Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Lives; New Challenges - Welcome to the World of Breastfeeding

Hi, everyone! Sorry I've been absent but as you can imagine we are getting used to being parents. I will post separately all about their birth stories but for now let me just say that the hardest job so far is breastfeeding!

I knew that would be the case based on all the reports of friends plus the numerous books, articles and other research I've done but nothing quite prepares you for it. First and foremost let me say that I couldn't even be attempting if it weren't for Husband - he is amazing with the kids. He'll feed them supplement while I am fighting to put them to breast and pumping (nothing but air). He has done basically all the diaper changes and is a much better swadler than I am.

The first day I was able to put both on (separately of course) with a bit of tentative sucking on their parts. Penny was able to stay with us the first night and whenever she woke up I tried. I'm sure I was doing it incorrectly because man did (and does) it hurt! Despite being "tongue tied" (not sure what we are going to do about that) she is pretty good at latching and sucking. Unfortunately Ned was a grunter and had to spend the first night in the transition nursery and since we got him back he doesn't latch on particularly well. The biggest problem for both is that they like to fall asleep on Mommy, Esq. instead of nurse and it is hard to get them awake to feed. I know I'm comfortable. :) I try to strip them down and rub their chins, toes (such cute little feet) etc. but it is exhausting and honestly sometimes I give up.

I asked every time the nurses came in to see a lactation consultant and on Tuesday late afternoon (too bad Husband had run home) she finally came. Very nice and helpful but way too much information for me to absorb. I actually think it has been worse she since was here - probably because we have a "plan" and it is really hard to make it work. It was clear however that the babies needed to eat more so we started supplementing them Tuesday afternoon with about 10 ml (or slightly more) of formula at each "feeding" (hard to call it that when they don't get any food from me). I tried this tube thing along with a nipple shield to "pretend" they were nursing instead getting formula but it doesn't work too well and feedings have been taking so long we finally switched to a bottle. A different LC is supposed to visit today so I can hopefully ask more questions.

I got rest last night because Husband slept at home so I had them in the nursery between feedings and the nurses did the supplemental feedings. I just tried for each to spend 15 mins nursing (unsuccessfully) and another 15 mins pumping (also unsuccessfully). I managed to sleep about 2 hours between the first 2 feedings and almost 4 hours between the last two. I honest to goodness do think all those long hours at the Firm have helped me maintain my composure - only one little crying bout (by me) - mainly because the percoset had worn off and I was in some pain.

They sleep all the time so Husband and I have to be better about trying to wake them up since I know they need to eat.

I absolutely see why so many women stop. You feel like a complete failure when you get zero colostrum pumping and when it hurts like heck to even have them on your breast (I've been lotioning and using the shield to try to remove the discomfort).

How do people do this? How did millions of babies make it when for several millenia there was no formula? I hope I'll feel better once my milk comes in and I am determined to keep working at it!

[Check out the recent photos below in my prior post.]


Donna said...

I would suggest you get the gel packs called Soothies. They really do help with the pain. Don't worry if you don't get anything from pumping just yet - you are only trying to stimulate the breast at this point. One thing my mom told me before I ever started bfing - make sure their lower lip is completely out of their mouths. Sometimes, they suck it in and it hurts! And remember - it is COMPLETELY normal for it to hurt and your toes to curl when they latch on from the pain. GL!


A. said...

Love the pics! I wanted to call but didn't want to interrupt any napping you might be doing. Breastfeeding will probably get harder before it gets easier, but it will get easier, I promise. Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you!

Childsplayx2 said...

When my wife was breastfeeding our twins, it was so hard at first. We actually had a LC come to our house. She gave us a scale to weigh them before and after to see how much they had taken in. She also surmised our twins were having a hard time sucking (common for twins - even though ours were born at 38 weeks) so we were introduced to Haberman Bottles that we'd use a few times a day to increase their sucking strength.

Good luck!

LauraC said...

Lovely lovely pics!

The one thing I wish someone would have told me about breastfeeding is that it does not have to be 100% breastfeeding in the beginning. And by beginning, I mean in the first few months. Sometimes you have a good feed with one baby and sometimes you don't. I wish I had taken it day by day instead of thinking about the long-term.

Yes, you have a plan and LCs are such big believers in EVERY FEED has to be at the breast... that is not the case. You just carried twins, you just delivered twins, and now you have twins. It is a lot to also expect you to get every feed be a successful feed.

I feel like I got defeated bc LCs were telling me breastfeeding was never going to work out if I didn't try all the time. A girl needs some rest to be the best mommy she can be!

In a short while, they will wake up more and it will be easier. I think I exhausted myself trying to wake them up all the time!

PS. Hopefully this will make you laugh but people survived without formula bc of wet-nurses... professional breastfeeders!

PPS. I realized my reply is the start of much assvice that will come your way. Please take it to mean that we are here as part of your very extensive support network. Newborn twins = HARD!

Anonymous said...

First, Congratulations! They are beautiful and healthy. Yay.
Second, I had a c-section with my first child and my husband did all the diapers and swaddling until well after we got home from the hosptial. He was a pro swaddler. Then someone gave us a Miracle Blanket, and we were set for life! Those things are awesome.
Breastfeed came (relatively) easily for me, but even on my 3rd day whe they brought me a pump, I only got 3 drops of milk out. And my nurse was super impressed I got that much and put it in a tiny nipple and gave it to the baby. So don't be discouraged! My nurse said the baby is much more efficient than the pump and taught me how to watch for the suck-suck-swallow pattern. I hope it gets easier for you. I do remember my nipples being so sore and the skin coming off them (TMI?) but I was amazed when the lactation consultant at my pediatrician's office looked at them and said "oh, you look great."

Cheryl Lage said...

Congratulations on your beautiful babies, and on giving breastfeeding a go...IT IS HARD!
And at the beginning EVERYONE (babies and mama and daddy) have SOOOO much to "figure out."

Like your babes, our gal child was a pretty good sucker right from the get-go, he-child?

Called a "lazy white boy" by the LC, who said it's a common phenomena...

Ours (and me!) did catch the hang of things, but it took TIME and lots of experimentation, and flexibility with ourselves and our "ideals."

Wishing you all the best...and CONGRATS!

Eva said...

Congratulations! they are beautiful.

Reading your post brought back so many memories of trying to establish BFing twins in the beginning. It is really, really hard in the beginning. It took tons of effort and very little sleep and about 3 months for me to get things going to a place I didn't ever need to pump and felt comfortable with it. And my babes were sleepy too -- once we had my daughter naked, spinning on a magazine on the floor, singing "you're naked, on the floor, on a magazine" and she slept through it. For me all the work paid off and I'm glad I persevered.

Also, I never bought into the, if it's working, it shouldn't hurt at all. They have TINY mouths in the beginning and I don't know that it could ever be super comfortable. If you can, do keep up the pumping and you'll be amazed that it will start working (my milk didn't come in until about day 5 or so).

Good luck! I'm not an LC but if you do have questions and want to email me, feel free to do so as I feel like I've been through it all on the BFing twins front.

Anonymous said...

The pictures are beautiful! As for breastfeeding, I'm only 7 weeks ahead of you, so the painful nipple experience is still vivid in my mind! As you know, I was on the verge of quitting many times, but I had a group of three BFing moms that I e-mailed to get advice and support. I also leaned on my sister-in-law who successfully BF her three children (she got the sobbing phone calls complaining not only of pain but of sheer exhaustion and frustration I experienced because I was the only one who had to be up at all hours of the night to feed my little one). So basically you need cheerleaders -- call me! But in the same breath, the bottom line is that you need to do what's best for your family and what will make you the best mom to those two perfect children (whether that's BF, formula feeding or a mixture of both).



Nancy said...

I love those pictures :)

I agree with the Soothies - ask your nurse if they have hospital gave me a few packs this last time around. oh so nice.

You mention that you're "lotioning" - is this lanolin...Lansinoh Brand, or something similar? It works much better than just plain ol' lotion. (Mine were so sore with Logan that I actually had a prescription strength cream...that expired 3 months after being "brewed"! I so do not want to know what was in it...and DAMN it was not cheap.)

One thing that Logan did a few times that KILLED was to lift his tongue before latching (think thermometer). Just something to think about if it hurts too much. But also keep in mind that the latch DOES hurt, but if the pain continues throughout the nursing, there could be some sort of "real" latch problem. Definitely get the LC to watch you do it and see if she can figure out if anything is going on. Probably nothing ... as it sounds like typical few day old baby stuff :)

And yup- I got NADA when pumping in the hospital. The nurses were so super excited at the tiniest little drops (which partly made me feel great, but partly I wondered if they were just humoring me...)

If you have any questions and you want to chat, email me and I'll send you my phone number :)

And I'm so impressed you're blogging!! LOL

The Goverczyks said...

Parker never did like feeding from the breast and Stewart was sporadic. I was able to feed them from pumping and supplemental formula for a little over a month before my "well ran dry" and they were just on formula. Honestly, I couldn't have done it at all if I didn't pump so Chris could feed one while I fed the other. It helped to keep them on the same schedule; which really helped us. Just do what is comfortable for you and Husband. Everyone is different. You will know what works for you guys. Sarah

Shelley said...

I feel for you. It can be SO painful. The lactation consultant finally told me to take a break for a few days and just pump so that I could heal. It was THAT bad.

My suggestion is to ask for as many extra Soothies and nipple shields as you can get before you leave the hospital. At least that way insurance is paying for part of it. The Soothies are expensive!

Good luck. I tried to BF for the first couple of weeks and ended up exclusively pumping for 5 months. I know what a challenge it can be, so hang in there!

Unknown said...

Don't give up. the first six weeks are the hardest!! then it clicks.

Nancy said...

I just had to come back and say that Mike jumped over to your blog from mine on the train today...he came in shaking his head that he'd just read WAY too much about some other woman's breasts LOL!

Hope it's going well and you're getting the hang of things :)

glitter girl said...

Hi - I just found your blog through Donna's blog. I have twins that are 20 months and I nursed them up until 2 months ago - you can do it! They are still getting used to the whole nursing thing just like you are, so hang in there. Definitely get those soothies that Donna suggested. At the 2-week mark, things will be drastically better... Oh - and babies are always better at getting milk out than those dang breast pumps. I remember nursing one and giving the other a bottle in those very early days and just switched it up the next time...
Feel free to check out my blog -

Anonymous said...

The early days of breastfeeding can be hell. Or as I like to say, "You haven't really lived until your nipples have bled." LOL The first 4 weeks with Josh were awful. The only thing that got me through was sheer force of will... All the people saying, "Oh, it won't kill him to give him formula" only made me more determined to succeed.

I agree with the Soothies and the Lansinoh or APNO. Also, once your milk comes in, after each pumping or feeding, hand express a tiny drop of milk and spread it on your nipple and areola. Let it air dry before putting on the Lansinoh/APNO. It works wonders!

Give it some time, and don't give up. You are all learning this together! Call me or email me if you ever have questions or need support.