Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nursing....

When the boys and I were in the hospital, I made it pretty clear that I didn't want them to have any artificial nipples (bottles, pacis, etc.)  so that they would have a better chance of latching and not having "nipple confusion."  I nursed them after they were born and then on exclusively until Saturday night (They were born on Friday early morning.)  Elliott's latch was great from the get-go, but Oliver's wasn't.  We kept at it, and eventually Oliver caught up and became a great nurser as well.  I did have to pump and give him the colostrum at first because he wasn't getting enough from the breast, but I fed it to him with a syringe and I was okay with that.  

The boys were weighed Friday night and they were only down 4% of their weight which was acceptable.  All babies lose some weight after birth (especially if they are breastfed) until mom's milk comes in.  Saturday night they weighed the babies again and they were down 8% and 9% which was getting into the range where the pediatrician felt uncomfortable with their weight loss.  Once they hit 10% weight loss it can spiral downward.... they are too weak to eat and therefore lose more weight etc.  So, after the pediatrician came in on Sunday morning she said we would have to supplement.  I knew that I had to with the girls and the reality was that I would probably have to again with the boys.  I have PCOS which can either cause a low supply or an over supply and I am the unlucky one with the low supply AND twins.  

My plan was to try to "finger feed" them with a tube so that they wouldn't have a bottle nipple or use the SNS system (supplementary nursing system.. something like that) but the lactation consultant was pretty adamant that I should just give them a bottle because those things wouldn't be efficient and I wouldn't have time to mess around with stuff with my two 16 month olds at home. 

I got pretty emotional at the hospital and eventually gave into giving them bottles which I was really pissed about.  I tried to hold my ground with the "no nipples" but it just didn't happen.  I was told that very few mothers of multiples had enough milk for their twins and that the odds were stacked against me.  I guess I just thought that if anyone would have been extra supportive, it would have been the LC at the hospital.  

When we left the hospital my milk still wasn't in and I was a complete emotional wreck.  I was tired and hadn't really slept since the previous Tuesday night (and it was now Sunday afternoon), I was in some serious pain and was stressed about going home knowing that my in-laws were there.  I was very appreciative to have their help watching the girls and taking care of the house, but sometimes its stressful having people in your house taking care of your kids differently than you would.  

I wouldn't say that it bothers me having people see me nurse my babies, but there is just something weird about your father in law being in the same room.  So, when we got home, I had to sit in my room with the babies to feed and pump.  I was already feeling defeated from what had happened earlier in the day and pretty much just sat in my room, pumped, and bottle fed the boys for the rest of the day/night.  I've never felt so angry and emotional in my life.  I'm sure the complete lack of sleep and change in hormones didn't help anything either.  

Brian is amazing gave me a break that night so I could get a few hours of solid sleep.  I woke up a new person felt much better about things than I had the day before.  I was such a mess the day before I thought about quitting all together which would have probably just been easier.  

Monday and Tuesday I continued to pretty much just pump while Brian's parents were still there.  I knew they would be leaving Wednesday morning and that I could nurse as I pleased after that.  My mom and sister  came in Wednesday  night, but they didn't care if I nursed the boys in front of them.  

Its a week later and things are going well.  Both of the boys have a good latch and I even manged to tandem feed a couple times!  I am still not producing enough for them every time, but hopefully that will get better.  Elliott is a beast and eats a ton!! He will nurse for 20 minutes each side and then still suck down 2oz of either formula or expressed milk.  But, other times he is satisfied with his nursing session and goes to sleep afterwards.  Oliver is a sleepy nurser and I think sometimes just wants to be close to mom.  He could be held 24 hours a day and doesn't really like to be set down much at all.  

I'm trying to nurse as much as possible, but now that all of our help is gone I'm not sure how that's going to work when the girls are awake too.  I'm trying to either nurse or pump every 3 or so hours to keep my supply up.  When I pump I get about 1 oz per side and when I go about 5 hours at night I get 2 oz per side.  I'm not sure what is typical production at this point (almost 2 weeks old) but I guess I'm just glad I'm getting enough to give them at least one feed per pumping session.  

There are lots of things out there to try and help with production like Fenu.greek, lots of water, lots of pumping, lactation cookies, etc. and I am willing to try it all.  There's also Reg.lan, but I hope to avoid that since it makes me feel really anxious and stressed, which I don't need. 

I guess for now I am just going to keep going on as I am and hope things improve so I can stop supplementing.  :)


2 comments:

Liz http://threelittleblessings123.blogspot.com/ said...

Sounds like you are doing great! I took fenugreek and had good luck with it. My girls were both sleeping,which as you know makes for slow nursers born at 36.5 weeks, I pumped after every feed to keep my milk supply up and supplement them with bm until they were close to 4 weeks old. But it paid off I was able to exclusivley brest feed for 12 months. Hang in there you know it gets better with twins with time, don't give up! It was really hard to pump with a toddler let alone two :(

Rachel said...

Your boys are beautiful! Congratulations!