myself credit for pumping for 2 months and giving my babies plenty of breastmilk while I could. And now I'm going to stop worrying about it and enjoy them and try to get some rest.

I do appreciate your support and advice! Thank you!
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#23 of 25 Old 10-14-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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I'm glad your babies are doing better with the new bottles. I'm sorry you weren't able to make it breastfeeding, but good for you for giving them such a good start. I know how much work pumping and bottlefeeding is - you did a LOT in those two months.
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#24 of 25 Old 10-16-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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I had 31 weeker boy/girl twins who were in the NICU for 4 weeks and came home from the hospital = 35 weeks. I went through EVERYTHING you are going through. Just reading your post took me back. I pumped and did VoluFeeds of EBM and breastfed and Medela SNS, cup feeding, spoon feeding, finger feeding and pretty much every single thing you can do when you have weak/sleepy nursers combined with bradycardia, reflux, a lackluster supply, first-time mom ignorance about what normal BFing should be/feel like/work like, and tons of jitters left over from NICU days about whether they're gaining/growing, MEASURING every single feeding (and not trusting that, you know, they will actually grow if I don't know to the 3rd decimal place how many cc's they've just consumed), and so on.

First of all.... HUGE kudos for sticking it out. :

1. Hire an LC immediately and make sure she has specific experience with premature twins. Both - twins AND born premature. Mine was a godsend and I could write a tome about what to do and what not to do, but you need someone coming there and watching the babies and working through it with you.

2. Get the reflux under control. This means researching it (positioning, etc.) as well as potentially medically through the ped.

3. Honestly this is going to annoy the hell out of you but I would just write dairy off completely until you know what you're dealing with. SO MANY preemies with gas/reflux etc. have major problems digesting dairy (casein) so Google dairy-free diets etc.

4. NO NIPPLE SHIELDS. Not with lazy/sleepy preemies.

5. Hospital-grade breastpump (Medela Lactina pref.) double-sided pumping for at least 15 minutes at a time at least 8x/day including at least once between the hours of 1am-4am.

6. Nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse. And yes it makes sense to try to get them on a routine otherwise you'll never make it pumping. First one to cue to feed gets nursed, then the second one (on the other side), then pump. Lather, rinse, repeat (switching sides).

7. Mylicon Drops before every feeding. Dosing is on the bottle.

8. If you can these 2 positions are BEST for gas and reflux: 1.) tummy-to-tummy frog-legged kangaroo style (they way you hold a newborn naturally to your chest) and 2.) on a slight incline (i.e., in a baby seat or a crib/pack in play with the mattress elevated) on their LEFT side. Use those soft foam things or rolled-up receiving blankets for propping them on their side.
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#25 of 25 Old 10-17-2008, 04:22 PM
 
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Just wanted to say you have every reason to be proud of sticking it out with the breastfeeding for so long when it was so hard for you - you got your babies the best stuff when they needed it most and it sounds like you did all you could do, and that's awesome! I also wanted to say I admire your courage for being willing to make the tough decision to stop breastfeeding in order to keep your sanity and be able to be there a little more for your babies. I imagine that was a really tough choice to make. I hope that it will help you - enjoy the extra time you have to love those little ones and keep providing the best you can for them! Good luck getting the reflux issues worked out!
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